How odd is it that today of all days...today January 20,2009. I actually find the time to start this blog on the immigration experience. Here I am up in Canada watching my new president get sworn into office and for the first time in a long time I can say, "I am proud to be an American citizen". Today was the first day since 911 that I felt hope for our country and a sense of peace over our country. While here I sit in a whole other country having this experience. And it makes my immigration experience even more so bittersweet.
Immigration to Canada...no big deal right...think again! We have been here now for 3 1/2 months and there have more twists and turns on this roller coaster ride of a journey than I could even tell you about. As Americans I am not sure how much consideration we give to Canada and the culture of this very large country, second largest in the world to be exact. They have a very rich culture and for as many similarities as they have to the U.S. they also have differences. I did not think that moving up with "our neighbors to the north" would be as big of a change as it has been. This truly is a very different country than my America and I must admit that as of right now I am impressed by Canada and I am especially impressed by these Canadians. They are so different from Americans it is shocking and often times my husband and I do not know what to make of it. We have experienced nothing but kindness, helpfulness and occasional curiosity as well as sympathy for the state of our country and many congratulations when President Obama was elected.
We are legal immigrants (which is a very tedious process, not for the weak of spirit). We are strangers in a strange land. There are only a handful of familiarities and each time we stumble upon one we are so excited. The oddest part about our experience so far is that some of the reasons we moved here are turning out to be some our most challenging aspects of living here. We were disgusted by the waste of Americans, we have moved to the greenest province in Canada and find their waste laws and regulations a chore at times, I am embarrassed to say. We wanted 4 seasons, and yet we find that the winter is not so great after all... more of a hassle really. We wanted to get away from the consumerism of America and yet it is very hard for us that our closest store is a little country store and there is not a single Starbucks on this province. We wanted a larger home and I must admit...it is just more work! But despite all of these challenges we are learning so much from the Canadian people: They live life with so much less stress than we do. They do not fuss over the small stuff. They laugh more. They seem to love thy neighbor more and thy Earth. They have a way of calming you with their calm demeanor, because they just don't make a big deal out of the small stuff. They are polite and generous beyond belief. And I hope to be able to adapt these ways into my life, I pray to be able to. I feel blessed to have this experience and no matter how long it last I know that My husband and I will come out of this having changed for the better. And I feel confident that our children will benefit and appreciate this effort we have made in exposing them to a different life.
Will we stay here forever? Honestly, I do not know. Does any one really know what lies ahead? The uncertainty of life is part of the adventure. That statement was so out of character for me "the planner" so I guess I am already changing for the better.
I want to add on this day that our family is still American, we are citizens of one of the greatest nations ever and the affection we have for the country of our birth will never fade nor will our hope for the future of our country. If we do ever move back to The U.S.A. we plan to do so as better people so that we can better serve. Sometimes you have to step back a bit to see the clarity in things.
-May God Bless President Obama and watch over him and his family and may the Lord lay a hand upon him each day in every decision he makes.