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Diablo

Canada?

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Diablo

We have this sentence " Canada is the land of opportunities" constantly. So far its been like two year here in Canada and life doesnt get any easier!

Now my parents have decided nothing is working out here so they are planning to go back to Cape Town end of 2006 for good!

Its so hard to find a business here with all these huge stores. Sometimes i laugh at the statement that Canada is the land of opportunities. We are not prospering. Money is just going out and nothing is coming in.

I really want my parents to remain here for my sake as i will be planning to go to university.

Any body have the same experiences?? Who has come here and has prospered??

Excuse my typo...made a few mistakes!

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Marli

This question of yours is bound to get a lot of attention and I'm looking forward to hearing what people have to say on the matter.

There are so many aspects to this question that need to be considered, one cannot just say yes or no. In fact one should write a whole essay on this topic.

For me personally, the biggest opportunities lies in the fact that I am in the technology industry and South Africa lags behind in that field. Here I get to do things that I would have only been able to dream about in SA.

Everything in life teaches us a bit more about the world. I think that whether you live in SA, or whether you live in Canada, there are opportunities everywhere. Sometimes it is harder to realize those opportunities in South Africa because of some very real and some perceived problems.

Remember that no one of us really knew what it would be like to be in Canada before we moved here. You can chat on SACanada for 10 years, but you will never really know unless you've lived here. And I believe that if your parents have tried it for a couple of years already and they cannot see themselves living here for the rest of their lives, then you should support them because people don't make these kinds of decisions easily.

I know this will affect your life greatly, but it sounds to me like you're getting to the point where you will have to start making your own decisions and start taking ownership of your life.

If you want to go to university here in Canada, then do it. There are people that do it without having their parents near them. You will have to discuss the finances with your parents, perhaps get loans or bursaries if possible. But dont wait around for your parents to settle, because your life is going to slip past you.

This is tough on you, I can tell. But it is tough on your whole family. Talk to them about it and start fulfilling your own dreams. What is it that you would like to study?

Edited by Marli

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Sangoma

Diablo:

I agree with Marli's sentiments.

It IS possible to support yourself on minimum wage and get a 4 year degree in about 5 to 6 years. It would mean having a roommate and relying on public transit. I have friends who have done it!

The question you should ask is will you be able to stay behind alone without family support. Not everyone can do this.

Personally I feel the minimum anyone should stay in Canada is the period it takes to get Canadian citizenship. It takes approximately 4 years- which is a reasonable time it takes for an immigrant to start adjusting.

We expeienced that the first year felt like a holiday - everything was new and exciting, and the second year was the realization that life is tough and one is on anything but a holiday.

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Harry

Diablo,

Like Marli, I'm in the high tech business.

Like a number of others, I secured a job here before moving to Canada

...therefore I should posssibly just shut up. However, I have some some questions and comment for you, in the hope that it might help, without meddling where I am not wanted. I guess the questions are rhetorical:

I will always say that it is the duty of the parent to put, to the utter best of their ability, the interests of the child first. In that respect I am 100% sure you yourself are in the right country and the family should make every effort to make it work. However, I'm sure your folks are doing their best and things are just a tad tough right now. The "break" often comes from an unexpected side.

I trust your folks are NOT totally hung up on doing over here exactly what they did in SA. THAT hardly ever works out. I think I know one single person for whom that has worked. I'm doing something quite different from what I did in SA, though still in high tech.

Given your comment "Its so hard to find a business here with all these huge stores" ....I do NOT view Canada as the mecca of ordinary small business at all. I do not believe it is particularly easy to make a small business work very profitably here, unless you have a compelling product/service and a serious competitive edge. Not knowing the market here can be a major downside.

Are they totally "sold" on specifically starting a business? What about salaried jobs?

Finally, I have no idea how far you are from finishing school, but I really believe that you yourself should make every effort to remain here and attend University here.

I really truly hope it works out for you guys.

Keep looking forward...one stumbles when one looks back.

