Oh my goodness. It’s official. I can hardly believe it is true. I am Canadian! Here’s the story:
Yesterday morning Dustin and I got out of bed at the crazy hour of 5:00am to drive to downtown Seattle. We arrived at the Consulate around 9:00am, took a number (priority numbers for people like us!), and were promptly called up (around 9:15am) and spoke with a person behind a glass wall. She said to have a seat, they would call us by name shortly. We waited. and waited. and waited. And at about 11:00 I went up to the window and said, um… are we still waiting for a reason? She jumped up, apologized profusely, and said hold on. Apparently the woman who was supposed to call us looked at our file, thought we didn’t need anything else, and forgot to tell us to come back at 2:30 to pick up the visa. (that’s what the instructions said- come in the morning, announce yourselves, then come back in the afternoon to collect your visa). So after much apologizing on her part (dead give away- she was Canadian for sure) we headed out to the streets of Seattle to kill a few hours.
We were starving and I was entering that “give me food or I’ll rip your face off” kind of mood. Bless Dustin’s little heart for tolerating it and tempting his own life by thinking it was a good time to surprise me and do some adventuring. He knows Seattle much better than I do, and we were in the heart of downtown, why not enjoy it? So he dragged me to the Monorail, we rode to Seattle Centre (a land of fun and more fun) and then sussed out a place to eat. (me= starving) Where to eat in the middle of an amusement park? Well Dustin already had an idea, so he said- you go that way, i’ll go this way, we’ll meet back here in a few minutes. I went my way and found only arcade and amusement rides. I came back and he was waiting with a lovely grin on his face. He said, do you want to go up to eat? UP? I look up. The Seattle Space Needle. 500ft tall, built in 1962 for the world fair, and with a rotating restaurant at the top (minimum food order $30 per person!). Hell yeah! So we head up and dine like royalty with the hundreds of other people. The view was awesome. The food was absolutely incredble. We had something to celebrate! My theory was the rotating aided in digestion. After lunch we walked around the Centre, over to the water park and laughed and watched the bunches of kids dodging the big sprays of water, played some games at the arcade (note: Dori genuinely sucks at air hockey, but rules at skeeball) and just had a great time. It felt like we were newlyweds again. We headed back on the monorail (who doesn’t love the monorail?) to get to the Consulate by 2:30.
At the Consulate: we wait for about 15 minutes and then are called into an interview room. After short instructions and some paperwork, we were being congratulated and sent out the door.
Flash forward past getting driver’s license, and the windshield for our car replaced (planned), and we’re heading north back to the Canadian Border. We’re sent inside. Sign here, initial here, say this, don’t say that. And then she looks up after all is done and says “welcome to Canada”, reaches in her drawer and pulls out two Canadian flags! The excitement factor just jumped up a gazillion points for both of us. It’s official? We’re in? She says “you have all the rights as a citizen, except that you can’t vote.” So we’re Canadian? hehe. yup. You are permanent. Now go import your car.
All is done, we are driving into Vancouver. It starts to rain. It feels different, we both agree, like the day after getting married- that unexplainable feeling, but you look at each other differently. As we’re driving along, trying to remember any words to the Canadian national anthem (”Oh Canada, our home and native land…” was as far as we got- sorry Erin!) and we’re looking around at the people (our people) and the streets (our streets) and the buses (our buses) and everything feels… different. We both agree for the first time we actually feel like we belong here. For the first time I feel like I can stop being apologetic about living in someone else’s country. This is my country too. I am at home in my apartment. It’s the place I’ve been living in for 5 years, but today it is our for real home.
What is the biggest joy for me about all of this? I will never have an expiration date on my health insurance ever again. Nor my husband, or my children… This fact alone make my eyes tear up, and my heart swell with love for Canada. I had no idea how this single thought would affect me, but I actually, honestly, entirely feel more protected now being a Canadian than I have ever felt growing up as an American.
It’s good to be home.