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People cry out for direction... Where can I go? Where should I move? What country is safe? Tell me! TELL ME!
I should have written this article four years ago, but people would not have listened. Now it is nearly too late.
Increasingly people feel the answer is to flee our Country, move somewhere else, move ANYWHERE else. Before you embark on this likely one-way journey, let me share with you what it might be like.
In the last 12 months, I've read numerous accounts of people suggesting to those who have the means to move to Central America, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Mexico, ANYWHERE besides here. Even before that when people had heard we'd lived in Oz many years, inevitably comments poured in, "I've always wanted to go to Australia!"
It's time for a reality check.
Living in a foreign country is vastly different than merely visiting it for even 6 months. As a tourist you'll be treated like royalty as it's your pocket's contents they want, not your presence.
My husband moved to Australia to pursue his advanced propulsion research in 1971. At that time, Australia welcomed him like a chick to its nest. Many of his closest friends are still those who live Downunder and three of our children and their families live there. But these are people that it takes years to bond with, to be accepted by.
Australia is a unique and beautiful country, but not without built-in problems. Let me say at this point, that it is not my intention to offend any Australian or any person living in another country. If they moved to America, they might feel the same way I did living elsewhere. To this day, Stan and I have dear friends In Australia with whom we still write and Skype.
Six months ago Stan lost his oldest Aussie friend Charlie Parker. Chas built the Ballarat Wildlife Park in Victoria from the ground up. He befriended Stan when he first set foot in The Lucky Country helping him beyond measure and they remained friends for over 40 years until his death in November. You don't ever find better friends than he and his wife, Val. They were our Aussie family and there are others too, that we'll let go unnamed. So I'm not picking on Australians. It's just the experience I'm compelled to share because people are looking for answers.
It was 30 years later, nearly to the day, when Stan came home to America. In the intervening time, I had lived in Australia 5-1/2 long years and feel qualified to give an eagle-eye assessment of residing in a foreign country having given it a "fair go". It is nearly impossible for people to adequately explain what it's like to live abroad without having done so. Yet many pundits pontificate on this subject while sitting cozily in their American bugout quarters.
GETTING OUT OF DODGE
When I moved to Perth in 1996, it wasn't that I wanted to leave America. It was simply easier for me to relocate there than it was for Stan to come here. I was high on the prospect of marrying my beloved and hummed happily while packing boxes and boxes and even more boxes. Thinking to be clever, I'd ironed every stick of clothing beforehand and packed it carefully so that chore would be done for about 6 months. There would more time to get used to my new country, my new husband and sightsee.
When most of it arrived through Customs several months later, every single piece of clothing had been removed from countless boxes and shoved back inside in massive colored wads of tangled, wrinkled fabric. Some of my most treasured items - things that would have meant nothing to anyone else - were magically “lost”. Most surprising was to find that the Cuisinart had been used sometime between Denver and Perth and put back into the packing dirty and oily.
LITTLE THINGS THAT WEREN'T SO SMALL
After the first glow of romancing a new country wore off, innumerable changes surfaced. I had to learn to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. It meant a new driver's license and a new test. Everything was measured in metric from distances to recipes to weight. Road differences like irritating roundabouts had to be negotiated, but driving-wise, most frustrating was traveling to a specific destination. In America where even numbers are on one side of the street and odd ones on the other, often there was no logic to addresses. It was random chaos. On many occasions, once you crossed an intersection, the street you were driving on vanished and it became a whole other road. Oopsies. Sorry, the change wasn't on the map! For people new to the area, it was like driving in a time warp.
I used to be a pretty decent cook, took gourmet classes occasionally in Kansas City and knew my way around the kitchen with fair ease. However, it was like someone had sucked my brain out between leaving Denver and arriving in Perth.
Shopping was culture shock! Many ingredients that were common in the States were non-existent Downunder and when you could find them, the prices might rival those for your first born. Other problems encountered were equivalent conversions. In the States, a “can” might consist of 14 oz., but there it could be 300 grams, which when you convert it, is only 10-1/2 oz. This difference certainly mucks up recipes.
It's these seemingly small irritations that are a big part of why female immigrants to Oz generally only last two years. And this time frame is for one of the countries most like America. That two year statistic is according to Australia's Dept. Immigration and Citizenship, not something scraped off the bottom of my shoe. Now think what that transition would be like to a country where you don't even speak the language….
Imagine trading every single thing you know, every piece of history you identify with, every single store you're used to shopping, every landmark you associate with your culture, every street familiar to you, every joke and bit of humor you “get”, every idiom that's a part of your language, every holiday that is your tradition, every convenience you take for granted. Weigh all that and more, it carves a big hole out of your heart.
