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I made It

My Magic Letter

My Magic Letter

When I saw the brown enve­lope, my heart just stopped for a few sec­onds. Could it be..?

I knew this enve­lope, with the lit­tle Cana­dian flag on it: it had brought me good news and bad news over the last five years. I was usu­ally in a hurry to ripe it open, to read the let­ter inside. But this time, I paused. I didn’t know what to think of it.

Even­tu­ally, I teared the side of the envelop and pulled the let­ter out. Two pages, neatly folded.

Notice to Appear to Take the Oath of Cit­i­zen­ship

I closed my eyes for a sec­ond. I made it.

I opened my eyes again and looked at the date: July 3rd, 11:30 am. I will be Cana­dian next week, just two days after Canada Day! I didn’t say a word for a minute, pro­cess­ing the information.

I hadn’t expected my cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony to be that soon. I took the cit­i­zen­ship test barely two weeks ago and we had been told that it would take from one to six months to take the oath, pro­vided we passed the test and meet the require­ments. I still can’t believe it.

This will be the end of my immi­grant sta­tus, and the begin­ning of my life as a Cana­dian cit­i­zen. This is very sym­bolic for me. I arrived in Canada by chance. It took me some time to learn to like this place, and the few cou­ple of years weren’t easy. But lit­tle by lit­tle, all the jig­saw pieces fell together.

I have been a vis­i­tor, a tem­po­rary worker and a per­ma­nent res­i­dent. I applied for count­less visa exten­sions, a work­ing hol­i­day visa, the landed immi­grant sta­tus and finally, cit­i­zen­ship. I went through three SIN cards and two health cards. I spent hours fill­ing up paper­works and even more hours wait­ing for deci­sions to be made.

I remem­ber how shocked I was the day I learned I had been granted per­ma­nent res­i­dence. Like for the cit­i­zen­ship, I hadn’t expected it so soon. At the time, my tem­po­rary visa was going to expired and I was pre­pared to go back to France and stay there for at least six months, accord­ing to my esti­ma­tion of the visa pro­cess­ing timea. I had felt so lucky back then. Sud­denly, I had stepped into a world of opportunity.

I feel the same today.

The day I offi­cially became a landed immi­grant, the offi­cer informed me I could apply for cit­i­zen­ship by 2008. It had seem so far away at the time… I was happy enough I could live and work in Canada for as long as I wanted. Know­ing I could apply for cit­i­zen­ship in the dis­tant future was the cherry on the cake, but I was to busy eat­ing the afore­men­tioned cake to pay attention.

But about a year ago, I started to long for my Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship. After all, my life was here now and I needed to com­plete this last immi­gra­tion step to receive the offi­cial acknowl­edg­ment. I was sur­prised myself: it meant more to me than I thought it would. But after all, I left France seven years ago now and even though I will always, to a cer­tain extend, be French, I also became more Cana­dian. Receiv­ing Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship is an honor for me and sym­bol­izes the last step of the immi­gra­tion chap­ter of my life. It also mean I’m home some­where, in this big world.

And I was think­ing of the prac­ti­cal side of hav­ing Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship as well. In Ottawa, the biggest employer is the fed­eral gov­ern­ment: how­ever, it is noto­ri­ously almost impos­si­ble to land a posi­tion if you are not a Cana­dian cit­i­zen. I missed vot­ing as well: after all, I was part of this coun­try and I wanted to be able to par­tic­i­pate in the demo­c­ra­tic process. Finally, trav­el­ing to or through the U.S became harder and harder in the last few years, even with a French pass­port: pay­ing a fee, hav­ing fin­ger­prints and pic­tures taken, and now hav­ing to apply for an elec­tronic travel autho­riza­tion… it didn’t make vis­it­ing our South­ern neigh­bors easy.

So I applied for cit­i­zen­ship as soon as I met the require­ment, in August of 2008. I knew the process was going to be long, a year min­i­mum. And here I am, exactly eleven months later, try­ing to mem­o­rize the oath.

I can’t help feel­ing a lit­tle bit proud of myself. I wanted a new life in a new coun­try and here I am, 26 years old, a cit­i­zen of Canada next week.

I just hope I don’t cry dur­ing the ceremony.

35 comments

  1. This is won­der­ful news!!!! Congratulations :)

  2. @Aiglee — THank you Aiglee! I’m sure you will be a cit­i­zen too, pretty soon. How long have you been there already?

    @Tanya — I’m indeed a lit­tle bit proud ;-)

    @Seb — Thank you!

  3. Your blog is a breath of fresh air. I’m going to Canada soon on a PR and i’ll love to be a Cana­dian some day just like you. I need advise on how to live in Canada suc­cess­fully as an Immi­grant. I like you. Jerry.

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