Six years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to do something that would impact everything—our homes, our careers, our friendships, and our own relationship. We began the process of emigrating from the United States to Canada.
Was this a necessary move? Some people need to flee their homeland because of war, violence, and other dangers. Some have to move for jobs or foreign spouses. We moved because we wanted to live somewhere else. I’ll get into our reasons later.
Living in Canada, I don’t see a lot of stories written about the immigrants from the United States. Are our stories not as compelling as those from people needing to escape more oppressive environs? Do we blend so well that we’re forgotten? Or is there some underlying resentment of Americans crossing the border to take Canadian jobs and pollute Canadian culture? Or am I not reading the right publications?
I’ve been in Canada for four years. Some of my American friends call me Canadian, but I’m not yet a citizen. To my Canadian friends, I am still just an American. My boyfriend is now officially an American-Canadian. I am a permanent resident, a landed immigrant. But am I Canadian?
In this new writing project, I’m going to tackle my immigration experience and all the issues, anxieties, and social awkwardness that it entails. Through these essays, I hope to clear up common misconceptions and assumptions people on both sides of the border make, work through my own concerns and pet peeves, and maybe provide a voice for an underrepresented group. I’ll tackle language, money, health care, and assimilation. It may turn out to be a big, sloppy love letter to Canada. Hopefully this has a happy ending, with me reaching the final step of immigration and obtaining my own dual citizenship.
1. The Decision
2. The Big Move
3. Starting Over
4. Canadia and the States
5. Canadian as she is spoken
6. Finding a new breakfast cereal
7. Adventures in border crossing
8. The Loonie and the Greenback
9. Creativity, culture and content
10. Test the Nation
11. The Next Phase
12. Let’s get that mole checked!
13. Expatriate, Deserter or Draft Dodger
15. Leaving the toque at home
16. Friendship in the city
17. The pursuit of dual citizenship
18. The Final Step