I remember seeing programs on Aussie TV that originated in America. It was so good when they panned the city and one got to glimpse a slice of home, even if for a few seconds. Though those seconds brought more waves of wretched homesickness, it was wonderful to see America again.
DETAILS, MORE DETAILS
The most screamingly hilarious, ridiculous stroke of insanity came with the mandatory immigration papers. Because I arrived in Australia unmarried, it was assumed I had moved Downunder to IMPROVE my living standards. IMPROVE MY LIVING CONDITIONS? Are you kidding?
I N T E R I M S I L E N C E
Please excuse this interim silence. I had to collect myself from the hysteria that threatened to erupt while contemplating that improbable thought! Imagine moving from the world's super power to a somewhat backward (in the smaller towns) socialist country to “improve my circumstances”.
To be fair, Australia gets a lot of Asian, Indian and Indonesia immigrants, and in those cases, yes, most likely they would be moving to better conditions. Second point of fairness, when we lived in Perth, it was closest to living in the States since many U.S. service people are stationed in Fremantle, which is just south of there. Generally people in Western Australia “get” Americans and we met some absolutely delightful folks. That said, Perth is a big city and if your purpose is to get out of the line of fire, like here, you don't want to be in heavily populated areas.
In the ensuing four years, a stack of paperwork literally 2” thick had to be completed for the Australian government. Every 6 months I had to exit the country for 6 weeks at a time to not overstay the visa. That became VERY expensive for the two of us. I also had to prove that my personal funds were sufficient to show that I was an “asset” and would not be a burden on their welfare system.
Background checks were run on me both in Colorado and in Perth by their police departments to make sure I wasn't some bolting criminal. Oh yes, I had to pay for these too.
Next came medical checks. A complete physical was performed especially to make sure I wasn't carrying any transmissible diseases and most notably, ones of a sexual nature.
Essays of why I wanted to move to Australia had to be completed and submitted, along with birth certificate, social security number, personal history, and a ton of other data that clogs the memory banks.
Over the course of the 4 years “approval” time, four recommendations from Australian friends had to be submitted attesting to my good character.
This is what it's like when you play by the rules just for residency, never mind citizenship. That said, U.S. citizenship was one thing I would never, not ever, have relinquished. Four long years later, nearly to the day, approval to stay in Australia was granted. However, by that time, homesickness for America had reached astronomical, unbearable heights and Stan and I considered moving home. Thank you God. Thank you God. THANK YOU GOD and praise YOU! But it would be another year and a half before it came to pass.
During these 5-1/2 years, because I retained my U.S. citizenship, we paid dual income tax on the same money, which was very expensive. This made Stan extra happy since he had to do paperwork for this exercise every 6 months - one return for America and one for Australia. It was like enduring male PMS every 180 days that lasted two weeks at a crack.
BACK TO THE 1800's
Before moving to Australia for two decades I had run a small, very profitable business. Hired, fired, trained, interviewed prospective personnel, did the payroll, quarterly returns, etc. I was used to handling everything and anything, and making all decisions.
Imagine the surprise to find that Downunder many women are still viewed as having no minds except for creativeness in the sack, washing laundry and prepping food. Imagine dialing the clock back two centuries… Didn't the days of man's knuckle-dragging disappear in the 60's? Not there. Even Stan was shocked to see the disparity in treatment.
Without being a snot, I still expected to make decisions beyond what to wear that day. That was a mistake.
One day, Stan and I were shopping and I whipped out a $100 bill for the clerk and the change was given to Stan. He handed it over to me and we went about our business. This happened time and again, and not just by men. Women, too, thought the fairer sex, meant you were the stupider sex.
Just as now, Stan and I ran our own publishing business. When I answered the phone, the male Aussie caller would invariably ask for Stan. When screening a call and determining that all he wanted was our P.O. Box address, he still implied the only person capable of imparting that information was my spouse.
About the 10th time this occurred, the poor bugger at the other end of the line got a full ear-blast. His jaw is probably still dragging the ground, along with his knuckles.
CHAT ME BABY
Another example of basic country differences showed up in the grocery store. You know we Americans can talk the ear off a deaf person. We converse while waiting in line, we talk to strangers, heck, sometimes we even talk to ourselves. We're naturally a friendly lot.
While waiting in line at Coles (it's like Safeway here) I was bored spitless and attempted to engage in conversation with the woman behind me. At first try, she pretty much ignored me. On the second attempt, she looked at me like I had a third ear. Finally she gave in and you could see she thought it was pretty nice talking, but breaking the ice required a sledgehammer. Anyway, it made me smile, which remained glued on my face till reaching the checkout clerk. Clearly there was something off here.
