Archive for the ‘Migrant Experiences’ Category

Nov 2006 – Back to the Jacaranda City

Today we made the trip up to Pretoria again to get my curiculli from Pretoria Technikon and my and Mel’s Birth Certificates.

Before leaving we gave Home Affairs a call to see if our certificates were ready. The bloke that answered was so deurmekaar that the one minute the stuff was ready, then it wasn’t, then we needed to bring some or other form with, then it was ready, etc. that we just decided to go there.

At Home Affairs we managed to get Mel’s certificate, but not mine. Now as we had applied all at the same time it didn’t quite make sense that mine would not also be ready. But as usual you get this blank stare when asking for any kind of progress report or route to take to find out. We decided to leave it at that and call them on our way to the Technikon. Needless to say they didn’t even bother to answer the phone.

On to the Tech – my goodies were ready, but half in Afrikaans. Fat help then as I am trying my best to avoid the extra, unnecessary expense of IELTS. Now I will have to get these pages translated and hope that the letter from Vaal Triangle Technikon confirming that our classes were in English will be enough proof.

We decide to have lunch before heading home. From my airforce days I remember that Sunnyside has lots of places to eat so we head off in that direction. Seeing a Wimpy and KFC we reckon that the Kingsley Centre will do the trick. As we walk toward the Wimpy we spot a Maxi’s just inside. Now we love the Maxi’s at the East Rand Mall so Maxi’s wins the battle of the growling stomachs against the lure of Wimpy and the smell of fresh KFC.

Our waitress arrives to take our order and the conversation goes something like this :
“a Farmhouse Breakfast please….”
Eh..a what?
“a Farmhouse Breakfast” (Seeing the blank expression on her face I open the menu and show her the item on the menu, wondering how on earth a waitress cannot know what a farmhouse breakfast is)
“The eggs must be sunny side on top please”
Okay”
“and I’ll have a Maxi Burger, a Strawberry milkshake and Fruit Cocktail”
Okay

Ten minutes later
Sorry we don’t have Fruit Cocktail
“Okay make it a orange juice”
That arrives

Thirty minutes later…I get a Cheese burger, Mel gets her breakfast with eggs you can bounce off a wall and no butter for the toast. I decide the cheese burger is fine for me, but the eggs are no good. I call the waitress over…

“We asked for the eggs to be sunny side on top”
Eh what is that?” – Should have known better when she didn’t even know what a farmhouse breakfast was
“We wanted soft eggs”
So must I take it back?
Nou raak Pa moerig en Ma is al lankal moerig
“Yes” we snap at her in frustration, Mel makes a mental note to halve her tip.
When the eggs come back they are fine so she asks for her butter.

Five Minutes later it finally arrives. Mel deducts the remaining half of her tip off the remaining amount giving the waitress a grand total of zero.

We ask for the bill which takes another ten minutes to arrive. We decide to pay at the till otherwise we are gonna start getting some serious parking tickets if we have wait any longer.

At the till the service is just as pathetic so Mel, who by this time is bedonerd verby asks to see the manager.

Along toddles Agnes who has clearly been working in the kitchen all day as she is covered in splatters of oil, wearing a hair protector and overall, etc.

“You service here is ridiculously slow”
Eh….” and she smiles at us clearly not knowing what to say or do.
Disgusted we just walk away…..Kingsley Maxi’s is definately on our eating out blacklist.

Back to our paperwork trail…

All we now need in Pretoria is my birth certificate so we decide to go back to Home Affairs to try and find someone more intelligent who can help us. Last time we were there they had botched up Mel’s birth certificate and a Mr Myoyo had helped us so we decide to go and knock on his door again.

In his office he gets me to fill in the form again, phones the guys at Head Office that do the actual processing of the forms. Gives theim the details over the phone. Mr Myoyo checks his system until it updates (about 1 minute). He hits print and voila I have my birth certificate, all in 5 minutes!!!!!

Now why the hell can’t it happen so fast all the time???

If you need help at Home Affairs in Pretoria, Mr Myoyo is your man, what a cool, helpful guy, without any under the table stuff.

At last we can head off home with all our paperwork in hand. Hopefully that was our last trip to Pretoria before we leave.

Nov 2006 – Vaal Technikon

1 Nov

Today we drove out to the Vaal Technikon to get transcripts of my results and curriculum for my period of studies there.

Getting the results was no problem – R30 and you’re done. Getting a copy of the curriculum was another story. Nobody in the Admin offices had heard of anybody asking for that required before. Although this sounded kinda unlikely considering the amount of folks emigrating these days, we continued our search for someone in the know around campus. Eventually we were sent to the Head of Engineering.

As we get to his office I see that he is one of my ex-lecturers. Amazing enough after 11 years he remembers me. Not for the wrong reasons though (by that time I was rustig), but because of the overalls I used to wear. At that time I was working for one of the petrol refineries in Sasolburg and at one point we were having a shutdown when I needed to attended his class. The result was I used to slip away from work to go to class, but didn’t have time to change so just pitched up at class covered in oil, looking more like a mechanic than a technician.

