When I tell people that I sold up a 5 bedroom home in South Africa down to 8 suitcases and a couple of thousand dollars in cash, and moved with my husband and two young children to the US, knowing nobody at all in this country except the employment broker … they look at me in amazement.
But it really didn’t seem at all scary. It was a luscious, divine, exhilarating adventure and never once did I doubt that I was going to live the American dream.
I was never homesick – not even for a minute – because I kept firmly focused on the future and the seemingly limitless opportunities that lay around every corner.
Initially, the INS denied me permission to work – a bureaucratic restriction that forbids anyone other than the visa holder (my hubby) to earn any income whatsoever – and since we’d heard of a fellow South African being Deported because his wife started selling Tupperware and naively declared it on their taxes, I was happy to spend all my time creating a new life for my family.
Because the bus stopped right outside our apartment block, and hubby had the car during the day, I spent many hours wandering round that mecca of consumerism known as the Mall of America.
It was like a crash course in Possibility Thinking, Abundance Awareness and Visualization all at once – although I wasn’t really aware of at the time :-
- I saw the gorgeous outfits in toothpick sizes in the windows of clothing stores and vowed to be able to wear them. Dieting was effortless with those images always in the front of my mind. I shed 25lbs in about 4 months.
- I saw ‘Help Wanted’ signs everywhere and determined that America was indeed the Land of Opportunity, IF you were prepared to take advantage of it.
- I also heard people on the bus whining about the ‘lack’ they were experiencing and with Africa and its poverty still fresh in my memory, I could only shake my head at their limited viewpoint. I determined to be forever grateful because no matter how little we might think we have, if you live in this country you are richer than 75% of the rest of the planet.
- I began to relish my anonymity. In South Africa, I was a minor celebrity. I had a successful theatrical and singing career, to the point that I signed autographs, would be stopped in the grocery stores, and had a newspaper article written about my leaving the country. So to be in a crowded mall and not be recognized was indescribably liberating. I cut my hair. Changed my style. Found a passion for decorating. All without having to entertain any other opinion but my own – and occasionally, my husband’s. That degree of personal freedom induced a mild euphoria that lasted for years.
*More coming later. This is a work in progress … sort of like me!*