6.10.2010

becoming canadian: today we take the final step (updated!)



The final piece is in place: we are Canadian.

At the ceremony today in Mississauga, 119 permanent residents of Canada became Canadian citizens. We hailed from these 25 different countries:
Afghanistan
Albania
Barbados
China
Colombia
Congo
Egypt
England
Guyana
Honduras
India
Iraq
Israel
Korea
Lebanon
Pakistan
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United States of America

We said the oath, which I still find très bizarre - but then again, I find the whole concept of nationality, citizenship and loyalty oaths antiquated and fairly unnecessary. On the other hand, we recited the oath in both official languages, repeating the French phrase by phrase after the presiding judge, who was herself an immigrant once, probably from China.

In case you're wondering, I cried. Of course I cried. This represents the culmination of so many plans and dreams and so much hard work and waiting. It represents my final disengagement from the United States (although I am still a US citizen and will remain so, at least for the foreseeable future).

From our experience when we took the test wrote the exam, we knew there would be no time to celebrate afterwards without missing part of the Red Sox game (as if), so I suggested a good alternative: celebrate before! We went to The Brogue in Port Credit, the scene of our first pint and lunch in Canada when we came up to look at apartments, and from which we ended up living a block away for our first year. A couple of pints before a citizenship oath - that's a requirement, isn't it?

Every New Canadian at the swearing in received a little paper Maple Leaf flag, a bookmark with the lyrics to O Canada in both English and French, and a little booklet commemorating the day. Everyone recites the oath together, then each person is called up individually to receive a certificate and shake the judge's hand, then signs the loyalty oath as a legal document.

The citizenship certificate, unfortunately, is signed by my two least favourite Canadians: Stephen Harper and his sidekick, the Calgary Doughboy, Jason Kenney. In fact, Kenney's name was all over this day. But fortunately, he was not there in person, so I didn't have to execute any of our plans for public dissent.

So, this is it. Next step: passports, then voting. Can't wait!

Many, many thanks to everyone for all your love and support.

* * * *

11:00 a.m.

Impudent Strumpet is sending people here to congratulate us! I'm totally abashed. But I figured I'd better make a spot in case anyone took her up on it.

The ceremony is this afternoon. I'll update this post when it's official.

35 comments:

fern hill said...

Take a hankie. I totally surprised myself -- and sweetie -- by tearing up.

Congrats, again.

L-girl said...

Fern, many thanks. I tear up at almost everything, so tissues are de rigueur for me!

WHO is that adorable Shepard-y face? What a sweetie.

redsock said...

that dog has to attend wmtc5. ... with someone. ... alone ... whatever ...

Stephanie said...

I hope you have a wonderful swearing in ceremonie!!

I am really tickled pink for you both.

Félicitations vous êtes canadiens!!

Kim_in_TO said...

Yay! Can't wait.

David Cho said...

!!!!!!

BTW, never asked you. Do you have dual citizenship now?

David Cho said...

!!!!!!

Amy said...

Best of everything to you both! Canada is SO lucky to have you as citizens.

MSEH said...

Congratulations!! What a great day!!

deang said...

Enfin! So exciting!

Queen of the Rant said...

Yup Canada is the best, welcome, and a perk no oil... yet

Scott M. said...

I'm so excited! I wish I could be there to give you two a hug.

Michelle said...

Did we tell you about the excellent piece of genuine made-in-Canada civil disobedience we had lined up for you at your ceremony? Hope you had a great day!

L-girl said...

Did we tell you about the excellent piece of genuine made-in-Canada civil disobedience we had lined up for you at your ceremony?

Yeah?! Oh wow, wish we had made it happen. That would have been awesome. Thank you. :)

L-girl said...

Thank you Scott :)

L-girl said...

and a perk no oil... yet

No oil in Canada? That will be news to the folks in Alberta.

Thanks for the welcome. We've been here 5 years, but welcomes are always welcome. :)

mkk said...

Félicitations! Vous êtes canadiens!! Congrats!! What wonderful news!!

mkk said...

Félicitations!! Vous êtes canadiens!!

Peregrinato said...

Wonderful! I'm so happy for you, and a bit jealous as well :) It's been quite a journey, and I've been privileged to watch it from down here in Wash DC !

M. said...

Congratulations! You have been a top-notch Canadian citizen (in the democratic sense) for years now, and I'm glad you both finally have the legal status to match.

Northern Girl said...

I am so excited for you. Congratulations.

M@ said...

Since the final official step is now complete, I will, in my head, think of the blog name as "we've moved to canada" from now on.

Congratulations again!

Kim_in_TO said...

w00t!