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BevBrad

One factor that must be considered by would be immigrants is the tranferabilty or relevance of your skills. This will make a huge difference in which rung of the ladder you start on. In my case I was working with electronic equipment and process's that we developed in the US. I could simply start at the same level, as my SA experience was relevant and applicable.

Engineers etc have it easier, engineering terms and principals are universal. Someone who has spent his whole life studying SA law is going to have to start at a lower level and requalify, the laws her are different etc etc.

Just think about it first and don't assume "it will all work out alright". It will not, it's up to you to do your homework.

Brad

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dieulefit

Dear Diablo - my heart absolutely goes out to you and your family and you got some very explainable advise from a few solid members on this Forum. My husband and I came without any job offers, only a dream of making a new life for ourselves and our children here - they were 8 and 12 years old at the time and are now 19 and 23. This is what worked for us - we arrived in Canada very well qualified and my husband actually over-qualified! We also came when it was very popular NOT to employ a male - very interesting, a position my husband applied for, a lady got that job and not so long ago we all read about her in a very, very publisized scandal and she had to resign her position - she is now a Pastor of a Church! Anyways, sometimes life sends you on a different course than the one you thought you would like to be on....... and it all work out for good! Our attitudes stayed on making a life here rather than go back to what would have been a better life for then. We took NO holidays for 3 years and only went back to South Africa for a first visit 5 years after we arrived in Canada! By then things started to work for us and it is now 11 years later and it is going very well with us and I am trying to say this in a very humble way - we do know that we owe God a great deal in seeing us through this journey and without our Faith and with the support/encouragement of some wonderful South African friends here, we would not have been able to cope. I wish your parents could look beyond the now - it is NOT easy for many of us, but I still do believe that this IS a country with many, many opportunities! Bless you guys and I am thinking about you who so bravely wants to stay and complete your studies here - that is the right spirit!

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Diablo
Are they totally "sold" on specifically starting a business? What about salaried jobs?

Hello there!

Not to sound arrogant, but my dad had business there! Here he did hold a job at TD Bank, then they laid him off! He was so depressed...there is just no job security. Everyimte some wonderful job crops up he is not in it for long! How then can he not be depressed.

I tried convincing them that we have to make it!! But everyday I keep hearing from them we have had enough we want our lifestyle to be the way it was again.

Its just so sad

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Harry

Diablo,

thanks for the response. I understand the unhappiness and really do feel for you. As a young person this is not a stress you should be suffering.

I have to say that I'm getting very uncomfortable talking "ïn the third person" on a public forum about the challenges that your parents are facing in setting up a new life here in Canada. You may want to invite them to join SACanada and then they can decide for themselves whether they would want to talk about it. Just remember that we are a collection of folks who either (1) have been here a while, (2) are busy finding our feet here or (3) are waiting to come to Canada. All we really have, is the experience of living through this stuff in different ways.

Nevertheless, I DO wish to say that "we want our lifestyle to be the way it was again" is actually not an option outside SA. Canada is a different country, with different values, a different system, a different economy and very different ways of doing things.

None of us will ever have the lifestyle we had in SA...it will always be different....even if the money were much more than we had there. That is the "price" of emigrating from where you grew up. One is starting a new and different life; not trying to re-establish the previous life in a new country.

I'm not trying to be wise-a$$ philosophical here. This is important stuff.

Nevertheless, I'm very sure your folks are doing their level best, but parents are humans too and maybe things just look a little bit unclear to them right now. Just don't let it get you down. Keep your eyes on the horison in front of you....even if you cannot see it very clearly.

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Sangoma

Diablo:

Another question to ask - has the reason you left South Africa changed?

Our family has gone through similar tough times with my father having to wait 7 months to find a job, and then the first one he found was a minimum wage. It was a tough time for 2 adults and 3 children. 7 years later we are basically at the same financial where we were when we left South Africa. If you look back that would possible mean 7 years of lost income? But we gained alot these 7 years too, as a family we formed a close bond which we never would have had were we to have remained in South Africa.

This last week we lost a fourth family member to the senseless violence in South Africa. This was the reason we left, and the reason tragically is still there.

