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I moved to Canada!

Published 2021-05-19

On October 29th, 2020, I moved to Canada and established permanent residency. This post is overdue, but I still remember the feelings vividly and want to write it down while I do. This is going to be long and rambling and is mostly written down for my own sake. But I guess if you’re curious about my experience moving to Canada, read on!

In early October of 2020, after months of waiting and uncertainty, my Confirmation of Permanent Residence arrived in Caroline’s mail. With that, I became eligible to start my new life with my wife in Canada. But let’s jump back a year.

Queue flashback sound effect

Caroline and I were married in September of 2019 and began the visa process in earnest. We worked with an immigration attorney, Jade Calver of Calver & Associates. Jade’s services cost us a little over $5,000 CAD, plus another couple hundred in immigation fees. We probably could have done it on our own, but we consider this money well spent. Jade guided us through the process, made sure everything was done correctly, handled all the communication with the government, and provided reassurance when things were moving slowly.

Along with our marriage certificate, FBI background check, and identification, we were required to submit an abundance of proof of the legitimacy of our relationship, including photos of us together and with family/friends, chat/text message logs, travel history between the US and Canada, and letters of testimonial from family/friends.

On December 30th, 2019, we finally had everything ready and submitted my application for permanet residence to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada). What should have been a two month process ended up taking ten months. The timeline was as follows:

And this brings us to the month of my move. There were a ton of logistics to deal with in October, including making a trip south to visit my parent, selling my car, packing up, figuring out import of my motorcycles and firearms (and house plants!), renting a uHaul, etc. I took the last four days before my scheduled move off work to finish packing and cleaning, but even so, it was an insanely stressful four days. I felt close to nervous breakdown at times, not thinking I was going to have everything ready to go in time.

Last visit with my parents

Giving the Hedgehog a thorough cleaning before selling

The sweetest girl

Feeling like a drug dealer after selling my car

Last visit with Marika, Biagio, and Lily

T-2 days. This is when the stress got real.

Boxes of plants. Fun facts: you’re allowed to bring up to 50 houseplants across the border with you; you must personally accompany them across the border; and they must not be plants that are able to live year-round in Canada. I may have cheated slightly on the last point, but they didn’t check.

This is a big fucking truck. Banana for scale.

Having sold my car, did some final errands on my bike in a blizzard. Could see very little once my helmet visor was covered with snow—would not recommend.

Tawny being exceedingly good and patient on the final, and most stressful, day.

Finally in the truck!

At the border!

But I did, and on October 29th I loaded the last of my stuff and our sweet elderly blind doggo Tawny into the 26’ uHaul, made one last stop at the dump, and got on the highway north.

The 45 minutes between Grand Marais and the border were excruciatingly exciting and nervewracking. Everything was in order, the entirety of my belongings were itemized on a printed spreadsheet, and my wife was waiting at the border with my documents. On the other hand, all of my belongings were packed into a uHaul, I had moved out of my apartment, and there’s no law that says they have to let me in—especially with COVID. They could turn me away if they wanted to, and what would I do then?

Everyone at the border was so friendly, my wife was there, they were so impressed with my inventory of belongings that they didn’t even bother looking in the uHaul, and the border guard shook my hand when he welcomed me to Canada—just like a movie.

In the subsequent months, I’ve moved twice, landed my ideal job, got my Ontario driver’s license, health card, and permanet resident card. As I’m writing this five months later, the border is still closed, COVID is still not under control here (but I get my first vaccination in nine days!), Caroline is living 600 miles away until she finishes her contract in November, and I haven’t crossed back into the States or seen my family or friends since moving, but I am still so excited and feel so fortunate to finally be here.

O Canada!