Canadian citizenship

Browsing through the blogosphere – something I really shouldn’t get into – I came across the blog of a Brazilian couple (Mirella & Christian) who immigrated to Canada in 2000, in which they talk about the immigration process, the arrival in the new country, adaptation, moving around (they lived in Toronto and Ottawa), deciding to stay for good and finally gettting Canadian citizenship in 2005.

Thinking the citizenship ceremony would be a cold, bureaucratic event, Mirella was surprised at the behaviour of the judge officiating the event (translation below):

A juiza foi extremamente atenciosa, de forma extremamente informal e carinhosa ela nos contou sobre os direitos e responsabilidades dos cidadaos, da importancia de participarmos ativamente junto a nossa comunidade etc… mas acima de tudo ela disse que nos admirava, pois independente da razao que tenha nos motivado a mudar para o Canada (aventura, profissão, qualidade de vida, refugio politico, casamento etc), nos eramos vencedores e dignos de honra… pois poucas pessoas seriam capazes de arriscar ficar longe de família e amigos e deixar tudo o que construiu para trás. Juro que quase chorei nessa hora, não por mim, mas por alguns amigos que conheci na escolinha de inglês no passado e que eram refugiado politicos, que deixaram tudo, que tiveram tempo de apenas fazer uma mala, entrar no avião, chegar no Canada e pronto… deu um aperto grande no coração… mas me sinto orgulhosa ao mesmo tempo!

Trans: The judge was extremelly attentive, in an extremelly informal and warm way she explained the rights and responsibilities of citizens , the importance of participating actively in our communities, etc… but above all, she said she admired us, because independently of the reason that lead us to move to Canada (adventure, work, quality of life, political asylum, marriage, etc), we were winners and worthy of honour… since few people would be capable of risking being away from family and friends, leaving everything they built behind. I swear I almost cried then, not for myself, but for some friends I met at English classes in the past who were political refugees, who left everything, who hardly had time to pack a bag, get into a plane, arrive in Canada and period… it tugged at my heartstrings… but I felt proud at the same time!

Me at my citizenship ceremonyThat’s exactly what my citizenship ceremony was like!! If it had happened in the same city, I would have thought it was the same judge. Mine was in June/2005. I was hoping the process would take a couple more weeks so I could have become a citizen on July 1 (Canada Day)! It was indeed a very emotional event and like Mirella & Christian, I applied for Canadian citizenship not only because it might have made life more convenient for me, but mostly because I came to identify with Canadian culture and values. Particularly with the sense of social justice, equality and the strong belief in the positive aspects of multiculturalism.

This attachment to Canada has become even more evident in recent weeks, as we start planning our move back home. Despite enjoying every minute I have spent in Spain and cherishing all the many friends I’ve made in the past few months, Alan and I are both looking forward to going back to Canada.

Internet censorship in Brazil (again)

© GlobalvoicesIt’s becoming eerily common – Brazilian authorities are once more trying to censor info on the internet. This time it’s the Brazilian Olympic Committee who is prohibiting all the athletes participating at the Pan Am Games 2007, hosted in Rio, from maintaining blogs, photo logs, and personal websites during the games. They also want to prevent any digital coverage of the games to be available online. Apparently, the BOC wants to please the television broadcasters sponsoring the event… You can read more about it here.

What’s wrong with these people??? First of all, when is the tv industry going to stop trying to compete with the internet and decide to fully embrace the technology (i.e. making their services available online)? More importantly, when will Brazilian authorities stop trying to meddle with what people choose to make available on the web and what they can access?? Unfortunately, the country is beginning to be associated with attempts to censor the web… Is this how the Brazilian Olympic Committee wants to make a case for hosting the Olympics?

We’re becoming more and more a Banana Republic…

We did our share

Tonight, from 19:55 to 20:00 we turned off all our lights to express concern over global warming. It was neat. We watched the buildings across the street and as people turned off their lights, they came out onto their balconies. We waved at each other and felt connected. Here in Barcelona, the lights were turned off at the Sagrada Familia and other tourist buildings. In Paris, they turned off the lights at the Tour Eiffel.


Five things you might not know about me

Following the leads of JP and AN, here’s my list

1. I was a dog-freak as a child and have probably watched every Lassie, Rin tin tin, & Benjie movies out there. It took me until I was 17 to convince my mother that we should get a dog.

2. I didn’t go to kindergarden. My older brother taught me to read and write while he was attending kindergarden – each day he would teach me everything he learned at school that day and by the end of the year we both knew how to read and write. He was 6 and I was 4.

3. I used to be addicted to comic books. I had a huge collection of marvel & dc comics and was on a first-name basis with every comics shop in Rio. I quit cold-turkey when I moved to Canada and started my history degree. My favourite was The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. The man is brilliant. Alan Moore is another genius of the craft…

4. I’ve read the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley about 6 times. It was the first “grown-up” book I read. I used to be a lazy reader and wouldn’t read anything over 100 pages so my brother tricked me by giving me just the first volume of the book (in Brazil it was published in a multi-volume set of 4 books, each with over 200 pages) and betting I wouldn’t go beyond the first chapter. I was 12 and I don’t think I really understood the first chapter but had to prove my brother wrong. By chapter three I was hooked and read the remaining three volumes compulsively. When I finished the last page, I re-started again from the beginning. I became obsessed with England and its monarchy. How I ended up studying the Jews of medieval Iberia is still a mystery to me. I think my undergrad supervisor hypnotized me.

5. I lived in the Amazon when I was a child. We lived outside the city and my brother and I used to disappear in the jungle (I was 3, he was 5). Don’t know what I was thinking; I have a phobia of snakes.