Anyway, he knew what we were looking for & confirmed that he has to compile these curriculi on a daily basis for folks that are leaving the country.

As it takes him time to compile these documents, we will have to return for it though. Riding up and down seems to be the story of our lives at the moment.

10 Nov – Fetching my docs from Vaal Tech

As we had stayed in the Vaal Triangle for many years, we decided to make a day of it.

We collected my curicculi at the Tech and then drove around to all our old haunts to see if they still existed. Many did, others didn’t. We were however very dissapointed at how Vanderbijl Central had deteriorated. On the other hand we were pretty impressed with the new malls that have sprung up.

Emerald Casino was also on our route and can honestly say that if you have seen it from the outside, you can turn around & leave as that is all there is to it. Boring.

We then had a braai and sleep over at my cousin’s house that night. Great seeing them again.

We left the next day wondering if that was the last time we would see them and the Vaal Triangle.

18 Nov – Year End Meetup

We had our year end meetup today at Johann & Tanya’s house in Midrand.

This was our biggest meetup yet with 7 families attending, giving us about 14 adults and 6 kids.

Although it was drizzling for a good part of the day we still managed to braai. The food was superb with everyone bringing something.

As usual the conversation simply never stopped as everyone has so much to tell & ask.

We love these meet ups as it seems as though the folks leaving SA are all the good folks (not that the folks staying are bad), it is just that everyone is the kind of folks we would normally make friends with.

Thanks for a great day guys.

Oct 2006 – Telling the In-Laws

Today was the big day. Mel has finally plucked up enough courage to tell her Mom and Gran that we are emigrating.

She has decided to use pretty much the same tactic as we did with my parents, except we will be sitting outside under the lapa at our house. She will wait until it is nearly going home time for in case the mood turns sour.

————————-

Well that wasn’t so bad after all. They don’t want us to go, but they fully understand our reasons for leaving. It seems like since last time their eyes have opened some more to what is happening in the country and can now see the wood from the trees. You have no idea how relieved we are.

So now we have the blessing of almost everybody in our family, just one more person to go, my Grand Mother. She is 96 so her parents were part of the Boere that fought in the Boer War. It breaks my heart that everything they fought for is now all going to pot and I don’t want her to feel like we are deserting all their hard work, so would like her to be happy with our decision. Not that it will make any difference to our decision, etc. It is probably just to make me feel better. I used to be very patriotic many years ago, so there must still be some remnants of those feelings left deep inside I guess. We will however wait until we have a final yes from NZIS before telling her.

Sept 2006 – The Docu-drill starts

We head off to Home Affairs to apply for Passports, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate and Police Clearances.

We go to Springs for the passports in August 2006 as we were told by someone that they are quick – passports arrive 8 weeks later as promised.

We go to Pretoria for Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate and Police Clearances on 27 September 2006.

Clever me looks up on the Internet for the addresses, tel numbers, etc. of all the places we need to be, but goes and forgets everything at home. Luckily I remembered where Home Affairs was so we parked there. The Police clearances were supposed to be there closeby too. We decide to start off with the Police Clearances as the building was right in front of where we parked. On going into the reception, the security tells us we are in the wrong place. He gives us directions and the goose chase begins…..on foot to the otherside of town……one police department/building to the other. Poor old Mel is dresses for success with little strappy high heels, the works. Eventually she is really lagging behind from walking on her toes the whole morning. Complaining heavilly about the blisters on her feet.

I look around and point out a few of the Pretoriaaners and ask her if she knows any of them……. no she replies. Do you think you will see any of them ever again I ask…….no she replies and catches my drift.

Aaah, a lady walking through Pretoria central barefoot is definitely an eye catching experience and good for a laugh.

On 31 Oct 2006 we go back to Pretoria to get transcripts of my Technikon results and see if our Police Clearances are ready. Even though it has only been 5 weeks into the 8 week wait for our Home Affairs goodies, we call them anyway. Most are ready, just mine will take another week.

When we get to Home Affairs, Mel’s birth certificate can’t be found. We re-apply and hope for the best.

The Technikon gives me a copy of my results, but we will have to go back for the transcript of the curriculi.

Sept 2006 – Telling the family

Over the past few months the word has slowly started getting out about our decision to emigrate.

We had decided to keep quiet until we have a successful decision on our EOI, but you know how it goes. This whole process takes over all your thoughts and actions, so you end up dropping a hint here and there until one day you just can’t hold it in any longer.

The first to know were my sisters.  They actually took it very well РI think they realise our situation and that of the country as they have youngish kids themselves. In fact I think they may even be open to the idea of moving themselves Рthat would be great!

Once the ice had been broken, it became easier to tell everybody else – except our parents of course. That will never be easy.

Our friends have all taken the news quite well too. Most agree with our reasons, but say they are happy in SA, so will not be following us. Others say they would leave if they could, others say they have worked too hard to give everything up here and start again.¬† I must admit though that to us it seems as though many of the reasons that we hear are just excuses because everybody is in their comfort zone and don’t want to upset their apple cart? Who knows, maybe it’s just us?

