Spoiler alert: I am not a Canadian.

I was born in Massachusetts, with only the faintest connection to Canada through my mother's grandfather, who moved from Nova Scotia as a young man, and a couple family recipes, like Blueberry Grunt, that I didn't even realize were originally Canadian until recently.

So, a lot of people were surprised when I decided to attend university at Mount Allison. But I'd fallen in love with the landscape, the culture and, let's be honest, the poutine. I take pride in my American roots, but there was a certain joy the first time fellow students mistook me for a Canadian. I'm not someone who likes to stand out from the crowd too much, so the knowledge that my Boston accent wasn't a dead giveaway was a relief.

Then, while in university, I also fell in love with a wonderful Canadian, who is now my husband. This presented a whole new struggle of being an American, but wanting to live in Canada. While a student visa had been fairly easy to acquire for university, the process of applying for permanent residency was a daunting task. An FBI background check, proof of our relationship, multiple copies of our marriage license, proof that my husband had means to support me in case I couldn't get a job right away... the list goes on and on! 

But after months of waiting, and a large amount of money spent on forms and fees, it arrived: my official permanent residence card. Of course, that wasn't the end of the forms and fees, because this meant I had to apply for my SIN, and my health card, and a Canadian driver's license, and ... okay, maybe that's it. But you get the point.

Long story short, now I'm a Canadian (permanent resident). I work for a Canadian company, I can take advantage of the Canadian healthcare system, and I even paid Canadian taxes this year! This was a huge milestone for me, and a huge success, but in the big picture, it's only halfway to the bigger goal: citizenship. It's been a big adventure, and it's not over yet. It's going to be somewhere between 3-5 years to get my citizenship (not to mention more forms, and more money), but stay tuned for the process, learning everything to pass the citizenship, and embracing all things Canadian :)

May 01, 2016 by Emily Pauley

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