Scared

This matter of relocation is definitely not for the fainthearted. I am already intimidated, and I am mostly doing this alone. The entity employing me only gives me phone numbers and contacts, and it is left to me to sift through the mountains of information out there, and verify them if possible on the internet.

I realize now that I haven’t actually spilled the beans yet on what or where this is about. I am going to be employed by an international organization based in New York as an Associate Arabic Translator. This is of course a wonderful opportunity for me and for Robert but there are many challenges involved, and I am trying to overcome them one at a time.

The biggest obstacle so far is finding a proper pre-school for Robert, somewhere where he will be happy and looked after. He is doing so well at his pre-school here in Cape Town, and I am only going to enroll him at a pre-school in New York that is on the same level or better.

A few days ago I was so happy that one particular Child Care center in Midtown Manhattan had space for him. I thought that I had this figured, until on closer examination it turned out that the pre-school was in a basement of an office building and the children had only limited access to natural light. I had the disturbing image of child-prisoners going out for fresh air once or twice a day. I cannot do this to my son after living in the sunshine of South Africa and having access to open air playgrounds during school hours.  Of course South Africa has more sunny days than most places on earth but still, can you imagine having a child deprived of daylight ? The woman working at the centre said their working hours were from about seven in the morning until six in the evening, so it is conceivable that during winter some kids will arrive in the dark and leave in the dark, I cannot think of anything more depressing, even for an adult let alone a child.

My ex husband said that there are so many people competing on very little resources in Manhattan, so I am expanding now my search to residential areas with good transit access to town and wherever I find a good pre-school it will be where we will live. As this is my main focus now I haven’t even thought about shipping my few things, the logistics of moving my cat (if at all conceivable) and many other little problems that will surely present themselves as time moves on closer to the d-date.  I haven’t committed myself yet to the employer but I already gave notice on my rental flat and I have to be out of here by April 1st, so I hope I will manage to solve my problems until then.

If all else fails, there is help from family. My mother generously offered to be with me for the initial relocation period in New York, and thanks to this lifesaving gesture my fear has not reached the point of panic (yet).

When I first applied and attended the exams required for the job, I desperately wanted to be based in New York. Now I am not so sure, it seems it is awfully crowded busy and noisy and I have always been a small town girl. Cape Town to me is just big enough, and I cannot imagine living in a city where I have to compete with millions. I have to dig deep and keep my faith that things always work out in the end.

New Beginnings Beckon

Early this week I stated that my life is on autopilot and there is fair weather ahead. I think I spoke too soon. Less that 48 hours later I get news delivered to my inbox that might bring a monumental change into our lives; a change even more profound than what divorce wrought on almost three years ago. In short, we may be departing the South African shores in the next few months. I have very mixed feelings about this particular development although I worked towards it since June 2009. I have been living in South Africa since 1999 and although this doesn’t seem like a long time, it is still half my adult life, the other half I spent between my native Syria and the UAE. So when I leave it behind I will also leave a huge chunk of life, memories, experiences and very dear friends.  And without a doubt Cape Town will always be the place I call home, and where I shall hopefully return in due course.

As this happens my son has started at a new school. He is now officially a pre-schooler or Grade-R pupil. Initially I had some trepidations about starting him in a pre-school that uses German as a teaching medium, but I always wanted him to retain the connection to this language, and in my mind I wanted the German taken care of at school so that I can perhaps introduce the Arabic. Admittedly, having my child tackle three languages will be a challenge but I feel he has a keen interest and keeps asking about words and their meaning in another language. He often inquires what is this “auf deutsch” or what do you call that “bel3arabi”(in Arabic). He also asks me to play some of his DVDs in Arabic, or German (or even French and Spanish), so I am encouraged about capacity for learning language.

As early as his first day on Tuesday, he already told me that he likes this new school and prefers it to his old school. There are a few hurdles to conquer, though. On the first demonstration of “Play Ball”, one of the extramurals offered, he went into total strike and was the only child crying. Throughout the demonstration he sat glued to my lap and only approached the tasks of kicking the ball once or twice and very timidly at that. I tell myself that I distracted him with my presence and that he will do better next week, but I still worry about his shyness. It is largely my fault, I know. I have never been one for socializing, so he does not get the benefit of play-dates and parties very often. I am hoping this will change with time as he gets into his own character, but if social aptitude is genetic, he will probably end up on the reticent side, because he gets it from both parents.

It breaks my heart that I have to tear him away from the few friends he has. On Wednesday I watched him play naturally and spontaneously with Britt’s little girls, and this is something that had just started to evolve after many months of visiting. I wondered about the adjustment required of him in the future. I keep hoping that it will be easier for him than it will be for me, I know I will pine for my friends here and for my warmhearted Africa.