Until this last weekend, I hadn’t worked for pay since moving to Canada nearly two years ago. Before coming here I was a high school English teacher. I worked with at-risk and ELL (English language learners) kids primarily. The majority of my students were disengaged from the formal education process. A sizable portion had drug or other criminal issues to deal with and about a quarter of the girls were dealing with pregnancies or abusive home situations and, of course, there were the non-English speaking kids with their immigration ordeals.
Immigration was not dissimilar. It involved a mountain of paper from application forms to documentation, and followed a rule book that was written with a fuzzy sort of clarity that even those who worked in the immigration system were reluctant to interpret with certainty.
And it is a long process which can take a year or far longer depending on a person’s situation and their value as a contributor economically and socially. It was seven months before I was granted a work permit which I have used only once when I recently gave a workshop on blogging at our public library. It was ten months before I was officially “landed” which means I paid my final entrance fees, was instructed in my obligations as a permanent resident and handed the papers which allow me to live here and travel back and forth to the United States without fear of being denied re-admittance to my home.
Because Canada is my home now. It’s funny. I was reading Neil Gaiman’s blog recently, and he wrote about the slippery term “home”. Home is where one grows up and wherever one is currently living so that we are constantly in a state of returning home whether we are coming or going. That is what it means to be an immigrant too.
This is an original 50 Something Moms post by Ann Bibby