I didn't know her from a bar of soap, but asked if she were OK. She mumbled something and continued chucking groceries into the bag. This woman couldn't have been more than 19. She was frail and her hair was bedraggled and dull. Frankly, she looked hammered with tiredness.
Again I ask if she were OK and she confirmed that she was just exhausted. OK, 19, healthy, why are you so tired? Despite her reticence to talk to a stranger, let alone a Yank, she said that once she finally got off work she had to go home and clean house. Then she had to make dinner for her boyfriend and his friend who also lived with them. She barely had time to study before dropping into bed and then having to get up just to do it all over again. When asked what they did all day she replied, “play video games”. I'm sure my mouth must have hung open a full 10 seconds before recovering from shock to ask her, “why do you put up with this?”
Then it was her turn to be shocked. Apparently it had never crossed her mind to think things could be different. She had been beaten down for so long, “down” seemed to be her only direction. We talked a little longer and by the time the groceries were sacked, you could see the wheels clicking around in her mind. Maybe life could be different...
Stan and I arrived home in 2000 on a scouting mission for a place to live. Restaurants were alive with conversation and with people laughing. Stan looked around in surprise. It'd been so long since he'd heard just normal conversation while dining out. In Australia it really wasn't the done thing. People got on with eating and little else.
IT'S ONLY POLITE...
Later when we passed through a mall door, a little old lady held it open for him. When we passed through, he turned and asked, “why'd she do that?”
Huh? “Do what?”
“Hold the door open for me.” He replied patiently.
“Because that's what we do here. It's just common courtesy.”
I can't tell you the number of times when walking through a door in Victoria and the person a hair's breath away let the door slam right in my face. It just wouldn't occur to them to do otherwise. What it does do is point out differences once again between Americans and “somewhere else.”
One way women feel at home in a new environment is through shopping. If we can just find a store we really like, it makes us acclimatize easier. However, shopping for clothes there was nearly impossible. I simply could not find jeans to fit. My body is curvy and long-legged, but most Australian women are either more straight-legged and they gain weight in their middles or they are Asian built with very short, lean legs. Either way I simply couldn't find Levis to fit and ended up importing them from Colorado. It was beyond frustrating and I didn't purchase more than two pieces of clothing the whole time in Australia.
OK, these are bearable grievances IF you have no alternative for where to live. One could suck it up and buck up if necessary. Trouble was, I didn't have to and it made the longing to go home all the stronger. I just didn't fit.
YOU'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
One November really dear friends gave up a surprise Thanksgiving feast. We were touched down to our toes and Carmel had even made a traditional pumpkin pie though Aussies normally eat pumpkin in soup. Their entire family had come to dinner from around the country - all 11 kids. One of their sons was an international banker in South America. Mike was refined and sophisticated; he had a quick wit and even quicker tongue.
Partway through dinner, Mike inquired whether we'd read an editorial the preceding week in The Age, Melbourne's lead newspaper. No we hadn't, should we have? Quietly he nodded, “Yes, this bloke wrote a piece about what's wrong with Americans.” He paused, then continued. “They're over sexed, over paid and over here - still.” Then Mike flashed an engaging grin, but we sensed his underlying animus. Living primarily in South America, he been exposed too long to ill feelings toward Americans and it was impossible for him to disguise his own dislike.
This sentiment dates back to WWII when many U.S. servicemen took their R&R in The Lucky Country. By all counts, American men had more $$ and their teeth were better. We had better diets, so our men were bigger, healthier and generally better looking. Those are Mike's word, not mine. Australian women fell all over themselves thinking if they put out, the servicemen would marry them and take them back to America. Instead it produced a rash of illegitimate babies, literally thousands of them and Americans were blamed for that, pretty much like we are for the rest of the world's problems. Somehow, it was always conveniently overlooked that if the Australian women hadn't been so easy, they wouldn't have ended up pregnant.
I looked over at Stan; he looked at me. You could have heard a leaf drop two miles away. For a moment, no one said a word. Then Carmel quipped, “Would somebody please pass the peas?” She must have been beyond mortified and we were embarrassed for her for Mike's brash manners.
