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5 months and loving it !

5 months and loving it !

Old Jun 30th 2014, 6:28 pm
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Default 5 months and loving it !

My son and I arrived from the UK, after waiting a whole year to join my Canadian husband in Alberta, on Jan 23rd 2014 - we had applied for Permanent Residency some months before and we Landed as Permanent Residents of Canada April 13th 2014. We drove into Montanna over the US border at Coutts for the weekend and returned to activate our PR. Our application -Outland via London VO- took 189 days (a little over the average), by the way. We decided against simply Flag-Poling at the border in case the Administrative Refusal that is issued if you do it this way is ever a problem in the future ! ( which we had read does happen. )
The border had 89 PRs to activate the day before but on the day we landed there was no-one else there ! They were polite and helpful on both sides of the border.
My son started school the following Tuesday and settled in really well - he was really chuffed that his first day of school in Canada on the Monday was actually a day off !
I was immediately welcomed by the School Council representative and invited to be part of the school community from the very start which I consider a lovely gesture by the Canadian parents and School Principal !
We were accepted onto the family Doctors List straight away and also the Family Dentist and Optician ( all helped by having in-laws I guess !)
We went to Service Canada to get our Social Insurance Numbers issued ( this is just a piece of paper with the number on ) -no queuing, straight in and out and friendly efficiency !
Swapped my UK Driving Licence at the local Vehicle Registration Office - had a photo taken and paid a small fee ( cannot recall the figure ) and the new Canadian licence came within a couple of weeks !
Also the insurance honoured all my UK 9 years no claims discount - upon recommendation of this forum I had collected the last 7 years insurance proof of No Claims Bonus and it worked !
Temporary Alberta Health Cards were issued whilst we were only Visitors of Canada ( because my husband is Canadian we were accepted !) and the permanent cards arrived once we could provide proof of our PR.
We had, of course taken out short term (3m) medical insurance until the AHC could be issued. (£350 for both my son and I through CanadaSure )
We had small personal items to ship (as per our Items To Follow List which we got stamped at our PR Landing) 10 boxes in total and after researching reviews on expats forum chose the Excess Baggage Company as their quote ( we got 3 ) was the cheapest - we had a goods value of £1600 and one company wanted £2000 to ship it - we ended up paying just over £1100 but it wasn't straight forward ! So beware !
We followed the company advice for measuring the size of our boxes ( we were told we did not need to buy their crates - so we bought heavy duty plastic boxes) they then calculated the cost which was £900 - we also payed extra for insurance. They quoted us for door to door delivery via airfreight in 3-5 days -we know some people wait months for their stuff to arrive via groupage. So we thought we had a good deal !
Meanwhile they collect my stuff and ring me to say they re-packed it at a cost of £50 ( not a huge cost thankfully ) however when it all arrived ( after 10 days I note!) they had kept all my sturdy plastic boxes !!!! and my stuff was hap-hazzardly re-distributed into cardboard boxes so I didn't know where anything was as per my own records ! Some stuff was broken ( not valuable but sentimental value ) - they had also re-calculated the cost per volume of their cardboard boxes and charged us more ! ! This is how they make their money it seems ! We are currently disputing the charge but of course they don't ship until after you have paid ! !
We also had to drive to Calgary airport to get our shipment through Immigration - we had asked that if we had to drive all the way to Calgary anyway couldn't we collect our own stuff and save some money on the door to door delivery charge ? Of course that was not possible they told us !
Another point to mention is that we did not put our two cats on the List Of Goods To Follow and the nice Border Officer pointed out that as we didn't declare them we could get charged import tax on them when they arrive ! He kindly wrote "two pet cats to follow " on our List and signed and dated it for us so they have now been "declared" !
So far we LOVE our new lives in Canada - as a UK Registered Nurse I am unable to look for work as a nurse yet as I am going through the CARNA process where they assess my qualifications which may take a year and I will have to sit an exam so I am enjoying being a stay at home 'mom' and helping my son get settled - he already plays ice hockey and baseball !
We have made friends and have found folk genuinely welcoming - complete strangers have shaken my hand and said congratulations and 'Welcome to Canada!'
I don't doubt it is easier when you have a partner who understands the culture and of course we have moved back to a small town where he grew up so he has been able to smooth the way for us a lot - we are still house hunting/saving whilst lodging in his parents house so life will not truly be underway until we can get on with our own lives and set up home together !

