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Surviving Emigration

When I saw the recent breaking news of a South African woman who had killed her three daughters, there was a sense of horror that something like this could happen and then a sense of deep sadness and empathy. The difficulties of immigrating to a different country are often underestimated by those immigrating. In the rush to be accepted and to meet the all the criteria, the impact of leaving all that one may have known behind is underestimated. The focus on the beauty, safety and life of greater ease, hides the huge difference between any cultures. Of course there are similarities and there are many unexpected and surprising differences. This may take the form of simple differences such as in expressions, the products in supermarkets through to the workplace culture or the way people live. I think that the hardest thing to really come to terms with though, is the loss. It isn't just the loss of family and friends. This is huge, but it is the loss of what is known, what is familiar and often the networks of people that you don't even realise that you have established over many years of living in one place. Although you may speak the same language, you really don't and nothing is really the same or familiar. Even if you made the choice to uproot yourself and move to this country it remains a loss of that which was taken for granted, familiar and known.

It is important to find support if you are struggling. Things can easily feel overwhelming. With COVID and managed isolation on top of everything else, it is easy to feel alone, isolated and hopeless. Sometimes waking up to another miserable cold and rainy day can be the last straw, so talk to someone who can help.

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