Varun and I are giddy with excitement: today we became permanent residents of Canada! As you’re probably getting tired of hearing, we’ve been seeking a common citizenship since we got married. After jumping through a few hoops, I became a permanent resident of India about a year ago. But if we want to stay in Canada, we needed to have Canadian PR. We began the process…well…a long time ago. We spent a year consulting lawyers, gathering documents, getting myriad passport photos taken and ordering far too many certified cheques. Finally, two weeks ago we got the email summoning us to Buffalo.
Wanting to beat the crowds, we got up at 5 a.m., packed all of our paperwork, passports, my camera and of course, breakfast.
As the sun rose we listened to Katniss and Peeta as they began their journey to the Capitol (The Hunger Games, which we’ll talk about later). Our pleasant trip took a turn for the stressful as we realized we had gotten directions to…well…nowhere. We frantically called my Mom and, at $1/minute, coached her through Mapquest. Thankfully, she was more than helpful.
The best part of the day for me was when the guard at the Canadian Consulate asked us, “Who needs a visa?” and I replied, “We both do”. For the first time, we are applying for something together, getting a status that will give us a common citizenship: a place we can both call home. (Sigh of Relief)
Unfortunately, we have no photographs of the Consulate as they are very picky. They made us turn in our cell phones and watched us while we turned them off (“Not to silent, vibrate or anything else. Off!”). We handed in our passports and began to wait. We people watched. We watched the news. We fell asleep. I ate goldfish and Varun told me he didn’t want my “cheesy animals”. We noticed that nearly everyone had been called but us. We played Monopoly Deal. I won by a landslide. They called us up and gave us our papers, advising us to drive to the Canadian border and “land”.
At the border, we were bouncing with excitement. We noticed the Queen’s picture on the wall and tried to guess who the guy was next to her. (Varun: Maybe it’s her husband? Border Guard: It’s the Governor General. Me: OH. Well who’s that and what’s he do?)(We’re lucky they didn’t revoke our PR right there). As he processed our paperwork we were like two kids in a candy shop, leaning over the counter, asking questions and giggling. Finally, the guard asked us a bunch of questions, got us to sign our papers and smiled at us, “Congratulations, you’re permanent residents of Canada”.
Back in the car, Varun and I gushed about how this would change things, how hard we had worked to get it and how relieved we felt. Then we got down to business and back to Katniss and Peeta. As we drove into Hamilton and saw the smoke stacks dotting the skyline, I couldn’t help but think about how glad I am that Canada is our home.