I’m Cutting Ties with My Home Country

After 10 years there’s no going back

Chetna Jai


Image by Sharon Ang from Pixabay

I didn’t leave because the grass was greener; I left because I wanted to experience a different shade of green.

Ten years ago, when I moved from South Africa to Canada, I wanted my friends and family to follow. I was not the first from my circle of friends and family to leave S.A, but the most recent, to immigrate. I heard it all, from comments such as:

“It’s so cold in Canada!”

“What will you do there?”

“I don’t think I can leave my family,” with such casualty that it made me feel like I was abandoning mine.

On the contrary, I was doing this for my family. If I went and made a life for myself, I could then encourage my siblings and sponsor my parents. And that’s what I did — my brother and his family, along with my parents, now call Canada home, as do my entire in-law family.

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello .”

— Paulo Coelho

Trust new beginnings

Change isn’t easy, and I get that. But, for a better life, I will always be willing to take a swig, no matter how bitter or sweet.

What’s harder? Regret not doing something out of fear. My grandparents travelled on a boat from South Africa to India, a journey that lasted 21 days. My mom, nine years old at the time, and four siblings spent that journey below deck in 2nd class. The weather conditions were so bad that sometimes the ship swayed like a roller coaster ride.

Packing my bags, shipping some boxes, and booking a flight, was all it took to get to Canada. I could playback a video of the day I left in my head. We were at the airport. It was a night flight. Everyone I hold dear was there. About 20 people came to bid my husband and me farewell. There was a mix of excitement and apprehension. I didn’t know what was going through their minds at the time. Were they concerned for us, or were they thinking we insane?

I was happy to start a new adventure, experience firsts, adopt different cultures, and drive on the wrong (meaning the…



Chetna Jai

My external words are the inner me. I value freedom, travel and change. Always contemplating the philosophy of life.