A UPS man arrived at a country house in snow-covered Ontario, only to have a strange woman race up to him with wild eyes. He read the name on the thick envelope and she cried “Yes!” and tore the envelope from his gloved hands. He convinced her she had to first sign for the package before ripping it open, then grinned like a hero while she pressed the package to her chest and exclaimed how happy she was. She would see her family. She would be home for Christmas.
That woman was me and the envelope held my passport with a visa.
I booked a flight for two days later. Now that I’ve returned to Scotland, my six-week sojourn in Canada is a fond memory. With my residence permit safely in my possession I can get my life started. I no longer feel like a tourist in my own home. I’m a local, and proud. When people disparage Aberdeen as the concrete city, I am quick to leap to its defense, pointing out the architecture, the parks the sea,even the new bypass. Having taken a long road trip to Wiltshire, I can safely say the traffic here is much better, especially for a Canadian like me who is used to wide roads and comprehensible traffic rules.
I had no inkling of how traumatic (and expensive) the move here would be, but now that life is settling into its rhythms, the memory of the process is fading. After all, the fickle nature of memory is essential to human survival. Otherwise women wouldn’t give birth more than once, and then where would we be?
Now for the next challenge, using my hard-won work visa and getting a job!