Exactly four years ago, I got up very early. Feng and I got in the car still half asleep. It was a big day for me: I was crossing the border to the U.S.A only to come back to Canada a few minutes later, to validate my permanent resident visa and to become a landed immigrant.
Browsing: Life As An Immigrant
I know that I’m still a little bit French, but as time went by, I also adapted to my new home.
Like many in Canada, I embrace the North American way of life while keeping some of my culture. Cultural integration, not assimilation.
I don’t think I’m your typical French. Yet, my citizenship sometimes catches up with me.
I don’t mind it. I like to call myself a “word citizen” but this is the country where I was born, where I grew up and where I was educated.
This got me thinking. I was born in France, of French parents, so I am French. No-brainer here. But because I left the country right after graduating from high school, little by little, I lost my French identity. Obviously, I adapted to Canada — this was bound to happen. But I also lost it in a very practical way.
I have never been lucky with bureaucracy in France. But moving to Canada had turned my luck around… until I decided to take some classes at university.
I’m more a behind the scenes kind of person: I love writing, drawing and taking pictures. But strangely enough, I didn’t hesitate to do the documentary.
Your first year in Canada will most likely be one of the most interesting year in your life. You made it, after all! Yet, adapting to a new culture and to a new country takes patience and time. Here are my tips to survive your first year in Canada.
I’m applying for Canadian citizenship. Finally. I meet all the requirements: I have been in Canada for a minimum of two years and I lived there for at least 1,095 days for the last three years. I haven’t been charged or convicted of anything. I speak French and English. I’m that close to be Canadian… minus the one-year citizenship application’s processing time.
Feels like checking out Canada before immigrating? Or just want to have a work experience abroad? Let’s have a look at how you can work temporarily in Canada. And luckily, you have a few options.
Some days, I feel like I have been there forever. I left France when I was 18 and barely looked back. Going back was never really an option: call it innocence, naivety or pride, I wanted to see the world and to adopt a new country. I have been there forever.
At first, just thinking that I was alone in this big continent would make my head spin. Freedom was almost intoxicating. I could be whatever I wanted, do whatever I wanted. It came with its counterparts though, fear and angst. It’s not like I had a safety net. Adapting to a new culture can be tough too.
Bono is wrong. It so doesn’t take a second to say goodbye. It takes ages, it’s painful, it’s a difficult exercise that makes me feel like a coward every single time. Am I still running away? It seems like I left a little piece of my heart in every single place I have ever been to. It seems like I made an art of abandoning people. None of that is probably true but just thinking of it just makes me sob harder.
Granted, these pictures mostly depict Chinatown… well, we all have our favorite neighborhood, right? But the country is truly diverse: traditional Chinatowns and Little Italy area can be found close by Ukrainian, Russian, South-East Asian, Latino and Indian neighborhoods, and I bet you could find a community newspaper in almost every language on earth in Canada.
Obvious Canada #1 icon: the weather. When you think of Canada, you have the mental picture of a frozen tundra. Can’t blame you, because it’s pretty accurate! Weather changes are often drastic and we can go from +40C in the summer to –40C in the winter.
I would have relaxed myself (translation: drink Diet Coke while smoking cigarettes and read forums), but as the new year is about to begin, I wanted to end 2007 on a positive note. So here are the top ten reasons I love Canada.
So, we (want) need immigrants. Preferably (young) not to old, (who won’t need any social help) educated, and (white) who will blend in easily. Oh, and (no terrorists) (preferably Catholic ) — no really, we don’t mind.
How did I get into this conversation, already ? Oh yeah, I’m on the #151 going downtown, and I took the last free sit, by a middle aged woman who was obviously bored and started up the conversation as soon as she saw me pulling a French book out of my bag. The conversation wasn’t about literature though.
Leaving France was not an obligation but just an option. A very tempting one, mind you. The world might be watching us eat, smoke and have sex with a disdainful smile, yet it casts envious eyes. But we know the other side of the story : no jobs, almost impossible to rent a place to live, a country stuck in the days of its glory.
Standing in front of a busy LCBO meant attracting all kind of weirdos. I was known as the “flower girl” and people would stop by and talk to me about their life, their kids, their problems. Without buying flowers, of course. People would first speak to me in all kind of foreign languages : Russian, Lebanese, Italian, Spanish, Greek… I guess I did look like an immigrant !
English wasn’t popular. French don’t like English much (“they put vinegar on chips and eat meat with mint sauce !”), and the relationship with the USA has always been a bit rocky (“these warmongers/ burgers-eaters !”), so there were basically no incentive to learn.
Seb, a fellow blogger, just sent me these question to answer… just keep in mind…
I used to carry my whole life in a bag. Light burden, easy to tidy…