Sunday, June 26, 2011

Having to assimilate one's new culture is part of the process, and is highly recommended.

Identities, flags, rugger teams and reinventing or not reinventing the self; that is the burning Question !

One thing about emigrating is that one has to go through an identity crisis. One leaves behind one's roots, one's identity, one's familiar terrain, friends, family.... and for me it was 57 years of the me I knew. 

One feels as though one has to almost reformat one's self. One arrives and virtually no one knows one. I felt like I was a new Eve. However, one does take the old persona through. I mean I didn't suddenly dye my hair green, get studs in my eyebrows or change my name ! The essential persona remained. But it is a good feeling knowing that one can turn over a brand new leaf. One can try to be a better person, break old habits etc. Eg. I was never a long term smoker, but I'd started smoking from a whole raft of stressors a few years before emigrating, and moving to NZ ultimately changed that, as although emigrating is massively stressful, I was away from the menace of visceral fear and threat, which had reared its head again and again at me in SA. At first I needed to hold on to that crutch here as I'd given up EVERYTHING else. But after about a year I quit and that felt terrific.

I still feel an allegiance to both countries and to both flags, but one has to move on, support The All Blacks and assimilate one's new culture as best as possible. The immigrants in NZ who don't (and there are masses of immigrants from many many countries) settle worse and are not as well accepted. It doesn't require a rocket scientist to figure that out !

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