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!
That’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.