Three words: “I am emigrating.” If I had a Rand (rather, make it a Pound) for every time I’ve heard that statement…
But, you know, maybe it’s time to investigate the possibility. We semigrated from Joburg to Hermanus 12 years ago and that worked out pretty well… I’ve always loved Europe, so why not give it a shot? France is top of the list, I can even parler un peu.
I search the Internet. Merde! They are so not interested in another African citizen joining the land of Liberty and Equality. Not even if I claim refugee status. Apparently my eight years of French studies have been wasted, unless of course I move to the Congo or some other ex-French colony. Mmm, maybe not.
I need to be more scientific in my research. So I type in: Which countries will accept South Africans as citizens? 85 million results! This bodes well… However, it soon becomes clear that as a South African (with no overseas relatives, obviously) I can only BUY myself into another country.
But now I’m curious. After all, this is the age of online shopping. Let’s see if I can find myself a bargain. What?! I can buy myself into the UK? Ah, there’s the snag, they’re targeting CEOs, CFOs, COOs… Don’t think they’re falling over their feet for a CAA (Cool Actress and Author.)
Oh, wow. Belgium is also on the list. Forget about Boris and the second wave and lockdown and soccer hooligans… I love Belgium, and I can speak all three official languages. Well, kinda. According to the GoldenVisa requirements I need to make an eligible business investment. Not sure if a beautiful Boere-French store qualifies, but we’ll cross that bridge… Out comes the calculator. I punch in the required Euros. The total amount is… Eish! Too many zeros for the calculator. Guess that’s a no then.
Luckily I have no desire to move to the USA. Imagine converting those massive amounts into Rands. My calculator would’ve spontaneously combusted. Besides, as an actress I could never live in a country that spells theatre incorrectly. No! This is not a case of sour grapes. (Well, maybe a little.)
Apparently Canada is impossibly difficult to enter. That’s no loss; I am no Snow Queen. Not sour grapes, in this case. I have many ex-pat customers from Canada who visit family over Christmas. Apparently a white Christmas is not all that fun if you have to thaw the frozen trifle in the micro.
And what do these ex-pats buy? Any product with a South African joke on it, usually a typical SA joke in bad taste which we all find hilarious, but no other nationality would ever understand. Which makes one wonder if there may be a lack of humor up in the cold North. Which in turn makes me wonder why I am even entertaining the thought of leaving.
But I can’t make an informed decision if I don’t check out all the options. I’m clearly setting my sights too high. Surely there have to be cheaper countries?
If I sell everything, and I mean everything (excluding my body, but including my self-esteem), I can barely afford a tatty apartment in the wrong part of Portugal where I don’t speak the language. Ditto for Italy and Greece. Hungary and Slovenia. Yip, the pickings are getting thin.
Malta? The applicant must be able to communicate adequately in Maltese… huh? Oh, the language… for a moment there I saw myself barking up a storm. Secondly, the applicant must be a fit and proper person. I suspect I don’t fit the description. Whatever. I won’t survive on a rock in the middle of the ocean. Man is not an island.
I know New Zealand and Australia are also possibilities, but I refuse to betray the Springboks. They’re part of my DNA. So is vetkoek, koeksisters, samoosas, biltong. Not to mention the weekend braai. How can I live in a country where the inhabitants talk about a barbie? A Barbie is a doll, mate. A braai is not a barbeque either. I’ve also been told that in most overseas cities it’s against the law to make an open fire, and I can’t see myself braaing wors on a gas burner.
Last week a film crew from Johannesburg came to Hermanus to complete shooting a TV series that I wrote. None of them had ever been here. The first words that I heard were: “This is like another country. It feels like I’m overseas.”
Correction. This is even better than overseas. This is called Paradise and everyone wants to come live HERE. Why the hell would I even consider emigrating?