So far I am happy but I guess it's early days and perhaps I will begin to miss aspects of my UK life at some point ( not sure what as I haven't been tempted to catch up on Corrie or Eastenders yet although I am still trying to make decent gravy without Bisto and I am shocked at the price of Vimto so haven't bought any ! ) - I have already had the sick parent in the UK experience and the death of my mother in law here in Canada so life has continued throwing curved balls at us from time to time just as it would anywhere else in the world !

Good luck to those of you still going through the process - it will be well worth it in the end as far as I have experienced but to take the stress out of it as much as possible - make good use out of this Forum and follow the advice as far as possible from those who make useful,practical and common sense recommendations based on their own experiences !

Many thanks to everyone who advised me !
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Old Jul 2nd 2014, 12:48 am
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

What a joyous happy and positive post. How nice to hear that all is going so well for you. I hope all continues to go splendidly for you and your family
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Old Jul 2nd 2014, 2:55 am
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

Originally Posted by MillieF
What a joyous happy and positive post. How nice to hear that all is going so well for you. I hope all continues to go splendidly for you and your family
Many thanks MillieF !
I spent months following the threads on here and some are quite negative about life in Canada even after all the effort spent getting there
I suppose it depends on the reasons behind the move and how happy folk have been in their 'old life' - I had become very disheartened about our life in the UK and despite us both being professionals in decent jobs, making England our home was no longer an option after my Canadian husband was made redundant and couldn't find employment for almost 7 months ( and thus renewing his work permit not possible ) - so we made the decision that he should return to Canada as there were employers waiting to offer him jobs at 3 times the salary ! No brainer really, so we re-planned our future together in Canada and have continued to look ahead and not back
For me Canada is already my home and I am embracing everything about it - the stuff I have to get used to is what I love - the fact that it is different makes it all the more appealing - yes it's cold but it's not a damp cold - and when it's hot it's hotter than in the UK and more reliably so ! I would say it is generally more relaxed and and there seems to be far less Political Correctness Gone Mad !

Thanks again for your best wishes,
Nicky
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Old Jul 2nd 2014, 2:15 pm
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

This is such a happy post - brought a smile to my face reading it! I'm really pleased that things have worked out well for you - you certainly have the right attitude about it. I think some people show up in Canada and just "expect" it to be perfect, but that's not alwayst he case - it still takes work, takes adjustment, takes the right attitude, and it sounds like you guys have embraced it.

Thanks for sharing your update - again, so happy it's all going so well for you!
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Old Jul 2nd 2014, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

Originally Posted by SchnookoLoly
This is such a happy post - brought a smile to my face reading it! I'm really pleased that things have worked out well for you - you certainly have the right attitude about it. I think some people show up in Canada and just "expect" it to be perfect, but that's not alwayst he case - it still takes work, takes adjustment, takes the right attitude, and it sounds like you guys have embraced it.

Thanks for sharing your update - again, so happy it's all going so well for you!
Many thanks to you SchnookoLoly
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Old Jul 3rd 2014, 1:00 am
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

Originally Posted by hockey4life
I am new to this forum and have a few questions I am hoping you could answer.

My husband is a Canadian Citizen and applied to CIC to sponsor me as a permanent resident to Canada. We applied as an outside resident of Canada when we filed (as we were living in the U.S. at time of filing the application.)

Here are my timelines:

2/19/14: CIC sent us a letter stating they received his application to sponsor spouse (me).
5/2/14: After CIC received my medical record and background check, we received a letter stating he "has met the requirements for eligibility as a sponsor and forwarded to the CPOC for further processing."
6/1/14: CIC emailed us a request we pay the $490 'Permanent Resident Fee'.
6/2/14: CIC emailed us a receipt indicating we paid the fee.
7/2/14: After waiting 30 days, I decided to send CIC an email today requesting any information they can provide us pertaining to our application. They immediately emailed us back a response today stating "your file is in queue for officer review."

Can any of you tell me what the next steps would be.

Thank you kindly.
Hi again! I answered your question in your other thread.