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Marli

Sangoma, I am so sorry to hear about this. I think a lot of us ex-south-africans-soon-to-be-or-already-are-Canadians deeply sympathize with you as we know the realities of being so far away from family and friends in times like this. I know I also live with a fear in my heart that I will receive that phone call from South Africa with news like you've just shared with us.

My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family

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Sangoma

Thanks Marli :P

You are right, the distance makes it so much harder.

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dieulefit

Harry, you answered this young person so well. I also want to comment you, Diablo, for being such a fabulous understanding young person - I am sure your parents are tremendously proud of you too! You know, that is what family is all about - support! Sangoma, very sad news about your family and I am so sorry friend. Wow, that is the ONE thing I am dreading ...... to get a phone call to say something has happened to so or so, because it has thus far only happened to people we know and not our own families! Stand strong friends, we are South Africans and let me tell you, we do have the stuff that make us stand head and shoulders above the rest - trials and errors oftenot! Thinking about your family Diablo!

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digin

Hi Diablo

I've been reading your posts and am really sorry things aren't working out for your family in Canada. I can fully relate to how they feel as entrepreneurs starting out again from the bottom, and in their desire to go back. I was in Canada for four years, and while I enjoy a lot of what Canada offers, I moved back to South Africa to get more of the lifestyle and work opportunities in what is arguably a great period in South Africa's economic history. I am not sorry I returned - since returning a lot of things have gone right for both myself and my partner. So I wouldn't blame your parents for what could turn out to be a brave step in their lives.

However, at 20 years old, your parents quest for happiness will diverge from your own. This is natural and part of growing up. I suspect that if I had arrived in Canada in my teens, I would have a much more different view of it than as someone who tried it out later in life. So it's up to you to make decisions as to what to do. And don't expect life always to be smooth or comfortable - it seldom is.

One of the hardest things that one had to fight in life in fatalism - the belief that because of circumstances outside your control things are going to fail. It's easy to blame something outside for making you unhappy, it's much harder to make decisions and follow through on them to improve your life.

Here are some tips I found helpful when faced with difficult decisions:

(1) Prioritise: One of the things I do regularly is make a list of the things that are important to me at a particular point in time. One way I do this is try to complete the sentence: "Life is meaningless without...", and brainstorm a list of things that are meaningful to you. It can be mundane (Tim Horton's coffee or Chippies Prego rolls) as well as profound (family, faith, being ethical). Having a good list of what is important to you will help you make difficult choices.

(2) Rationalise the Options: When my partner and I decided to go back to South Africa, we took our respective lists of priorities and gave a score to what Canada was giving us, and what South Africa gave us on all our priorites. The bigger priorities we gave a bigger weighting to (for example, I scored family connection out of 10, and weather out of 5). We did the analytical exercise of giving a score to each option, listing the pro's and con's. In the end, I had two sheets, one with Canada on it and its score with pros/cons, and South Africa and its score of pros/cons.

(3) Explore the emotions: As human beings we are not just rational robots. What I do with my sheets of papers may sound dumb - but it works for me. I let a day or two pass after making the lists. I then pick each option in turn, and hold it close to my face and just let the emotions of the option go through me. I will perhaps do this a couple of times over the course of a few days. If things don't feel right emotionally, I'll perhaps reweight some of my choices and score the the two options again. I'll repeat the emotional exercise, and what I usually find is that eventually one options begins to feel right both from a score level and an emotional level.

(4) Don't be afraid of failing: One of the most paralysing things in my life is fear of failure. I've found as I've got older, I've got happier in life by getting over this fear. Even if you made a difficult choice, you are going to have doubts. When I do, I haul out my sheets of paper, and look if anything has changed in my list of pro's and con's. If nothing has changed, I keep going on. If something has changed, I might make new plans and start the decision making process all over again.

Good luck in your decision, and feel free to pay me a visit when you are in Cape Town. If your parents wish to communicate with me privately on some of the issues involved in returning, I'd be happy to help out.

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Karen

Dear Diablo,

You have been given some very sound advice here.

I really feel for your parents, as I also know first- hand how hard it is to make a go of things in the business world in a country where there is just so much of everything on such a large scale.

