I’d never been to Australia before, but I knew I wanted to live there because I heard that nobody carried guns there.
I’m from sunny South Africa, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. But when the violence escalated and a family member was killed, I made a decision to leave South Africa and say goodbye to my real estate business, all our material goods and to our fair-weather friends.
My husband was not happy, but he went along. Initially.
After our visas were granted, he got cold feet and changed his mind about leaving South Africa.
That put such a strain on the marriage that it fell apart.
But, I was serious about relocating to Aus with my five year old and nothing was going to stop me.
Yes, it would be hard being a single parent in a country I knew nothing about (That’s not true, I watched Neighbours! Ha ha!), but I was unafraid, fearless and …well, that’s not altogether true either; I was shit scared, terrified at times and wondered if I was mad to migrate without my husband. I even wondered if mental illness ran in my family.
Then, a month after I split with my husband, I found out I was pregnant with my second child!
That was it; my plans to migrate came to an abrupt end. I resigned my disappointed self to stay in South Africa, obtain more guns, one for each child, get a bodyguard to shadow me, (Kevin Costner would do) and convert the fence on my property into an electric one.
Eh, no. Not quite. I was going ahead with my plans to migrate to Australia with my five-year-old and my unborn baby. (Years later, I found out that mental illness did run in my family.)
My husband, after he got over his shock over the unplanned pregnancy, was convinced that I wouldn’t leave the country now that I was with child. He was happy and smug.
But clearly he too didn’t know that mental illness ran in my family.
I came to Australia when I was seven months pregnant.
Even though it had been a horrendous flight, the moment I touched down in Sydney, in spite of my jet-lag and the fact that I lived in a hotel for a week, I fell in love with it. Love at first sight!
With everything, the unpretentious people, the holiday atmosphere, the perfect climate, the absence of guards and guns.
I was in awe when I moved to a place called St Ives, a lovely green suburb, ideal for bringing up children. (It reminded me of Cape Town, so I settled there. You Will Pay was based in this suburb.)
There were no fences, no guard dogs, no This Property is being Protected by Rottweiler and Angry Pitbull Security Company signs, and people didn’t even draw their blinds at night – you could see right into their lovely homes!
My love for Australia soared and I wrote to my family (I am one of seven children) and reported that I had found Paradise, I was thrilled to be here and could they please send me more South African pickles, some Royal Crème biscuits and Beacon Easter eggs, please. (Yes, I said ‘please’ twice.)
They were relieved that I was okay, but they were baffled that I had no maid, no driver, no secretary, no nanny for my kids and that I would be cleaning my own toilets.
That bothered them the most – me having to do domestic chores.
That bothered me the most –me having to do domestic chores.
Even though I loved Australia, many at times, I raised my unmascaraed eyes, my Ansell gloved hands holding my toilet brush and cleaning sponge to the heavens and said, “What the fuck?”
But my husband kept in touch (was also around for the birth of my baby) waiting for the day I would break and send that all important email:
“I’m coming home, tell the world I’m coming home. I know my kingdom awaits…” Okay, fine, if you want to be technical, those are PDiddy’s words (but I do believe he found my diary ), but my words would be something like those.
You know, something like, I have made a mistake in leaving South Africa and I want a second chance. I want to come back with my suitcase between my legs and I promise I will never ever speak of Australia ever again.
Guess what? The weirdest thing happened – my husband wanted to come to Australia! To settle here. Turns out, during his visits, he loved it here even though the speed limit in most places was just 50 KMP and he would have to say adios to his German vehicles in South Africa.
Guess what? The weirdest thing happened – by then, I had lost all the baby fat, toned my bod, grew my hair, had a Brazilian or two and was dating again!
Yes, in the process of relocating and giving birth to a precious baby, I had got my mojo, that years of marriage (to the same man) had eroded bit by bit.
I no longer wanted my husband! He was so yesterday.
I wanted to skank around a little, have some fun, live a little.
(As Jack Nicolson said in The Witches of Eastwick: “When a woman unloads a husband, or a husband unloads a woman, however it happens – death, desertion, divorce – the three D’s – when that happens, a woman blooms. She blossoms. Like flowers. Like fruit. She is ripe.”)
However, and this is a big however; I did have two kids under the age of six, one a baby, and at times it was hard. Plus my husband had been brought up by my bitch of a mother in law who had a house so clean and spotless, it was more like a museum than a house. She had four sons, all around 6’4” but she kicked their arses and had them cleaning and polishing on demand.
So, he was really good at doing dishes, vacuuming and other domestic chores, all of which I hated more than my mother in law. (Actually, I didn’t hate her. I just preferred to live in another country.)
Maybe, I could take him back, have all the benefits of a husband, and to keep my mojo going, and so as not to waste all that lovely lingerie I had purchased, I could have an affair on the side?
That was a brilliant idea, I thought. While he’d be busy holding the baby and the fort, I would sneak out for matinee sex in sleazy motels, where you pay by the hour. I’d never been to a sleazy motel before, so I was excited at the thought of using one. I wondered what the room service was like.
Anyway, I took my husband back and unfortunately, the only affair I wanted to have was with him. As I said, “unfortunately.”
Turns out the split did us good, and it was as if we were two different people in Australia. Minus the pressures of the business we ran in South Africa, we were living an idyllic life.
Plus, in all fairness, he really appreciated the new panties and stuff, so we lived happily ever after.
For three months.
Then the bitching started. He expected me to do my share of the housework!
I was flabbergasted at his gall and seriously considered packing his arse off back to South Africa. After all, I still had the men I had been dating on speed dial lurking around, and there was still the sleazy motel I had not had the pleasure of visiting.
But marriage is a comprise I thought, so I compromised and got a cleaner who came in three times a week.
Problem solved, paradise regained and I was loving my sun-burnt country.
A few things have happened since:
The marriage ended years later.
Even though my speed dial doesn’t work, I am dating again.
I have bought more panties. Skanky ones.
I’m writing books and loving it. (21 books published, with two more on the horizon.)
I’m still loving Australia, I’m really loving my freedom and I’ve found my mojo again.
(I hope my ex-husband doesn’t read this, he’s not a bad guy. I hope my mother in law doesn’t read this, she’s not a …well, I hope she doesn’t read this. In fact, I hope nobody reads this.)
Anyway, happy Australia Day to all!
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