Today we became Canadians.
We’ve been on our trip to and through the Canadian Rockies for three weeks now. I’ve been knitting socks and taking pictures and notes, and I’ll tell you all about it soon enough. But today I had to stop and share this important news.
We submitted our application to become citizens in December 2019. The pandemic slowed down the process considerably, but a month ago we started getting hints that we’d be accepted soon. After we left on vacation, we got a date for our official ceremony: today.
Getting Canadian citizenship is largely a symbolic thing. We’ve been Permanent Residents since 2017, which grants nearly all the perks of citizenship. Becoming a citizen just means we can participate in the civic process – vote and run for office and stuff. It’s a big expense and fuss just for that. So you have to want it.
But a lot of people seem to want it. There were over 140 people in our zoom session today, with whom we spoke the citizenship oath. We came from 42 different countries, and all looked different. But we were all really excited to become Canadian.
We asked around the town of Jasper for a place we could meet, one with more reliable wifi than our cell data. We settled on the public library, since they’re pretty quiet on a weekday morning, and didn’t charge. The staff squee-ed a little bit when we told them why we wanted space. They didn’t have a meeting room, but we pulled two armchairs together in a quiet corner between the large print books and the elevator and set up the laptop. The kids were in and out from the childrens section with their books, and Dooner played Duplo next to us. And that’s where we swore our oath.
I’ve been crushing on Canada ever since I got into knitting seriously, around the time I got married. Now that we’ve lived here for almost seven years, we’ve learned a ton about it, and we love it more than ever. Here are a few of the things we love about Canada:
- Immigrants and diversity are actively celebrated here. Racism exists, but multiculturalism is strong.
- Indigenous people are acknowledged and celebrated and supported more than in any other country I know of. The struggle is real, but so is the effort.
- Universal healthcare: we are fans! Debate it all you want, but this country does seem actively invested in keeping its people alive.
- On that subject: gun control! Yay! We own guns for hunting, but we can’t get an assault rifle, and it’s really hard to get a handgun, which I think is really great!
- Poutine! Where else can you get a pile of fries and cheese and gravy and it counts as dinner?!
No country is perfect, but Canada is pretty great. Becoming citizens has huge meaning for us. God has called us to this country, and we feel enormously thankful to get to live here. Taking the oath, one hand in the air and one on a Bible we plucked off the library shelf, gave me a wonderful feeling. Like the feeling I get when I see the quaking aspen sprouting their spring green leaves: a feeling that what comes next is going to be great.
Thanks Canada, for welcoming us. Thanks for letting continue to be American as well. Thanks for taking care of us. I hope we can do our bit for Canada too.