We do however have one set of friends that are also emigrating. Not to New Zealand, but to Canada. When we dropped the bomb, they just started laughing and went to go fetch their hidden emigration file. They are quite a way further in their process than us, so may even be out of here before us. Now we have even more in common than before and even more reason to enjoy our ever shortening time together.

So far it has been easy to tell everybody because at some point the crime rate, etc. pops up in the conversation so we just use that as an entry point to say we are “thinking” of emigrating. Then we judge the reactions from there. If they are open we elaborate, if they are dismissive, we leave it at that.

To tell my parents we decided to go over to their house for a visit and chat to them a bit more seriously than around the braai. I told them about our feelings and concerns about the future and especially about our concerns for Candice’s future. Then told them that we are think of emigrating to New Zealand to see what the reaction would be before deciding on the next move. Surprisingly they were both so cool about it. My Dad said that he would leave in a heartbeat if he could as well. We were absolutely bowled over and so happy that we have their support. My Mom obviously says she will miss us terribly, but we have our own family now to think about.

Mel’s Mom and Gran are going to be another kettle of fish though as years ago I happened to mention that I want to emigrate to Canada and Mother-in-law promptly said “Over my dead body” and was quite upset with me after that, so have decided that Mel will do the talking this time. That way she can see that it isn’t me trying to “steal” her daughter away from her, but a decision made by both of us equally. Wish us luck

Sept 2006 – ITA Arrives

Our Invitation To Apply (ITA) arrives two days later(15 Sept) via door-to-door delivery by DHL.

We never realised that it would arrive so quickly or be so thick. I contains a copy of the EOI we had submitted, a checklist, an instruction manual and a Migrant Levy Form.

Now we needed to prove all the claimes we made in our EOI. If you look under the Checklist section of this site, you will be able to see what they require.

Our docu-drill had begun…..

Sep 2006 – EOI Decision 2

On 28 August we decided to send our CO a friendly email to see if any progress had been made :

Good morning

I hope that I am not being too impatient, but was wondering if there was any update to our case after
forwarding the NZQA Pre-assesment on 25 July 2006 re EOI xxxxxx submitted 8 May 2006?

Kind Regards
Nolan Clark
EOI xxxxxxx

We checked our email 50 times that day for a reply…….nothing !!!!!

Then eventually on 13 September, out of the blue we get this email :

Hi Nolan,

I have reassessd your EOI and awarded you additional points. You will receive an invitation to apply in the next couple of weeks.

Regards,
Katie

Amazing how such a short sentence can change everything. We are jumping up and down with joy, we are slumped in the chair with relief, we are definitely not working any further today and will have a lekker celebratory party tonight.

20 July 2006 – EOI Decision

After waiting for 11 weeks our patience has been ripped to shreds but today we finally got an answer from NZIS – bad news. Our application has been denied as my qualifications were not on the list of recognised qualifications.

We were devastated at first, I personally felt humiliated – what had I studied my ass of for all those years

After letting it all sink in for an hour or so I reread the email. At the bottom it said :

If you have any comments or further information you would like considered in your Expression of Interest, please provide them in writing within ten working days of the above date. If we do not receive any communication from you within the above specified time frame we will assume you have nothing further to add.

This was enough for me to gain the energy to ‘find the loophole’ – I knew that my qualifications AND experience was on the long term shortage list. I also knew that the Technikon where I had studied was on there list. There must be an error somewhere. So I started looking at these documents in more detail.

Then it struck me like a ton of bricks : I needed to get my qualifications assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). I submitted a pre-assessment immediately. I also let the case officer at NZIS know what has happened.

The results of the qualification assessment are returned on 25 July 2006. I am assessed at level 7, enough to regain the points I had ‘lost’ in our EOI. I email our Case Officer (CO) immediately.

The waiting game continues…

Feb 2006 – We meet fellow immigrant wanna-be’s

Still no word from NZIS about our EOI application :-(

We decided to see if we can chat to some folks that are already in the queue to see what their experiences have been so far.

I then arranged a meetup through another website. We had a small group that day, four families. Wow the conversation never stopped all day as everybody had so much to chat about and learn from each other. This meetup cemented our resolve and commitment to the move. After this meetup we knew that we were doing the right thing and that we were not alone. (Up to this point we have not told the family about our move)

This will definately be the first of many more meetups.

May 2006 – EOI Submitted

On 18 May 2006 with trembling fingers I hit the send button and our Expression of Interest (EOI) is whisked off into cyberspace on it’s way to NZIS….

Two days later we get an email saying that our EOI has been selected.

This is definately a bit of a reality check for both of us as we suddenly realized that this is not just talk or dreams anymore, we are in the queue for real this time. From here on we start making concrete plans for our immigration.

NZIS had changed their point system again in Dec and didn’t accept EOI’s in January so we were of the first to be assessed under this system. Up until this point folks have been waiting 3 to 4 weeks before receiving their ‘Decision Successful’ or ‘Decision Unsuccessful’ assesments¬† from NZIS. We decided that we will wait for this before going for our passports, birth certificates, etc.

It is going to be a looong month…