Inspirational Women 2017 – Cecile Brody (S-W-M)
In my eyes Cecile’s decision to leave behind a successful career, pack her bags and trek across the globe with her son to start a whole new life is admirable. So many of us, find it challenging to change jobs within our very own city. In the time that I’ve known Cecile and her family I’ve known her to be so strong, no matter the challenge before she chooses to see the positive side to every situation. She’s taught me what unconditional love is, and how to always strive for more. As a Single-Working-Mom (SWM) I admire what you have achieved for yourself and Zack and the courage to pack your bags and start afresh in an unknown world.
I have been lucky enough to meet wonderful people throughout my career and great mentors. Through my vast networking opportunities back in South Africa I was able to build relationships that have lasted with some influential people. Whilst working for Sun International at Sun City, I networked with international Food & Beverage experts and one such relationship has transpired into changing my life into what it is today.
Zack(my son) and I had a reasonably good life in South Africa and all our beautiful friends and family surrounding us. It took a deep consideration of the offer and if we would make use of the opportunity to relocate to Australia and start our lives over again. The reasons for us coming to the conclusion to relocate was mostly because of my son. His future opportunities, his education, his social environment, his emotional growth to really one day do what he loves, in whichever career he decides to eventually pursue. Australia has proven to be vastly different, compared to working and living back in South Africa.
After we decided that we would be relocating I had to let go of everything I have gathered over the years, books, furniture and other little bits and bobs that carried sentimental value to me. These are the things I don’t miss because when you don’t have them around you anymore, you don’t hold on to the sentimental value. Instead, you begin to focus on what each day brings. It takes determination and ultimately a base decision to start again. This is where the continuous positive mindset starts. The Decision.
It took us over 10 months stretching our last Rands in South Africa to relocate. The hardest part for me was starting again in Australia. We arrived with 2 suitcases and we brought nothing but our most expensive leather jackets and a week’s worth of clothing to get through. The most challenging part of this decision to move was leaving Zack’s dad behind. My son would not be exposed to his dad as much as he would have been back in South Africa. Jean(my ex-husband) has been really supportive and seeing the bigger picture he granted Zack the opportunity to grow and adapt in another country, understanding lay ahead of my son and I. We were fortunate to have Jean visit us recently for 3 months. Australian visitors visa allows SA passport holder 3 months stay before they have to leave.
Arriving in Sydney we began to get to know Australia a little. Its values, diverse culture, the comfortability and accessibility of public transport, the wonderful food offered by a variety of restaurants. Sydney is the most walkable city I have ever been to, yet.
Our new life
It was then time to move, and we travelled to the Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. We spent a week living on the 21st floor of a hotel close to where my training took place. Here I was prepared for my new role as the General Manager of a really cool brand called Betty’s Burgers. When my training was complete I was relocated to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
We were astounded by the beauty of the river sides, beaches, forests, birdlife, animal life and just the general laid back nature of the people in Noosa. We arrived with nothing. No bed. No pots or pans …nothing. I first bought a scooter to get us by and then progressed into buying a car. We rented a little granny flat from a Zimbabwean couple for a couple of months, until I was able to afford to rent an apartment in Sunshine Beach which is where you can hear the waves crash and smell the sea breeze from the balcony. We loved living in Noosa. Betty’s Burgers in Noosa is the flagship restaurant and start of our Australian adventure. I had to change and adapt my general flow of working comfortably in an office to being on my feet working with a variety of ages of staff in a high pressured environment, having a passion for selling the most delicious burgers in town. People queue up for probably 30m to get into the restaurant to get their fix of Betty’s Burgers. What a delight. The first weeks I spent 50 – 60 hours in the restaurant on my feet working really hard. It was tough, but we got through it. This lasted for 6 months in Noosa and it’s a time we will treasure forever.
I had to change and adapt my general flow of working comfortably in an office to now being on my feet all the time. I learnt to work with a staff from different backgrounds and ages in a high pressured environment. I began to grow my passion for selling the most delicious burgers in town. People queue up for probably 30m to get into the restaurant, just to get their fix of one of Betty’s Burgers. What a delight! The first few weeks I spent 50 – 60 hours in the restaurant, on my feet working really hard. It was tough, but we got through it. This chapter lasted for 6 months in Noosa and it’s a time we will treasure forever.It was time for yet another relocation. This time we would be calling Brisbane home a city known as “The Big Smoke”, especially if you come from the Sunny Coast.
Our arrival back in a City was refreshing. The “busy-ness”, the hustle and bustle, the restaurants, night clubs, social circles and heaps of people. Everyone seems to have children here. I see so many couples walking with a double pram, and in some instances, the mom is pregnant again. Family life here is big. People go out with their children and enjoy life together. Marriage is huge a big deal here. Divorce rates are low and everyone has the ability to earn a living. There are public swimming pools and parks, all within close proximity of where you live. You can take a bus, a train or a ferry. Getting to a destination is super easy.
What is challenging at times for me is making new friends whilst working really hard. Zack managed to adapt quickly at school both in Sunshine Beach and here in Brisbane. He has managed to make friends easily. For me, friends are few and they remind me of home. Some relocate, some are busy and in relationships and they don’t have too much free time. While other have jobs and we can’t find a day off that works for us, but somehow we make an effort and find time to get together.
Remaining positive is the key factor. Staying strong is inevitable. Throughout this process, you have to keep reminding yourself that you live in a new country. You remind yourself that you have the ability to explore, this is the basis of a positive mindset. It truly is a mindset. There are challenging days, I won’t lie. However, the end goal is the aim, that’s where my focus is. We live well here, food is affordable at Coles, IGA or Aldi. You do things yourself here.
You pack your own groceries.
You wash your own car.
You push your own shopping trollies.
You clean your own home.
You do your washing and ironing.
You walk to bus stops and train stations.
You fill your own car’s fuel tank and complete the payment process yourself. Honesty systems here is big, you do it all yourself.
Being a single mom is challenging. Starting a new life alone with no support has its pressures. I’ve had to teach my son to fend for himself more. He has had to learn to make his own dinner, pack his own lunches and get his school clothes ready by himself. He is truly growing into an independent strong creature with a positive mindset.
If you choose something or a new journey, it only takes you where you want it to go. It is tough, but it is not impossible.
Strive for what you want to achieve. Work hard for it and live the life that you have chosen. Presently life for us consists of work, school and building a new foundation. I firmly believe it will all pay off at the end.
“ONE IS NOT BORN A WOMAN, ONE BECOMES ONE.” – Simone de Beauvoir
Our goal is to live here in Brisbane. We love this city with being able to travel around a little in the next couple of years. Zack needs stability at his school and this is important. His school allows him to study Aviation from a young age and the world is his oyster.
We love this city and the access it gives us to travel more in the next couple of years. Zack needs stability at his school and us settling here is important. His school allows him to study Aviation from a young age, a dream of his for the longest time. So, the world is his oyster.
Life brings us heaps of gifts. We need to learn to plant those seeds and let them grow into trees to give us the fruits to enjoy.
This post is shared in Cecile Brody’s own words.
Find her in the social world via Instagram.