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London is Calling

Just when I started getting used to telling people that we’re leaving to travel South America, the rug was pulled from beneath me and the result was a clusterfuck of a week that shifted our perspective and made us rethink our decision to travel, but rather emigrate… to the UK.

Let me back up for a second.

It started on a Tuesday morning, when we woke up to realize our car had been broken into. We spent the rest of the day waiting for the police who scribbled down a case number and drove off.

The following day, we were on our way out when we got a call from D’s gran’s nurse to come quick. We immediately turned the car around and made our way to his mom’s house, preparing ourselves for anything and everything… except what his mom had to say.

Tragically, D’s uncle had been found murdered in his apartment in Sea Point and before any of us had time to digest the news, we went into crisis mode, came together as a family and supported each other in any way possible.

In almost no time at all, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend jumped on a plane from London and came home to help the family through this difficult time, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.

Exactly a week later, my father-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I sighed and with relief I figured that we’ve hit rock bottom which means we can only rebuild from here. In between the funeral planning, the drama that comes with lots of emotions, too little sleep and everyone grieving, we found comfort in each other and spent any free time chatting over cheese platters, playing board games and poking fun at each other.

It’s the one thing I am always so grateful to have learnt from Darren; the ability to find humour in the darkest times.

The following Friday night, D and I were busy working when he started pacing around with pains in his heart. After the week we had just survived, I wasn’t willing to take any chances, so we loaded the kids into the car and made our way to the ER. Everyone was under so much stress and pressure as it was, so we didn’t bother telling anyone.

The entire drive there, I told myself that D had to be okay and that this is probably just some sort of over-exaggeration like a massive burp building up. But when we got there, the doctor confirmed that D’s blood pressure was out of control and he needed further testing to find out what was causing the pain in his heart.

I was sitting alone in the car with two sleeping boys, a battery on 10% and a heart full of fear and sadness. By some miracle my dad was in town (he had been in Cape Town for the last 6 months), and 10 minutes from us, so he brought me a charger and sat with us until we got the tests back.

Thankfully, it wasn’t a heart attack but rather an infection in his heart. The doctor said we were very lucky to have come in when we did as these things can take a turn for the worst very quickly.

A few days later, we were sitting with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend discussing their decision to emigrate to London and what it is like living in the UK, three years later. It was an insightful discussion and sort of answered a lot of my reservations that I had about travelling South America.

You see, my biological dad was born and lives in the UK, so I am entitled to a British Citizenship. I had always wanted to claim it, especially when I was younger, but finances and circumstances were never right. With this at the back of my mind, the more we chatted to my sister-in-law, the more the UK made better sense for our family… long-term.

For starters, I was really worried about how we were going to manage getting D’s chronic medication while travelling all over South America. He has been on psych meds since the age of 16 to manage his bi-polar and I wasn’t quite sure what it would be like to get a new script from a local doctor every 90-days.

Also, there’s a language barrier.

The reality of being at the ER alone with my boys was scary enough, but can you imagine being in a foreign country where you can’t understand anyone, and you have no idea what’s wrong with your husband?

I shudder at the thought.

In the UK we have a lot of family. We are exceptionally close to my sister-in-law and her boyfriend who live in central London. Of course, I also have my darling best friend Leigh-Ann and her gorgeous son, Seth, plus a whole family who I haven’t had the chance of getting to know, including my biological dad, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, nan and grandad. D also has his cousin and brother and so, I don’t think I ever have to worry about us being alone or unsupported. In fact, we will have a lot to go over to.

Then there’s the fact that the British schooling system is so much more advanced. If I am being honest, applying to schools is one of the first things that made us consider travelling at all. We are so worried about the boys’ education and whether a South African matric certificate will hold any merit 20 years from now. I want the boys to be able to travel and aspire to be whatever they dream to be but watching how the pass rates are constantly being lowered and the curriculum changed to accommodate more passes makes me worry about the quality of a pass and whether it’ll even mean anything.

Another thing is that I will be able to continue blogging. I knew that if we were going to travel South America, it was unlikely that I’d be able to keep up with the blog. The language barrier, the moving every 3 months and the entirely different market meant that it would be a challenge trying to get established over there. But I do think that by moving to the UK I will have a lot more opportunities and might even be able to blog full-time as it’s actually quite possible over there. For a long time, I have been feeling despondent because it’s almost as if I have grown stagnant locally and am exhausted by all the clicks, drama and BS that comes with being part of the SA blogging community. Everyone is too worried about what the other is doing, instead of just focusing on creating good content that they can be proud of. Leigh-Ann has already provided so much insight on what it is like blogging in the UK and what I can expect and I am incredibly excited for what awaits me on that side and feel in my heart of hearts that it can only improve.

And of course, it’s frikken England! I have been there once before and one of my biggest regrets in life is that I did not take full advantage of the opportunity. At the time, I was so caught up in the shock of being in a new country with people I did not know, and it just seemed like too much for my little 12-year old heart to handle, but now I am going there under different circumstances and I can’t wait to explore churches, museums, small towns and big cities with my husband and kids by my side.

The fact that there is no need to worry about a language barrier is a great relief, plus there is much to see and once we get bored of England, there’s Spain, Ireland, and freakin DISNEY LAND in Paris! Of course, I am scared out of mind about the cost of moving there, getting our paperwork, D’s visa and whatever else is likely to pop in the next few months, but I am trying hard to focus on the good that will come from this.

