Monday, March 30, 2015

Canadian citizenship!!!

As many of my readers know, husband-ji has been pursuing his Canadian citizenship because he is finding it too difficult to travel with an Indian passport. He has now been living in Canada for almost 7 years, so it was long overdue that he could apply - and by the grace of God, the application was somehow fast tracked and he has obtained it within 6 months of the time he first applied.

Right before Christmas, he passed his citizenship test with flying colors scoring a 100% mark on Canadian history (totally a better grade than I would get!). Shortly after, they penciled him in to take his oath of citizenship

I wanted to go with him for the ceremony but it was at 8am (as if they had chosen an auspicious time!) but Maya woke up late that day and we just couldn't get out the door. Husband-ji is extremely anal about punctuality, while I am the "Late Lateef"!! So he went without us to the ceremony and came back with the scoop. He said there were a lot of people there, and they took time to check everyone in and revoke their Permanent Residency cards. Then, the judge made a speech and they were sworn in together. He was the only Indian there - he said there were lots of Chinese and Africans. He received a welcome letter to Canada from the prime minister, as well as his Canadian citizenship certificate. 


The letter from the prime minister was really beautiful, and it even had his real signature with a ball point blue pen. In the letter it said, "Canadians can trace our ancestries to every imaginable culture and faith, and we have achieved harmony in our diversity." At the end of the letter, the prime minister personally thanked him for choosing Canada and welcomed him "to our Canadian family". It was warm and wonderful, and it gave the impression of gratefulness. It made him feel valued for choosing to settle in Canada and contribute to the economy.

Along with it, he received a free one year pass to ALL Canadian tourist attractions, as a gift from the government to familiarize himself with Canada. I thought that was really cool, and such a great gift for husband-ji because he loves to travel!

This whole shift has me pondering of the ways we adapt and adopt each other's cultures. Seeing husband-ji studying for his citizenship test, and really taking the time to appreciate and understand the meaning of my country and what it means to "be Canadian" really touched me. Some of the things he studied were things that I had no idea about. Even though I was born and raised here, with both my parents and paternal grandparents being Canadian citizens, it is almost as if he is more deserving than me...to be a Canadian.

It is as if our roles have been reversed. While he has been becoming a Canadian, I have been becoming an Indian. In reverse, I have been exploring what it means to be an Indian, to connect to my adopted culture and to figure out what that means to me. Especially since I received my Person of Indian Origin ("PIO") card a few years ago, I have felt validated in this quest, bearing an official document. In fact, I have seen more monuments in India than I have in my own country!

Maybe he is discovering what it means to be Canadian - through me. And I am discovering what it means to be Indian - through him. And thus lies the beauty of experiencing two cultures...


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14 comments

  1. Husband-ji,

    Congratulations on obtaining your Canadian citizenship! Canada is very beautiful and now you have the opportunity to travel and see all the sights with your family. I can only imagine how hard it was to obtain your citizenship but now you will have the ability to travel with no problem.

    My best to you,

    Melissa

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  2. Congratulations to your husband ! (Padparadscha)

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  3. This is wonderful news- congratulations! I understand how he feels I think because I received my American citizenship just a few years ago.

    Raina.

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    1. Thank you Raina! It was a big moment for him!

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  4. cingratulations Alex n ur family !!!!
    what is in Maya's fingers in above pic ??

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  5. Madhavan: Good to be a citizen of a country where your family/children reside; and of course to ease the hassle of getting visas for various countries - worst scenario for an Indian is to try to get a visa from a UK consulate.

    However, a little twinge of sadness is felt by some to give up the Indian passport - makes one feel like a foreigner in one's country of birth.

    Perhaps we immigrants are global citizens in many ways - adaptable and open-minded. Yes, i know there are plenty of exceptions to this statement.

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    1. Yes, we had a huge issue with that. Actually he wanted to get it so that it is less strenuous to travel to India - isn't that ironic? LOL.
      From Vancouver, the best/shortest route is through London Heathrow. At times there has been a 2 month waiting period just to get an APPOINTMENT (!!!) for a transit/tourist visa. It is outrageous! Instead we have had to go through Dubai etc which is a nightmarish long flight. Also in case any relative gets sick he may have to go at a moment's notice.
      And of course, it is easier to travel to the US without needing that pesky white card thing they staple into the passport.

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  6. Congratulations. Alot of hard work went into that, and it is a journey he should tell over and over again.

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