Friday, May 29, 2009

With glowing heart

Warning: embarrassing sentimentality follows. But it's OK, the second part will return you unscathed to the usual level of silliness.
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Here's a journal entry that I wrote on a Pacific-bound train twelve years ago, somewhere amid the lakes and forests of Western Ontario.



Rick was my seat-mate, a Toronto lad who was travelling to Jasper. When he woke up I didn't so much "talk to him" as "propose to him". Yup, not even one third of the way across and I was already in love with Canada, and had taken my first stumbling step towards citizenship.

At 8:15 am today, barring any unexpected obstacles, I will take the final step. Swear the oath of allegiance, sing the anthem, and complete the journey.

Regular readers will know how much I love my adopted home town of Vancouver, despite its flaws; my first day here was enough to erase any thoughts of moving to Toronto. That love extends to the rest of BC and beyond; Toronto is hip and happening, Montreal is vibrant and beautiful, Nova Scotia is scenic and friendly, and there's so much more still to see. Canadians are great people (although many Vancouverites are way too reserved for their own good), and they've built a (mostly) decent, tolerant, multicultural society that I'm proud to be a part of, the current government notwithstanding.

I've always felt at home in this country, from the very first time I set foot in Toronto after a few weeks in the US and thought "cool! Red mail boxes". As much as I love my home nation, Canada just feels more... open, I guess. There's much less of a class structure, people don't judge you based on your accent the same way they do in the UK, and everything's just so new... it feels like the possibilities are endless. And there's so much space.

Today is a doubly proud day because I'm here in my own right. I earned my status through my education and work experience, not through marriage to a random Canadian I met on a train when I was 20, or even in a friend's house when I was 26.

I will remain a proud Brit. I'm lucky enough to be allowed to hold two citizenships; if I wasn't, I honestly don't know whether I'd have taken this final step. But since I am allowed, I applied for Canadian citizenship within three days of becoming eligible.

But I'll save my immigration stories for another time; today is about true patriot love.

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"No it's not! It's aboot dignity! It's aboot respect!"



(Sorry, couldn't resist)

On with the celebrations! There will be champagne! Possibly on the beach!

\O/

(or should that be \Ø/ ?)

24 comments:

  1. Yay! Congrats, Cath! I hope you enjoy your champagne and scenery.

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  2. Congrats, eh? Enjoy the champagne!

    Will not mess up your comments here with my 'why I came home' stories - though I think that had a lot to do with Southern Ontario specific aspects rather than Canada as a whole...

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  3. Yahoo! And champagne on the beach sounds like a fantastic way to celebrate. I will be thinking of you all day!

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  4. Congrats on attaining your citizenship!

    Having attended college in Buffalo, NY I can also admit a love for Toronto. They have one of the finest zoos and science museums around, and culturally, it's a very diverse and great place to visit. I miss being only a couple hours drive away from Toronto.

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  5. Congratulations ! Next step: run for office.

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  6. Having spent almost a decade living in Canada, I know why you find it such an appealing place. Congrats, but I hope they told you ahead of time that all new citizens have to wear a mullet for 6 months. It's all aboot hazing the new folks.

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  7. Congratuations, Cath! Congrats, Canada!

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  8. Aww, thanks all! Blog buddies rock!

    Jane, feel free to chime in on the immigration process threads, coming soon...

    Massimo, I'd love to, but would have to be an independent, none of the parties really do anything for me. And independents rarely win :(

    The champagne was lovely, the ocean was cold but OK once we were in. Photos etc. to come

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  9. Massimo, I'd love to, but would have to be an independent, none of the parties really do anything for me. And independents rarely win :( I have got three words for you: crossing the aisle :-)
    In your case, first you get yourself elected, ad then switch to independent.

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  10. Yay, 8:15 on a Saturday!Canadians have a strong work ethic too!
    Congratulations
    I once was greatly entertained by someone explaining how, as a political statement, they had given up their American citizenship and had to undergo a reverse process and swear dis-allegiance to the flag!

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  11. Massimo, is that your plan too?

    UHDD, wow, that sounds like quite the process!

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  12. Congrats Cath!

    You sound even happier than my husband when he got his 'residence title' for Germany two days ago :)

    Can I share my US immigration stories? (seriously though, nobody wants to hear that, promise!!).

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  13. Woho! Congrats!! I hope you have a grand time and enjoy singing the anthem!

    And I agree, Vancouver is a lovely place. Very lovely! Have fun at Kit's with Champagne :)

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  14. Yoohoo! Congratulations! It must be such a big day for you!

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  15. Wow, that's awesome! Congratulations!!!

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  16. Thanks Steffi! I'm sure the immigration threads I plan to post soon will inspire lots of sharing/ranting.

    Thanks Chall, it was fun!

    Stepwise, yep, long time in the making!

    MH, thanks!

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  17. Hey Cath, (insert irony here) welcome to my country! Brings back lots of memories from my kid days: family trips through among soaring peaks, lush forest, and the wild animals along the road. The smell of evergreens, and the perfect darkness and silence of night... I better get to bed now... Big congrats, and big hi to Mr. E.

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  18. LOUIE!!!! Great to hear from you. I hope you're enjoying my country as much as I'm enjoying yours! Any trips home any time soon?

    EGF, thank you! I'm still on a wee bit of a high!

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