Inspirational Immigrant Women – Meet Sonya

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-01

Today I’m sharing the next story in my series on Inspirational Immigrant Women – Life your Way.

We photographed Sonya a couple of weeks ago when the North Side of Perth had massive bush-fires.  The sky was turned into a smoky-orange even though it was daytime.  This made the sky look so surreal.

Meet lovely Sonya and read in her own words her story 🙂

Trying to work, trying to concentrate and focus on the task at hand BUT for some unknown reason my thoughts stay wondering to the day we made a life changing decision.  We were woken at 2am for one more time by our then 5 year old …  “daddy there’s someone at my window”.  You slowly got up, kept the house all dark and quiet not to disturb or make your presence known.  You wondered through the house checking every entry point including the trapdoor above your head, all seemed ok, yet you knew something was wrong.  The silence was broken by the neighbors screams, she had arrived home from working a late night shift and was being attacked.  You screamed to call the security company and the police, all this was already happening, my gut feel made me do it the minute you walked out the room.  You ran to help … help arrived, “they” ran in opposite directions so as not to be caught.  You came back in after making sure she was ok and the house all locked up, checked our house once more and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee.  Sleep was not going to be happening anymore, not now or in the months to follow.  You woke every morning at 2am and wondered the house, you thought I never knew BUT I DID.

We found more footprints in front of the bedroom windows, up went the electric fencing over and above the already 6 foot walls, automated gate, exterior cameras, Spanish bars, interior burglar bars, security doors, security company patrols and the list goes on.  We no longer lived in a home BUT in a family jail, we were now the victims of a society gone wrong, the victims of crime, the fenced in two legged displays of what life SHOULD NOT BE like.

 perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-02

As I sat in the garden weeding you once again asked the question “should we look at moving to Australia?”  You’d asked that question so many times before and each time I said “NO!!”  NO because I did not want to give up our life as we had it, NO because I did not want to sell my business, a business we started and grew into a lucrative business.  A dream I would now have to consider handing over to someone else. NO because I did not want to leave family and friends, NO because I did not like the idea of giving away so much of what we had collected over the years, NO because I did not want to take our children away from their friends, family and familiar surroundings, NO because we are survivors/fighters not quitters. NO for every excuse I could possibly think of NO NO NO!

Yet this day you asked again and as I looked up the first thing I noticed was this horrible cage I was now confined to, this huge big wall with electric fencing on it,  and out of nowhere “YES YES YES!!” came.  I chocked back the tears of all that lay ahead, this mountain was to be climbed and I did not know where or how.  We sat in church that night and for the first time ever we looked at each other and muttered at the same time “it’s been confirmed, it’s the right thing to do, we are going”

 perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-04

A week later we had our first appointment with Cornel, assessments had been done, monies paid over and I had a study full of paper work, lever arch files full of information and another mountain peak to conquer.  Time went by so quickly,  within days from the initial submission of the first documents we got the first “approval” then came the Police clearances, Medicals etc;  wow 6 months from the start to that SCREAM of happiness and tears of joy when I received that one phone call and heard Chris say “CONGRATULATIONS your permanent residence visas have just been granted”.  I cried, laughed,  wiped away the tears and had total strangers looking at me shed tears of happiness whilst overcome with extreme fear of the unknown ahead.

We sold the house and business booked our tickets and said our goodbyes.  We arrived in Perth 4 months later activating our visas and now facing every challenge that could possibly be thrown at us.  From searching for accommodation, enrolling the girls in schools, job searching, cars etc….this mountain just seemed to grow and grow.  WHY was it such an easy journey up until now?  Why now start throwing the curve balls at us?  Well, the decision was made to return to SA for a while and have Alicia complete her high school journey, only 18 months remained and then to return back to face the challenges with one less concern.  We arrived in SA and I hated every minute of it, we did not belong there any more, nothing felt right, nothing was the same, not the surroundings, not the bonds between family and friends NOTHING … it was just all wrong!!