A second clue came to light about the true feelings some Australians share when Stan took our truck to the mechanic. Every time we saw Joe, he was always singing and talking about going to America. His dream was to conquer L.A. and hit it big in the music industry. We got to be friendly to the point where Stan shared with him a bad experience of being hugely overcharged by a repairman. Joe started to say something and changed his mind. When Stan prompted him, Joe finally conveyed that it was the prevailing attitude that most Americans had money. If they had money, they had “screwed somebody to get it”. (Believe me, that is the 'cleaned up' version.) And if Americans had screwed people to get what they had, it made them fair game for the same. Hence the overcharging. It was just assumed about Americans and wrongly so. Through the years, Stan learned it was best to live in jeans and drive a beat up car or your wallet would take a waxing.
Wow! Was that attitude a shock! Stan had started an egg business at age 13 and I had worked every day since age 15. I worked year round and all through high school and university while carrying 19 hours a semester. No one “gave” us anything and both sets of our parents had instilled in the kids a strong work ethic. The Australian “tall poppy” attitude was disappointing.
WHEN THE WORLD COLLAPSES
So now you have a general picture of what it's like on the downside of living in a foreign country during good times, a country as much like America as you'll find with the possible exception of Canada. To be fair, it is much more difficult for women to adjust to living outside the U.S. than it is for men. Additionally the older people are when they move, the more difficult the transition.
We've had half a dozen acquaintances over the past few years move to Australia and New Zealand. They quit their job, sold out, and moved their entire family to a place they'd never been. Thinking to make the best of it, they dug in as had we.
When I say “dug in”, it took us two full years to make our 10-acre farmlet self-sufficient. It was truly a beautiful property with two wells, two ponds, fully fenced acreage, steers, good neighbors, stored food, a productive garden and everything was debt-free. However, those are just “things” and it can't replace family, your heritage and your ties.
Within two years, three tops, those people who had moved to Oceana packed it in and came home to America. Those were expensive lessons - all in a fit to “escape”.
ALL HELL CUTS LOOSE
What if you are abroad when the SHTF? How will you feel when all that you loved disappears? You will, in essence, be a country orphan. It is something neither Stan nor I could contemplate. We would rather go down with the ship so to speak, than to save our buns, but have your heart ripped out. When we finally decided to come home, it was after much prayer - 6 months in fact, of asking for direction.
Stan has shared this dream/vision in interviews before so I'll just reference the barest outline. He was shown this exact location, where we live now, looking southwest to the mountains as seen from our basement window. Three times on the map was spelled out B E U L A H, which is the small town we see from that perspective. When he lifted his head, an invisible hand pushed his face down again to look carefully at the map. It doesn't get much clearer than that.
In 2001 when we came home and for many years before that, Stan knew that America would be taken out of the picture. Then, more than a decade ago, I didn't have a firm grasp on that concept. Not really. All I could think about was coming home to Colorado. So even though Stan knew this will not end well for our Nation, he obeyed the Lord and moved us where he was shown.
So chances are when things go south globally, it will be perceived as America's fault if not in actuality. Right now you might be contemplating moving out of America or perhaps you've already done so. Maybe the Natives are friendly now, but how will they treat you if you are seen as the cause of their newfound misery? You may not be directly responsible, but you will be the bull's-eye of their hatred for deep inside you will always be American.
When America goes down, the world will too, and while the entire world grieves our destruction, poo rolls downhill and attaches to all in its path. Remember Revelation 18:9-20?
Where will people get the better-made goods and to whom will they sell all their stuff? Aren't we the great consumers?
A lot of people have posed the question, just exactly what or who in scripture is Babylon? What is Mystery Babylon? It's hard to believe that it could only be a literal place because while there are millions of Christians in this country, most would not have the financial means to pick up sticks and move across the world. What country would take in millions and millions of fleeing Americans?
Consider that it's no one thing, but a system, a religion, and a place. Entire treatises are devoted to this subject and Mystery Babylon is not the point of this message so please don't write me on this. This was a rhetorically-posed question only.
What is hoped by this author is for those thinking of moving abroad that you consider all ramifications rationally and carefully. Do not romanticize such a move. There is nothing romantic about it. It is difficult and expensive and one that will leave wounds in your heart you can't even imagine. Then pray about it. If the Lord shows you unquestionably to leave, then do so and He will take care of you.
I love our country, but not its government. It has become a corrupt and contemptible machine. While this Nation resembles little of what it used to be even 25 years ago, it is still the best place and I'm glad to be home.
Regardless, make your preparations as quickly as possible. So many, many people feel Stan and I included time is running out on nearly every front. Getting a new place ready and fully quipped, whether within the U.S. or abroad, takes time and considerable money. The dilemma is well summed up by the 70's punk rock band, The Clash in Should I Stay or Should I Go? "If I go there will be trouble, if I stay, it will be double." Whatever you decide, Godspeed.