If I had to sum it up, South America is the exotic adventure of a lifetime and one that I am having a hard time letting go of but emigrating to the UK just makes more sense for our family in the long run. I see just how much life has improved for those that I know who have already emigrated, and I can’t wait to be in that position too.

But until then, I have a whole stack of paperwork that I need to get through to start the process of getting my British passport. Wish us luck!

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  • Vanessa Riodan
    Posted at 22:28h, 11 May

    Ah Megs, just as well I cam across your blog. A huge decision as a family and I’m sure that knowing the person you are, everything is going to fall into place at the right time for you and your precious family. You know where your routes are precious, mom and her “crazy” sisters are here plus gran and oups and of course your extended family 🙂 Your story is one of sadness with the heartache of family yet one filled with hope, courage and sacrifice for your precious family. I am understanding of your decision to take this huge step into the unknown. Be encourage precious, you guys will find security and happiness. You are living in the most exciting period of time in history. I’m sure there is the painful decision to leave mom and D’s family behind regardless you guys are giving yourself the best chance of success not only for you but your precious boys. They will have an opportunity to achieve their potential 🙂 I am saddened by all the crises you guys are facing. Hold onto the fact that although this seems to be going downhill, In all the bad you guys are facing, it does bring the family together, hold onto that for now. As for your children’s future, reading from latest news and listening to recent posts, you are making the best decision for your little one’s future and I would most certainly be doing the same had I had a chance earlier in my life. Remember though “like branches on a tree we may grow in difference directions yet our roots remain as one. For the sake of a safe, happy and loving family with a bright future ahead of you, go for it girl 🙂

  • Chantelle Coombes
    Posted at 10:46h, 11 May

    I’m so sorry for your loss and the diagnosis and everything. It doesn’t rain it freakin POURS.
    That said I am so excited for you and a hint of jealousy, we want to emigrate but keep on hitting brick walls with regards to how we will make a living and work.
    Best of luck with all the paperwork and I believe that you made a good choice.
    Also the husband always says;”There’s no point in traveling and seeing amazing things if you can’t share it with someone you love”

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:41h, 15 May

      Hey Chantelle! Thank you so much for the kind message – I am sorry you’ve been hitting walls, I am really hoping we have an easier time with the paperwork!

  • MomOfTwoLittleGirls
    Posted at 09:38h, 11 May

    Best of luck to you all. It sounds like you’ve had a really bad time of it recently. I totally get your decision.
    My husband flies out on Monday to the UK to start our new life (again), and then the girls and I leave at the end of June. We won’t be in London (it’s not for me), but beautiful Yorkshire instead. I really wish you all the best in the relocation journey. It’s extremely stressful on everyone involved.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:42h, 15 May

      Thanks so much! Good luck with your new adventure, wishing you and your beautiful girls the most wonderful adventure!

  • Ramona Moodley
    Posted at 09:11h, 11 May

    I’m so very sorry your your loss and everything else you have been through sounds like riding a rollercoaster unharnessed and you’re holding on for dear life! All the best off luck to you and your family in the UK I’m sure you will flourish

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:43h, 15 May

      Thank you so much Ramona

  • Melissa Javan
    Posted at 08:44h, 11 May

    Hey Megan, I think you have good points here re London. For me, having children means a village is important, so it’s good that you’re going to a country where there is family and friends. Raising kids are tough, so having a support system is good.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:43h, 15 May

      So very true Melissa! Thank you for that reminder.

  • kerry
    Posted at 07:41h, 11 May

    I am so sorry for everything you’ve been through but I really believe life/the universe guide us and this was a pretty messed up way to guide you but I am sure it will all start coming together for you. I look forward to seeing your journey.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:44h, 15 May

      Thanks Kerry! I appreciate that comment! x

  • Sarah
    Posted at 07:00h, 11 May

    Life has a funny (fucked up) way of showing us the right direction. I’m so sorry to hear of your tragedy and worries. London is a good place and if you are able to make the move, take advantage of it. You are already in motion – the destination is just a little clearer now.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:46h, 15 May

      Thanks Sarah! Such a good point! I am getting quite excited, just wish this horrible transition/paperwork part would pass now!

  • stephanie videira
    Posted at 22:31h, 10 May

    Yep that sound defiantly like a great decisions and UK its the most beautiful specially the Lake district where my brother and family live, Am sure you will enjoy it paperwork is a pain and expensive with the rand/ pound but oh so worth it, and the traveling you can do once you set ur self up so much cheaper then here, excited to follow you on this journey 🙂

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:47h, 15 May

      Thanks Stephanie! I appreciate the encouragement.

  • Prettiful Blog
    Posted at 21:59h, 10 May

    Ah Megs this sounds like an amazing opportunity for you guys and definitely the best option long term. Hopefully it all works out soon and I hope things are looking up.

    P.S. I follow a few UK bloggers and they are so much more inclusive and supportive compared to here.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:48h, 15 May

      Thanks lovely! I am really excited about the blogging potential on that side!

  • Tania Brewis
    Posted at 21:47h, 10 May

    Great decision. I was in the UK for 5 years and I loved it. Good luck with all the paperwork and eventually the big move. You won’t regret going.

    • Megan Kelly
      Posted at 15:48h, 15 May

      Thank you Tania! Going to need every bit of luck hahaha