I know you're new, but please don't post the same question in multiple places, and try to keep your posts in the right area. It's also worth starting your own thread, not piggybacking on others' threads.

Please read this: http://britishexpats.com/forum/canad...%2A%2A-499826/

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Old Jul 8th 2014, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

Hi Ralphstars, I really liked your post. We are going to Alberta too. We are nearly at the end of our process, waiting for COPR now and somehow I feel kind of deflated and nervous. Hopefully it will pass. Whereabouts in Alberta are you? I am glad you mentioned about shipping your boxes, we will be doing the same. We are not going to take furniture etc.

Hope things keep going well for you and your family.
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Old Jul 8th 2014, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

Originally Posted by Sunryder
Hi Ralphstars, I really liked your post. We are going to Alberta too. We are nearly at the end of our process, waiting for COPR now and somehow I feel kind of deflated and nervous. Hopefully it will pass. Whereabouts in Alberta are you? I am glad you mentioned about shipping your boxes, we will be doing the same. We are not going to take furniture etc.

Hope things keep going well for you and your family.
Yes life is good here in Alberta - we are in Lethbridge ( population 90,000) - there is a good university and a small airport ! We are only 2.5 ish hours drive from Calgary and the International airport too. There is everything we need right here in Lethbridge - shopping and leisure are all within 10-20 mins from one end of the city to the other and it is a great family-orientated City - Calgary on the other hand can get congested and take an hour or more to get around !
It's a long haul especially when you get to the end and everyone else seems to have had Decision Made except you ! You put your whole livelihood into someone else's hands and have to sit back and wait - painfully ! One part of me was desperate to leave the UK and be reunited with my husband after a year apart with my youngest son but my eldest son had decided to stay with his father in the UK and so I had the heart wrenching decision to let him stay ( aged 13 !) and leave him behind we did declare him on the application so he can come if he changes his mind -fingers crossed !) Meanwhile he is happy where he is so it is all I can ask ....but he is coming to stay for two weeks in a week or so which I am so looking forward to but then I have to fly back with him so his brother can see his dad too ! Clearly I will continue to have ties in the UK which cannot be broken but I can truly say coming to Canada was the right choice
We have a superior lifestyle and far better weather in my opinion - my younger son is experiencing a lifestyle inaccessible to him back in the UK and my elder boy is missing out on that - I can only hope that one day he is ready to make the leap ( at least he has someone to come to which will make settling so much easier for him )
I can only add that it is important to look forward to the new life, despite your nervousness, and expect that things will be different and not necessarily easier to begin with - you just need to give yourself time to adapt which may be at a slower pace according to your own circumstances! Mine were helped because as soon as my son got involved in hockey and now baseball I made friends too ! Sports are the way to go here so that will help a lot with fitting in !
Where will you be in Alberta ?
The day of COPR will come and it's so exciting and what a relief I was distracted at the end because my mother in law was dying - we were sitting in the hospice and I randomly checked ecas and there it was "Decision Made" ! ! Totally expecting to still be staring at " application received " I had to ask my father in law to read it again for me to be sure !
Of course at that point you still don't know what the Decision is

I hope it all goes to plan for you and I am sure you find Albertans friendly and welcoming
Wishing you well with the final hurdle !

Nicky
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Old Jul 10th 2014, 11:00 am
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Default Re: 5 months and loving it !

Hi Nicky

I know Lethbridge. It is a nice city, we have been there lots of times. My sister lives in Granum which is about 40 minutes from Lethbridge and does all her shopping there. My hubby's job is in Calgary, so not too far away from family. It will be the first time in nearly 25 years that we will be living near family. We've moved countries a few times now.
We will also be leaving one of our sons behind. He is 19 and has a brilliant apprenticeship which he really loves and still has two years left. So he is going to finish that off and then come over if he wants to. We have made it clear that it is his decision and we are not forcing him, but I know I will miss him so much.
We have met Canadians when we have been on holiday and they have been really friendly and helpful.
I know we will have a better quality life when we get there and I am just so longing for all the space and to be able to go to places where there are no buildings, cars, people etc. We are used to a very outdoors life. We are originally from Africa, so are used to our own space, feel very suffocated and crowded here in the UK.

Thanks for your motivation, it will keep me going.

Regards

Marci
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