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-05

The long 18 months ahead dragged by and then the day arrived … whooohoooo.  Alicia had left the January and been in AUS for 6 months alone at uni and settling down, partying and studying. We arrived the June again; from the moment those wheels left the runway I knew that was it,  goodbye SA, goodbye what was, goodbye, goodbye,  goodbye.  The memories will always be, the good times, the bad, the happy the sad.  They will always be a part of me, but our new life was waiting and I was not going to let the past be an obstacle in my future.

 perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-06

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-07

We have had our challenges here, some more daunting than others.  We have fought, screamed, been angry, ignored and just avoided each other and situations, BUT deep down we know this is and was the right thing to do.  We have peace, not always inner peace but we have peace.  We have the natural beauty surrounding us … the beauty of not having to look over your shoulder 24/7 … the beauty of not having to say no every time Ashleigh asks to go play at the park … the beauty of knowing Alicia is safe driving around after sunset and before for that matter … the beauty of knowing we have the courage, faith and everlasting guidance of our Heavenly Father who paved our way forward … the beauty of knowing we are never alone … the beauty of living a Blessed life, Blessed in every sense of the word.

 perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-08

We’ve been taught never to say “never” but this is one of those never situations I will and can say NEVER … NEVER ever again will I compromise my children’s safety, futures and happiness.  NEVER again will I allow the past to dictate the future.  NEVER will I wonder why us, the answer…. because you are my children and I am your Father.   Our journey has been one of FAITH a huge leap in FAITH and knowing the promise of not being taken where God himself will not go, being given a challenge that He knows we will conquer and that we are always under His guidance, protection and never ending love.

 perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-09

Australia is now our home, our future and our land.

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are young and free

We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,

Our home is girt by sea:

Our land abounds in nature’s gifts

Of beauty rich and rare,

In history’s page let every stage

Advance Australia fair,

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,

We’ll toil with hearts and hands,

To make this Commonwealth of ours

Renowned of all the lands,

For those who’ve come across the seas

We’ve boundless plains to share,

With courage let us all combine

To advance Australia fair

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-10

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-11

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-12

Looking back  I realize how much I have to be grateful for.  I have my family with me.  Yes we get on each other’s nerves and have our tiffs, but we are together.  We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, warm beds and receive good Word.  Yet there are days I feel so empty, so lonely, helpless and  inadequate.  Why?  I don’t know, maybe I’m being groomed for “bigger things” to come.

We have had to deal with losing family members, close friends and family of friends, it has been tough and very trying but yet I often forget I have no control  over death or circumstances, I don’t know what tomorrow holds and that I need to live today as if it were my last, to the fullest,  filled with joy, love, appreciation, compassion and under God’s Grace.

We’ve been tried and tested in more areas than I care to remember or share, but we have never been alone, although we might have thought so;  no, we have been protected, shielded, guided and lead.

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-14

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-15

Watching the wind blow the trees in front of the window and how the leaves drop, once again  it reminds me of just how wonderful creation is.  This tree is being blown around just as we are tried and tested but yet it stays standing.  It loses its leaves and does not drop its branches in shame, NO it stands tall and patiently awaits the growth of its new leaves, new life a fresh approach to the new season.

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-16

Is my life not the same, yet when I’m pruned or lose my focus, I drop my head and ask “why, what now again, how much longer” instead I should be saying “thank you Lord I know You have better in store for me”  How often has God not called me and said “good morning Sonya, it’s your Father may I have your attention?” and I missed that call.

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-17

Well this bent and buckled tree is going to lift her branches, straighten out her trunk, dig her roots in deeper and receive those new leaves with pride and  joy, and  give thanks for each and every one of them (blessings).

Thank You Jesus, Thank you for Blessing my family and I with a home, a new country filled with opportunity, new adventures, our freedom we so yearned for. You have provided my children’s safety and Your endless love, mercy and Grace.  Thank you.

Thank you Australia for adopting us.

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-18

A special THANK YOU to Natasha and Deon.

Thank you so much for the absolutely amazing experience, thank you for the laughs, the patience, the nurturing and most of all the opportunity to spend valuable time with the both of you. The afternoon will never be forgotten and will always be a special memory treasured. Your professionalism shines through your bubbly, friendly personalities, the love you have for your camera and the exceptional quality of photographs produced is evident every step of the way. Wishing you both all the success that could possibly be showered over you, may you be blessed in abundance as the experience you offer blesses those who participate in it. Thank you Cornel for the time spent with you while having my hair done, it was relaxing and mesmerizing watching you at work. Thank you Kerry for doing my make up at short notice, it sure was a whirlwind experience, one that still brings on a giggle.   Much love Sonya

perth-portrait-wedding-photographer-natashadupreez-photography-19

A special thanks to Cornel Labuschagne from Jami Hairdressing for sponsoring the hair for all the shoots on this Inspirational series.

Click on the names to read more of these inspirational stories:

1.  Natasha

2.  Anke

3.  Desiree

DO YOU ALSO WANT TO BE PART OF THIS SERIES … do you have a story to share?  Click HERE to see what it’s all about and also send an email to natashaphoto@bigpond.com and I will forward all the relevant info to you 🙂

Take care,

Natasha xxx