Usually I have a cup of tea as I write, but for this post I am drinking red wine, from a whiskey glass.
I’ve procrastinated typing this because my emotions are all over the place and it’s hard to sit down and even know where to begin… I guess with the news…
We are moving to Greece!
Eeeek. Seeing that sentence in black and white is thrilling. It’s exhilarating and nerve wrecking all at the same time. OMG.
I’ve been sooooo nervous to break this news.
Sox and I have been talking about this for a few years now, and it’s been a conversation that’s cropped up time and time again, but as life goes, it gets busy and we continue with our day to day lives, putting the conversation on ice. We had discussed that we wanted to go on an adventure, experience life abroad, and seek out opportunities overseas. We also know we are extremely lucky and grateful to have the passports we have. We chatted for years about where we would hypothetically go if we ever made it a reality – Los Angeles? London? Greece? We decided early on that it would be Greece.
I remember when I was still pregnant with Alexi, we chatted again about what we thought our timeline should be and I just remember nudging my husband playfully, saying: “Can I just give birth first?”
When Alexi was 3 months old, Sox and I had the chat again and I will never forget this. We took a drive to Gordon’s Bay for some lunch. Little did we know it would be the last excursion we’d do before the hard lockdown happened in March. Sox and I were walking along the beach front, George was running up ahead and I was pushing Alexi in his pram. We had the chat again for the thousandth time, but this time Sox said to me: “You know, the push to move will have to come from you. If we are moving to Greece, it’s going to be easier for me, than you – it’s where I was born and it’s my first language. I need you to be the one that spurs this, because I never want you to resent me, or when we move and if things are hard or we have an argument, I never want you to turn around and say “you made me come to Greece.” I need you to be more onboard with this than me.”
It really hit home and I knew that when I was ready I’d let him know.
Well, Covid-19 hit, South Africa (and the world) went into lockdown and it made all of us take a good look at our lives. I think every single one of us did this.
We had some chats with friends who were also talking about possibly moving and something inside me just clicked and I felt ready. One evening, we’d put the boys to bed and we sat at the dining room table and chatted. Sox and I made a Pros and Cons list of Staying and Leaving. I actually want to frame that piece of paper.
What was really fascinating, and what stood out to us, is that the Pro’s to stay in South Africa, which were obviously significant for us to consider staying… were things that were in our control and things that we could create anywhere, with some effort. It was the Cons that were out of our control and that’s what we want to change for our lives. Taking the emotion out of it and seeing it practically in black and white made it easier to make a hard decision final.
I remember saying to Sox, this isn’t another one of those chats. This is it. If we are going to go for an adventure and try something new, then this is the ideal time. It’s kind of now or never.
Firstly, we would never leave Dimitra behind and it would be unfair to expect her to move in a few years time, at her age. The boys are both so little and at an age where we don’t have to stress about schools and them possibly falling behind. They’ll adapt so easily and pick up the language that they already hear at home. Sox has been wanting to transition out of the night life/ DJing industry and he thought that if he was going to create something new, there would, realistically, be more opportunity overseas.
On our Pro list of staying is SA, one of the aspects was our incredible network and amazing friends. However, Covid proved that we were able to stay connected, creatively. I had wine with the girls on Zoom, baked our annual Tsoureki with my girlfriends using the House Party App, and honestly, we will stay friends no matter where we are in the world. Plus, there’s social media, and as much flack as it gets, this is the beauty of being able to stay in touch and keep up to date with each other.
Then it came to me and my career in this country. This is my 20th year in radio.
I started when I was 18 years old on Campus Radio and haven’t missed a year since, as I’ve worked my way through the various types of radio. I absolutely ADORE Smile 90.4 FM, my colleagues and my weekday 9am – 12pm radio show that I produce and present. I cried when I resigned. I gave the company 8 months notice as I didn’t want to blindside them. I have a wonderful relationship with my bosses and their support humbled me. It honestly made it even harder to resign.
However, resigning doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my career. I’m taking 20 years of experience with me to Europe and seeing what opportunities await there. How bloody exciting.
I’m so so proud of my career here – I’ve broadcast for 20 years, worked on almost every radio platform (Campus Radio, Festival Radio, Retail Radio, Digital Radio and Commercial Radio.) I’ve co-hosted 2 major Afternoon Drive shows on 947 and Smile 90.4 FM- with some of the top presenters like Alex Jay, Mark Pilgrim and Maurice Carpede. I’ve hosted my own radio show: my current 9am-12pm show. I’ve MC’d some of the biggest events for the biggest companies, recorded over +1000 voice overs and I’ve TV presented on Top Billing and The Expresso Morning Show. This isn’t meant to be a brag list… this is an “I’m so bloody proud of everything I’ve worked hard at” list. Funny enough, I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface, and I’m fired up for Europe.
I’m actually relieved that this news is now out. I’ve been leading a double life for a while now. I’ve been living in limbo for +8 months now and it’s been really unsettling. I’ve been nervous to share this, because I know it’s a touchy topic. There’s this idea that if you leave South Africa, you’re not patriotic, you’re abandoning your country… but that’s not true. South Africa will always be my home and I will always be Proudly South African. Thing is, there’s a whole world out there too and I want to experience a bit more of it. I never took a gap year to travel. I knew I wanted to get into broadcasting and how I wanted to build my career and that’s what I did. So now, I’m seeing this as an opportunity to take a sabbatical – really settle into the new country, learn the language, travel a little (Covid willing) and I think we realistically need to give ourselves a good 2 years to settle and set things up. If we really aren’t loving it, we can always come back.
I’m really excited to be able to document our journey too… I’m taking you along for the ride. There’s already so much that I want to share with you, that I’ve not been able to until now, which is why the blog went so quiet – I just didn’t know how to share things, with this massive secret and all our planning.
Our plan is to move at the end of March 2021. I’m working until the end of February – gosh I’m going to be a wreck on my last show on the 26th Feb. Deep breath. I don’t know how I’ll get through it.
We will then use the 3 weeks of March to finalise things and then hopefully (I say hopefully – we haven’t book flights yet with all the uncertainty) we’ll be off on our Greek adventure.
It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and I go through major excitement and major anxiety, but I truly believe that if this wasn’t for us, it wouldn’t be a possibility.