I am here...although I don't know if I have arrived. Some days I feel stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, other days I marvel at the paradise that I call my life. Welcome to my ramblings, reflections, and obsessive- compulsive tendencies

Monday, June 1, 2009

...about being Canadian

Hey, I'm not a lumberjack, or a fur trader....
I don't live in an igloo or eat blubber, or own a dogsled....
and I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada,
although I'm certain they're really really nice.

I have a Prime Minister, not a president.
I speak English and French, not American.
And I pronounce it 'about', not 'a boot'.

I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, not policing,
diversity, not assimilation,
and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.
A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch,
and it is pronounced 'zed' not 'zee', 'zed'

Canada is the second largest landmass
The first nation of hockey
and the best part of North America

My name is Rheanne
And I am Canadian!

Okay, so I didn't write that myself.  It's from those Molson ads that came out a few years ago.  Still, I am proud to be a Canadian.   I consider Canada my home.  Australia is where I was born, but Canada is where I grew up and became who I am.  Bermuda is where I live but I'll never be Bermudian.  I couldn't be even if I wanted to be, and I don't want to be.   All that said, I have been a little disenchanted lately.   

As I have said in the past, bad luck seems to have a way of seeking me out.  A few years ago, my wallet was stolen from my classroom in the middle of the day.  I was out on recess supervision and my wallet was tucked in the bottom of my bag under my desk (stupidly, not locked away in a closet).  Some jerk came in and took my wallet and snuck out the side door.  Inside was my citizenship card that I'd had since I was 10 years old.  I had a passport and a Canadian citizenship certificate so I didn't dwell too much on the issue.  I figured I would get around to replacing it at some point.  

Fast forward to November, 2008.  I am in the midst of having my life turned totally upside down as I sell my house, quit my job, and move my family to Bermuda.  One evening while I am out with a friend, my car is broken into and some jerk steals the bag that my husband has locked in the trunk.  Inside is his laptop, my passport, my husband and oldest son's passports and about $300 in cash.  Trying my best to be on top of things, I report everything to the police that evening and am headed to the passport office the next day only to get a phone call from some lovely, good Samaritan who has found a little folder with our three passports.  Yay!  I don't have to go through the awful process of getting them replaced!  That's what I thought.

We fly to Bermuda at the end of December using our recovered passports and all seems well.  Not so.  When I tried to renew my passport at the beginning of April I was rejected!  All this time of being a proud Canadian, doing my part for this country, teaching the children who are Canada's future, having dinner conversation about Canadian politics...and they rejected me.  My passport had been made invalid.  I was told that I needed to reapply, filling out a long form, giving in a variety of "relevant" documents, and having a guarantor vouch that I am who I claim to be.  Well, having moved to Bermuda only four months prior, it isn't such an easy task to find someone who has a valid passport and has known me for more than two years.  

I send everything I have to my dad who signs the paperwork, takes it to his MP, who looks at everything and says, "There's a problem."  Because I only had a citizenship certificate and not a citizenship card, I would most certainly be rejected again.  Rejected!  Because citizenship cards take from six to ten months to get, it was looking like my June 2nd ticket to Toronto would be worthless, and, in fact, I would be stuck in Bermuda indefinitely.  It's a beautiful place, I know, but it is small, and my family and friends are in Canada.  I wanted to go home.  I made a billion calls, talking to one horrible woman who suggested that getting my Australian passport would be a much more appropriate task to be focused on.  Luckily, mainly due to my dad being loud and charming, some strings were pulled for me and a temporary passport is on its way so that I can still travel during the months that pass until my citizenship card finally arrives.  At that point, I can go through this whole passport application process again.  joy.

I remain a proud Canadian, for now.  If I am rejected again, it will be a whole other story!

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