I arrived here with two small children ( 7 and 9) and very little in the way of finances back in 1993. After three months, our money was gone, the country was in a massive recession and we feared that we could not afford the roof over our heads and would have to return to SA to feed our family. I don't know what made us stick it out, but we decided that we would tighten our belts and give it our best shot for three years and then go from there. It was, to say the least, very tough. We had no savings in the bank and, often, my husband's fledgling business, had no money to pay salaries. I suppose I was really lucky to get a teaching job, because that enabled us to keep on keeping on ( I was earning base salary). I also tutored privately in the evenings and on weekends, and that helped bring in a bit more. However, there were no luxuries in those early days at all. We lived from hand to mouth each month, but ironically, our children never starved, not did they go cold or miss any school outings. I had enough clothing to see them through the first two years, I found cheap jackets ( remember Biway?) and boots etc; we ate plenty of canned beans and egg dishes etc, but noone starved. We pulled together with friends in the same boat and never lost hope that things would eventually improve for us. I think we were determined to stick it out for our kids - we believed that Canada held a more secure future for them than SA at that point. It would have been easy to return - we both had good positions we could have re- entered in SA, and of course, we had all of our beloved family. Believe me, many a night, I made mental plans to return, but I knew I would stick it out, no matter what.

Well, to cut a long story short, eventually things started to look up a bit. We were able to buy a home and relax a little when it came to money, although I continued to work two jobs and we were very frugal in our spending. Slowly but surely, things started to improve in the business. Loans were able to be repaid and we could breathe easier at night, finally.

This month we celebrate 12 years in Canada. I now work for my luxuries and because I love my job, not because I have to, we drive good cars, we have been able to pay for our children's university education and even go on holiday. We have much to be grateful for. Yes, it has been a struggle to climb back up the ladder, the sacrifice has been great on many fronts, but we DID IT!! We learned a lot about one another and others on long road to being a success story, but, when I look back, I would say it has been worthwhile experience.

Now, please do not get me wrong - I am not saying that everyone should stick it out through thick and thin. People are all different, and if you can say that you have given it your best shot, and it is not for you, then you put it all down to experience, pack your goods and head off to wherever your chances of success and happiness lie.

You are still very young, and perhaps you can convince your parents to allow you to stay here and study, or you could return to SA with them, get your education there, and if you still feel the need, emigrate yourself while you still have the resourcefulness of youth and plenty of time to get yourself back on your feet.

I wish you all the luck in the world with whatever decision you and your family mke.

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Harry

Sangoma,

sorry about the loss in the family. This just should not be happening.

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Jem

Hi Diablo...and everyone else.

I know it is a tough decision in staying here or going back "home"...my approach on arriving here was "it's what you make of it".

I for one have no intention whatsoever of going back.Yes it's been tough and my family are back home, but we have made it through some really tough days...and when I think of I did this for my kids and see how happy they are here..and after some friends have recently returned from a vacation in SA, I can assure you I am quite content in staying put.

Maybe I am fortunate but I have also worked hard at where I am now. Sure I don't live like a king , never have (and that is probably the problem of some people who do want to go back).I don't mean to sound harsh but life here is not about making millions. I have a nice place, a job in television Producing sport (hockey and other sport, what else...lol ). But, I climbed back up the ladder since I arrived and it's an honour doing what I am doing, considering their are tons of people in this business and here I am Producing television broadcasts..hockey, basketball etc..not bad for a Soityh African who knew very little about these sports 5 years ago. Yes I am grateful that God gave me this oppertunity, yes I am divorced (sadly) but my daughter and I have made it through, are happy, hard working and do not regret where we are.

Personally, I did not spend thousands of dollars in immigration, the heartache and stress of waiting for paperwork...just to go back to SA..to what?

This is not paradise, but where is it paradise? Compared to SA, this is paradise..life is what you make of it...and I for one, have made it..not wealthy, but maikng ends meet and...happy, very happy.

Maybe I am just one of the succesful stories,I dunno..but hang in there those who want to go back...think about what you went through to get here.

Jeremy

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