24 October 2010

Moose Jaw Minute #11: Permanent Residency!

Dave and I are happy to announce that through our blood (paper cuts), sweat (packing a U-Haul is hard work!), and tears (leaving friends and being together), I have achieved that ever-coveted status of "Permanent Resident."  That's right, I, Heather, have made a commitment to a place.  That place is Canada, and, judging from the paperwork and the shiny new seal in my passport, they are happy to have me.  Hey, thanks Canada!  I'm happy to be here!

We received the news in the mail this week, the self-addressed pre-paid Canada Post mailer resting comfortably in the mailbox on Wednesday, 20 October.  I picked it up after a run through Wakamow Valley, my face still red from the wind that whipped around me that day.  I got inside, tore open the envelope and there it was...my passport (I should note that Dave and I had sent my passport off in another Canada Post mailer about two weeks prior at the request of immigration officials).  You have no idea how glad I was to see my passport again...that dark blue little leaflet containing bits and pieces of my travel history.  My stamps from previous trips to Canada, Australia, Mexico, Ireland, and the Czech Republic all there, intact.  Little reminders of my journeyed past.  All of these little lines, images, and dates were now joined by another passenger, the multi-colored Visa from Canada that indicates my status as a permanent resident of this country.

It's a big deal.

This now means I can work and go to school in country if I so choose.  It means I can get in a different line when re-entering Canada as I go through Customs.  It means I have chosen...ahem...permanence somewhere. 

Like I said, it's a big deal.

The only thing left to do is cross the border in November when we return to New Jersey for our U.S. Thanksgiving holiday with my parents and then chat with customs agents on our way back to get the last signatures and sign-offs.  Amazingly enough, it seems as though my ability to gain permanent resident status in Canada is shorter than the time it is taking for me to obtain a cell phone or driver's license here.  Go figure. 

I had a lot of help along the journey to becoming a permanent resident and it couldn't have happened without the support of a few folks that I need to say thanks to.  Among them:
  • Dave, thanks for agreeing to sponsor me as your wife.  If you hadn't, things might have been a bit awkward between us as we started our marriage together.  Your patience as we made phone calls to immigration, filled out paperwork, and stood in line at the FedEx as we prepared to mail off our application package has been phenomenal.  Thanks for being my rock through all of this.  I appreciate you and everything you do.
  • Melissa and Phill (friends of ours who went through the same process about a year earlier).  You have been tremendously supportive in terms of sharing your experience with us.  You have served as guides and sounding boards and I know I will forever be grateful.  The two of you rock!
  • My family for just being there when I was stressed and not knowing what would happen next.  Thanks for listening and loving me and cheering me on when things got tough.
  • My friends here in Moose Jaw and back in Chicago.  Thanks for caring and asking about how things were going as Dave and I worked through the process.  You cared enough to ask and some days, that meant everything to me.
The next step means staying in country for the next three years and then applying for citizenship.  I hear there is a test that involves knowing your hockey stars, the words to the Canadian National Anthem, and how to not hit prairie dogs with your car.  I think I'd better start studying now.

Cheers, and, again...thanks Canada for having me.  I'm having a heck of a time.

Image courtesy of http://www.swanparadise.com/Immigration-to-Canada.html


trixyone said...

ack! permanence?!?! =) just kidding. i'm so happy for you heather! forgive my ignorance on the matter - did you have to give up your US passport for Canadian residency?

travelwoman said...

I did not have to give up my passport for Canadian residency, they just needed it in order to affix the Visa. I am, and will continue to be, a U.S. Citizen. After about three years, I can apply to become a Canadian citizen if I choose to do so!