After more than six uninterrupted months in Cape Breton, I feel more Canadian every day, so much so that we are applying in a few weeks for my permanent residency here. The attorney who is helping us is making sure this is done right the first time. By being efficient and timely, we are saving money and precious time. To begin with, I would have tried to file the wrong form, so there’s that.
There’s also the relief of having someone to ask “So, exactly what DO they mean by this question?” as well as someone to make sure the same questions receive the same answers throughout the process of filling them in over and over in many forms. She reassures us that it’s tedious but doable, a thorough, by-the-book process and we just need to pile up documents and letters. I’ve obtained a Nova Scotia ID card and filed for my FBI check and found proof of my divorces. At 72, the girl has mileage, but at least no rap sheet other than a few traffic violations. Fingers crossed, and boy, do I feel very fortunate to be able to make this application. I know just how lucky I am and my fingers are still crossed!
Here’s the funny bit. I never thought I’d be changing borders in my seniority or that I might want to hang on to the ancient history of my divorce decree from my first husband, God rest him. I was grateful the other husbands were alive and that they cheerfully provided proof we were no longer wed, since my copies are in Massachusetts. It’s a good thing as well that Canada is only asking me to go back ten years. How would I supply addresses for where I lived in my twenties? How many times did I move? And how many lousy jobs did I do so I could play music at night? Memory draws a merciful curtain.
One delightful task asked of us was to collect a variety of photos of us doing things with people we know. That was really fun, remembering the good times and writing captions. “Proving” our relationship to Canadian Immigration this way gives us a chance to look at the pieces of our relationship closely, to see the date on the wedding cake next to my bouquet on the table, to see our friend Jane’s living room full of people who love us and were there to wish us well. These are friends we already miss and vow to stay connected to no matter what. Another requirement was to list our friends and family who knew about us and supported the relationship and the attorney said our list was far too long for what Immigration needs to see. We are blessed with many friends on both sides of the border.
This very border is something my ancestors crossed unwillingly in 1755 before it even existed and was a line on a map they passed through many times after it separated two sovereign states. Most who stayed in America just walked across or took a train to work the mills of New England before 1930. They left behind family, land, and over three generations, their French language. It was just easier. With that went much of the culture they carried and I’ve hungered for that since childhood, returning over and over to Québec to find the missing pieces of who I am. Now I’m planted firmly in Acadia, where it seems my people began their association with North America in the early 1600s. Adventurous lot. Gratefully bolstered in the 21st century by central heating and a full larder, I embark on my own adventure.
Like the pandemic, this will be a year of waiting with a hopeful ending. We await a few final documents before filing the application and once it’s done, we sit tight for a year. Soon, I’ll be able to call one place home, to feel grounded, rooted here. I’m going to get a jump start on that this spring, when I’ll put my hands into northern earth and make some nice tall sunflowers grow.
Un Canadien errant revient.