I first visited Canada in 2009. I had just graduated with my B Sc degree, and my parents gave me the opportunity to see a new place before I plunged into the trials and tribulations of being a minute blip in the big bad world of “those who work for a living”.
Since, at that time, my uncle and aunt lived in Ottawa, Ontario – that is where I went. Of course there was no question of me traipsing around on my own all over Canada – my family would die from shock and I would probably, like Bilbo, end up trying to out-talk a dragon if left to my own devices.
And so, I stayed there for a short month, and enjoyed myself thoroughly, seeing places I had only heard of before: the magnificent Niagara Falls, the carnival that is Clifton Hill, the quaint French-ness of Montreal, the light show at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, and so much more. All of which left a lasting impression on me. As I returned home, I thought to myself that someday, perhaps, I would like to live in this beautiful country.
Many years passed by, and though my uncle had, now and again, told me to apply for immigration, I had put it off, for some reason or the other. I already lived in a country that was majestic (South Africa), and I had a job that I enjoyed (except when we had to stay awake over 48 hours at a time testing and fixing software).
But in 2015, I changed directions both in my job and my life. Although I loved being a Software Developer, I wanted to do something else, something more. And so I got myself a CELTA certification, and starting teaching at a local school. Around this time, I also met Z. In June 2016, I got the opportunity to come to Dubai, UAE in a teaching position. Of course I took it. And Z, although certainly NOT happy with this decision of mine, supported me, and once we were married in August 2016, he joined me in Dubai.
But neither of us were happy here. Too soon, the brilliant glitter of this futuristic city became a glare which we could no longer tolerate. We longed for a place that was similar to our home, where you saw the change in the seasons in the colour of the sky, or could take a walk under green trees and shade, or feel the sand between your toes as you watched waves crash on the shore. Maybe we sound like a couple of old-timers, but we had learnt through this experience that city life was not for us. So somewhere along the latter half of 2017, we decided that, if and when we got the chance, we would try to immigrate to a country that would give us the things we missed about our home, but also provide the benefits that come with living in a more developed country.
We settled on 2 choices: Canada or New Zealand. We started researching both, looking at the pros and cons, consulting with people (family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances… sometimes people in the street haha) who had lived and still do live there, making lists of costs and benefits and opportunities and way of life, and talking and talking and talking with each other about what we ought to do. But it was all nebulous, ideas and dreams and words, with no definite plan. Our family were hesitant but supportive of our plans to immigrate, and did what they could to help us find ways to achieve it.
And then, at the beginning of February this year (2018), God took a hand and pointed us in the direction we should take.
A cousin of mine sent us a link about information sessions that would be held in the UAE by the province of New Brunswick, with the view of “recruiting” people to move to Canada, and to New Brunswick in particular. We attended the session held in Dubai in March, and learnt about the province and the opportunities for our skill sets and the process. For the first time, I felt really excited – and it seemed to me that this was what we had been waiting for. A sign showing us which way to go.
Z was less optimistic. He usually is the more of the realist between the two of us. But over the next few days, I worked on convincing him. I’m good at that.
And so, Canada it was. Land of Maple Leaves and Many Lakes. And snow. Lots and lots of snow. Which is Z’s main reason for wanting to go to Canada, by the way. But seriously, we both felt this was a chance we should not let pass us by. So even if it meant that we had to start again from the bottom up, we were willing to take that chance.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton