21st Anniversary in the United States

Cilliers in the Snow

So today, December 3, 2019, marks my family’s 21st anniversary in the United States! From my perspective it feels like it has been forever, I was nine when we moved here. But I am sure for my parents it feels like a blip in time.

Every year when this date comes around, I am always hit with an overwhelming attitude of gratefulness. My parents have done so much for my brother and I. Sacrificed so much to make sure that we had the life we deserved, free of constantly fearing and worrying for our lives and safety.

They left behind a farm that had been in our family for generations. Passed down from son to son, that was hand build by an ancestor. They left behind their parents, their siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and a life they knew. Since my brother and I was so young, leaving behind grandparents, aunts, uncles and nephews wasn’t as hard. We adjusted. Though we did miss out on grandparents love and growing up with cousins. It was more difficult for my parents. I don’t even want to go into all of the hardships they endured those first few years here in the states. I know it wasn’t easy. I know they wanted to toss in the towel. But they didn’t.

I can’t imagine leaving my parents for a whole new world. Leaving everything behind and going into an unfamiliar country with a different culture and language. But they did it all for us. And I am so happy and in awe that they did. They had the courage to do something that many couldn’t for something that they didn’t know would pan out.

Because of their courage, we aren’t prisoners in our own homes. I am not going to get political on here, but South Africa has severely declined in economic status and safety of their citizens. I am not sure we would still be alive if my parents didn’t have the courage to leave when they did.

Their sacrifice has inspired me to do one thing my entire life. It has driven me since I was in high school, actually, probably when I was able to understand the amount that they sacrificed. It has driven me to get good grades in high school, pursue a career I loved, work so hard in college that it drove them crazy. And now am working full time plus running a business that I obsessively love. That one thing was to be successful. Successful in whatever I decided to do with my life. I didn’t want their bravery to be for nothing. That would break my heart.

So here I am. Hustling. Always working hard to be the best I can possibly be. And I won’t stop, I don’t think there is a single thing that will ever make me stop trying to successful. Not that I don’t think that I am successful in my life so far. But I won’t let that slip. Me being successful, I hope, proves to them that it was worth it. That we made it. That I couldn’t be this successful without their courage.

So thank you mamma and pappa. You guys never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. You filled our home with love, God and never any inkling that it was so, so hard. You guided me to be the person I am today while still figuring out how to survive in a new country. I don’t know how you did it. If I am half as brave, courageous, smart and filled with the amount of love you guys have for Aldo and I, I think I would call it successful.

I love you so much, Jeanize

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