Apr 3, 2019.
Just a date; well, not for me. This date will be etched in my memory for long time, may be forever. This is the day that marked the successful culmination of my journey to become Canadian citizen. I and my family were sworn oath of allegiance to the Queen and welcomed to the great Canadian family. As presiding judge Rodney Simmons said we started the ceremony as 99 nationals from 29 countries and after the ceremony left proudly as ’99 Canadians’.
I made the decision to move while I lived in Chandigarh, also known in India as The City Beautiful. It was ten years ago when I first applied for permanent residency filling out number of forms and attaching endless documents. I mailed the application package to the consulate office in Canada and started waiting anxiously for acknowledgement.
Few weeks later, I received a packet with stamp from the Canadian embassy. I opened it with excitement which proved to be quite short-lived when I realized that it was my application not the acknowledgement letter I was expecting. The application processing office had moved to another location and I was asked to mail at new address. It was the month of December 2009. I planned to send it in January thinking that being holiday season.
The plan to mail back application took longer than planned, I did not mail application package until November 2010. This time, an acknowledgement letter did arrive stating that application has been received and will take 33-36 months to process. I remembered a proverb from school time a stitch in time saves nine. The reason I remembered it was had I sent the application in January 2010 as originally planned, the processing time would have been around 12 months. The Canadian government had changed residency criteria for skilled workers in 2009 and there was sudden rush of applications in year 2010. Anyway, little grudgingly and somewhat cursing myself, I got on with my daily routine and waiting for the outcome.
After nearly two years, July 2012 if I remember correctly, I received a letter to undergo medical tests from a designated doctor and submit results which I did. In September 2013, I felt fortunate having received the approval of my application.
However, a bunch of emotions took over me, delight that I was successful; excited that I will be part of an amazing country; sad for what I would be leaving behind- family and friends, home, food and what not; and anxious that I will be in unknown place with unknown people with no home, no job and everything else. I was all confused and unsure what should I do.zAfter few days, I decided to make an informed decision (that was me being analyst :-)). I had time till June 2014 to arrive in Canada, so I started researching online mostly and asking around in my network. By December I made the decision to move and started preparing for it. Eventually, I landed at the Pearson airport in Toronto on Apr 11, 2014 along with my family that is my spouse and two daughters.
Here I am five years later, working in one of the prestigious organization not only in Canada but in world. I still miss my family and friends at times but most of the anxiety of being in unknown territory is gone thanks to the great community and amazing colleagues who have supported me all along. In these five years, I have come across some great people, learnt so many things about the country, culture, community and realized something that we all have read it, heard it, said it so many times but I never made the connection so strongly- we all are the same human beings under the skin. We all cherish beautiful memories, we all believe in building relationships, we all have fear and insecurities, we all have our whims and fancies still we all work towards leaving the world a better place.
We may be different in how do we look, how do we speak, what food we eat, what music we listen to but we are not very different in what we feel or the values we believe in- doing good and seeing good in others.
Proud to be part of this great land and grateful to the community who accepted us.
Thank you O Canada!!