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Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Old Jul 5th 2016, 3:21 pm
  #1  
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Default Reflections on becoming a Canadian

For those that are still waiting for their PR/Citizenship .......

Earlier this year my husband and I joined 80 plus other immigrants in a disappointingly bland conference room in the Harry Hayes building in Calgary, Alberta. We were there to become Canadian citizens. Looking around the room, I saw a sea of smiling faces of people from all over the world, making the positive step to come together as Canadians. It was, surprisingly, a very poignant ceremony. Officials made appropriate remarks, we collectively pledged allegiance to the Queen – quietly (and with mixed results) in French and then more loudly (and excitedly) in English, and then each of us was called up individually to receive our citizenship certificate. I was last …. and the Judge didn’t disappoint – “we have saved the best for last!” she cheered as she handed over my certificate. A small child gave me a tiny maple leaf lapel pin; I sat back down, and then we all sang the Canadian national anthem. There were smiles, tears, laughter and photographs as everyone absorbed their new status; my husband and I went to Tim Hortons – it seemed appropriate.

I have to say that I was somewhat ambivalent going into the citizenship process. I’m not big on flags or anthems or, come to think of it, any symbols of extreme patriotism. All countries have their good, bad and ugly. As a natural-born Brit my becoming a Canadian citizen did not seem to be more than a natural progression of events, a formality to cement the fact that Canada is now my home. Still, I wanted to be a citizen. Not just a citizen in the swear-the-oath, get-the-lapel pin, sing the song way but I also wanted to be a participatory citizen. Canada has been good to us, allowing us to come here, work, develop a social network, take up new hobbies. But, for me, it didn’t feel totally right unless I also had all the responsibilities of citizenship; voting, yes, but more importantly being engaged with fellow Canadians, supporting positive change and making some kind of small contribution within my circle.

The maple leaf lapel pin the small child gave me was not my only citizenship gift – on my first day at work as a Canadian my colleagues showered me with Canadian goodies, including a bright and bold Canadian flag. This flag is the first I’ve ever owned and will, undoubtedly, be the last. It is now anchored in my pen container, on my office desk - just enough of a presence on my cluttered desk that, when I’m lost in thought, I can stare at it and be reminded …. Canada is my home now; the place I will quite likely live out my remaining years. I like the way that feels when I say it. I love my adoptive nation, its people, its flag and its place in the world. I am proud to be both British and Canadian at the same time but I am home now. I am a Canadian ……... and I believe that, for me, I did indeed save the best for last.


Good luck to everyone in pursuing your dreams. J
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Old Jul 5th 2016, 3:29 pm
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Default Re: Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Congratulations, it sounds like an emotional day for you - it often seems to be, even for those who don't think themselves to be especially patriotic.

I can't help but think that British citizens should get a pass on pledging allegiance to the Queen though!
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Old Jul 5th 2016, 8:13 pm
  #3  
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Default Re: Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Congratulations, it sounds like an emotional day for you - it often seems to be, even for those who don't think themselves to be especially patriotic.

I can't help but think that British citizens should get a pass on pledging allegiance to the Queen though!
Thanks - yes it was. Agree - it did seem a little odd to be pledging allegiance although probably odder that I don't think I have ever done that before during my 50 years in the UK!!! J
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Old Jul 5th 2016, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
For those that are still waiting for their PR/Citizenship .......

Earlier this year my husband and I joined 80 plus other immigrants in a disappointingly bland conference room in the Harry Hayes building in Calgary, Alberta. We were there to become Canadian citizens. Looking around the room, I saw a sea of smiling faces of people from all over the world, making the positive step to come together as Canadians. It was, surprisingly, a very poignant ceremony. Officials made appropriate remarks, we collectively pledged allegiance to the Queen – quietly (and with mixed results) in French and then more loudly (and excitedly) in English, and then each of us was called up individually to receive our citizenship certificate. I was last …. and the Judge didn’t disappoint – “we have saved the best for last!” she cheered as she handed over my certificate. A small child gave me a tiny maple leaf lapel pin; I sat back down, and then we all sang the Canadian national anthem. There were smiles, tears, laughter and photographs as everyone absorbed their new status; my husband and I went to Tim Hortons – it seemed appropriate.

I have to say that I was somewhat ambivalent going into the citizenship process. I’m not big on flags or anthems or, come to think of it, any symbols of extreme patriotism. All countries have their good, bad and ugly. As a natural-born Brit my becoming a Canadian citizen did not seem to be more than a natural progression of events, a formality to cement the fact that Canada is now my home. Still, I wanted to be a citizen. Not just a citizen in the swear-the-oath, get-the-lapel pin, sing the song way but I also wanted to be a participatory citizen. Canada has been good to us, allowing us to come here, work, develop a social network, take up new hobbies. But, for me, it didn’t feel totally right unless I also had all the responsibilities of citizenship; voting, yes, but more importantly being engaged with fellow Canadians, supporting positive change and making some kind of small contribution within my circle.

The maple leaf lapel pin the small child gave me was not my only citizenship gift – on my first day at work as a Canadian my colleagues showered me with Canadian goodies, including a bright and bold Canadian flag. This flag is the first I’ve ever owned and will, undoubtedly, be the last. It is now anchored in my pen container, on my office desk - just enough of a presence on my cluttered desk that, when I’m lost in thought, I can stare at it and be reminded …. Canada is my home now; the place I will quite likely live out my remaining years. I like the way that feels when I say it. I love my adoptive nation, its people, its flag and its place in the world. I am proud to be both British and Canadian at the same time but I am home now. I am a Canadian ……... and I believe that, for me, I did indeed save the best for last.


Good luck to everyone in pursuing your dreams. J
Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts on becoming a citizen. That's encouraging to hear, and congratulations!:good post:
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Old Jul 6th 2016, 9:04 am
  #5  
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Default Re: Reflections on becoming a Canadian

What an enjoyable post, thank you so much for it. I hope you continue to enjoy your 'forever home'.
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Old Jul 6th 2016, 9:55 pm
  #6  
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Default Re: Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Originally Posted by miss_mp View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts on becoming a citizen. That's encouraging to hear, and congratulations!:good post:
Thanks! For us it's been an up and down ride (but mostly up!) but we are finally settled! J
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Old Jul 6th 2016, 9:56 pm
  #7  
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Default Re: Reflections on becoming a Canadian

Originally Posted by MillieF View Post
What an enjoyable post, thank you so much for it. I hope you continue to enjoy your 'forever home'.
Thanks Millie! That's the hope for us too - been in Calgary for ten years and hoping that retirement years will take us a little further west! J
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