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Are You Sure?

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We arrived by mamushka.

It was the vehicle for five-two Work Permits and three Visitor Permits-inside a goal.

Permanent Residence in Canada now takes up to two years for those of us already on Canadian soil with renewable permits. That includes time spent putting together the application. And with the sale of our house in New York, we can now prevent some headaches. Some of the proceeds are going towards our portion of our immigration attorney's fees, half of which will be paid by my husband's employer. And where our attorney can't speak on our behalf, he is paving paths to make what is required of us as smooth as possible. This includes advice.

Track your life. Your personal activities and addresses since you turned eighteen years old should have no gaps. My mental history book got a work-out. I couldn't access my resume and had to THINK. Portions of the above-mentioned territories paint a picture both quizzical and comical. Residence to residence, varied time frames, events within events. I just put everything on a separate sheet of paper, erring on the side of honesty.

Lead a clean life. We needed to get at least three sets of fingerprints to accommodate the Royal Canadian Mounties, the FBI and the Japanese Consulate, since we'd spent more than six months in Japan. Our attorney contacted the Japanese Consulate in Toronto and put together a letter for us. They do the fingerprinting for free and it takes about two months to process. The most convenient place for our schedule-Saturdays-for the other fingerprinting was in Scarborough, part of the Greater Toronto Area. Not a big waiting room and it fills up, but that's because you're really given attention once your number is called. And they don't wait long for people to respond to the numbers. Going, going...I, for one, was grateful for that. The two gentlemen working there were, again, patient, professional and blessed with a sense of humor. For one-stop shopping, they provided our fingerprints and photos. Because they believed we might need a separate set of fingerprints for New York State, we had them done so as to save a trip back. After the fingerprinting and photo-ops upstairs, we had a genuine Chinese meal in the basement. A true culinary Coney Island. It's fun to "just say yes" and not care what happens. What's that you're eating? Shrimp and...

It's easy to just put down such a foreboding application while still in the U.S. In fact, I did. And with my internet-scouring and paper-sorting at any and all hours, (sit back and breathe) I asked myself, "Are you sure you want to do this? Yes, I am." This began when New Zealand changed its rules after the tsunami from "send it over the internet if you have an outrageously simple and lightweight application" (no one does) to "send it by mail, double the fees." I got the point.
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Incredibly few places throughout Europe were willing to hire a U.S. citizen. Europe, let me fill you in...We're not all like Bush. Most of us didn't even vote for him, so blaming us doesn't help anyone. We tried. At least the citizenry did, shy of making a citizen's arrest. And the question returned, (sit back and breathe) "Are you sure you want to do this? Yes, I am." The planets eventually aligned themselves, as my husband's employer in Canada came through. Something was beginning to make sense.

Are you getting the idea that sanity was at stake here? Actually, sanity was in progress. The whole process tested my principles and will. After repeatedly giving the same answer to the same question, realizing there were no doubts also revealed a crucial foundation.

Are you still sure? Yes, I am.
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Rachel emigrated to Canada in the summer of 2006.- She has an M.A. in Teaching ESOL, and her poetry, short stories and articles have appeared in print and online. Rachel is a member of Fair Vote Canada.

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