I wanted to say that Canada is a better country today, for having added the two of you to its citizenry. Then I thought - does that sound offensive? I mean, you've been here five years, and in that time you've done more to make this a better country than many Canadians do in their lifetimes.

But what the hell: Canada is a better country today.

=)

frank said...

Congratulations!

arturo said...

Oh L! So happy for you!!

johngoldfine said...

Did you wake up this morning feeling somehow all different and...Canadian?

:)

Seriously, you must be relieved as hell to have all those years of hoop-jumping, form-filing, question-answering firmly in your rearview mirror.

L-girl said...

Thanks everyone - many, many thanks.

L-girl said...

Dual citizenship, yes.

Offensive, no.

We moveD to Canada, I guess I can't argue if it's only in your mind. :)

johngoldfine said...

See, l-girl--the move/moveD thing was not just me! In the privacy of my own mind, you are soooo past-tense!

L-girl said...

The move/moveD thing was huge right after we made the physical move up here. Lots of people asked if and when I was changing the name of the blog. Some people started linking to it as "They Moved To Canada". (Thanks so much for changing the title of my blog, eh.)

My friend West End Bob did change his blog's name from "Moving to Vancouver" to "Moved to Vancouver".

But for me, "we move to canada" is so much for than past or present tense. It's just a ... I don't know... a state of mind?

johngoldfine said...

I like the idea that perhaps for you the issue is not being but rather becoming. You don't just land in a slot and stay there. You are not satisfied to be Canadian--instead, you are always becoming Canadian, improving what Canadian means, giving it greater value, fighting for Canada's best self and ideals.

So, o-frippin-kay, you will always be moving, never moved. You move to Canada! Present and continuously.

L-girl said...

You've analyzed and articulated it much better than I could.

Also, I just like the title!

tornwordo said...

Congrats! I cried too. It's definitely in my top five proudest moments in my life. We got a maple leaf pin, I guess they cut that budget so they could do the fake lake. Snark. Wasn't it weird promising to obey the queen of England though?

L-girl said...

Wasn't it weird promising to obey the queen of England though?

VERY! And they called her "Queen of Canada"! REALLY weird!!

Michael Putman said...

Goodness me, I surely didn't swear allegiance to the Queen of England in my ceremony. The Queen of Canada, yes. The fact that the Sovereign also happens to be the Queen of Great Britain is neither here nor there; the two countries (and crowns) are separate legal entities since 1931 and the Statute of Westminster.

This is not just a play on words. It is the law: We owe NO loyalty to HM's British ministers in any way, nor do we have to obey extra-territorial laws that the British parliament may pass concerning the behaviour of their nationals abroad.

And, conversely: when you visit the UK, the UKBA may or may not condescend to let you in the country, loyal and obedient Canadian subject that you may be.

There are several good academic monographs on the Crown and Canadian constitutional law, but this one I found particularly helpful in explaining why it is the openly hidden linchpin of the constitution, and why and how it has shaped, and continues to shape Canada's unique political structure.

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Invisible-Crown-Principle-Government/dp/1442615850

This is at the technical and legal level. On a social or historical level, much reflection has led me to consider that part of the reason Canada is so pluralistic and tolerant is the fact that allegiance is stitched together at the top--i.e. the Crown, which made its historical settlements and treaties with both the French and the various First Nations--and not at the bottom-up, as in our country of birth, where the 17th century covenant theology and 17th/18th century social contract theories of government resulted in a founding myth of 'we the people'.

It sounds nice of course, but as you and I know, there are at least two groups of people in the States, and boy, are they alienated from each other.

Moreover, especially in the red state I grew up in, if you don't conform socially, and be a 'real American', you might as well be a commie. Here, though, I have never once been told I am being 'unCanadian'--whatever that would even mean. As long as you are loyal to Queen and Country--which is NOT the same as being loyal to the government of the day, thank you--you can be an Inuit or French or Chinese or whatever else you identify as. I think it's marvelous. The more so as the antiquated idea of good laws and social largess descending from the Crown to enrich its subjects segues very nicely into modern progressive social programs and policies, whereas American republican individualism, well...


Coming from that republic of course I did not really get it at first, but some time after I immigrated in 2005 I realized that Canada is not the USA, nor a progressive version of the USA, nor a junior version of the USA--it is a Canadian version of Canada. Even though no one asked me to of course, I decided to submit and assimilate myself fully to it, even relinquishing US citizenship formally, and found I love the country all the more for that.

This is years late, but I just discovered your blog, even though you and I came here on a similar timeframe and for rather similar reasons: so, belated congratulations, fellow citizen!