Why Canada, eh?
I am probably asked this question at least three times a week, even seven months later – Why Canada? Sometimes it’s somebody that will notice my accent in the lift, work cafeteria, or a sales associate – no matter where I go or who I talk to the conversation will always lead back to this question. So I decided to blog about it, why I chose to come to Canada and why I think travelling is one of the greatest adventures you can take on in your life.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss Oh, the Places you’ll Go!
One warm rainy Sunday in October 2012, Gary & I went off to a job exhibition for working abroad. Amongst the crowd were people young + old, some even with families (small children included) and I couldn’t help but think as we shuffled in between the stalls; WOW. Why did so many people want to leave Ireland? Was everybody leaving for the same reasons I was? I honestly can’t say why those people were there or why other people chose Canada but I felt the atmosphere in the room that day, the buzz of being offered a new life away from the recession with opportunities.
*Recession – A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, typical of 2 consecutive quarters.
Firstly I tried very hard to find a good job opportunity in Ireland, studying a total of 3 different courses consecutively to try to have a more diverse career option. But nothing, I even done free work! So I looked into the job opportunities in Canada – they offered numerous buying, merchandising and even sewing jobs. The second reason was the chance to live with Gary in one of the biggest cities in the world. Why not do both – build a career + life in a huge city whilst having the opportunity to travel, explore and experience all these new adventures. But the main reason why I wanted to come to Canada was to test myself and push my boundaries; you only have one life and one chance to live it.
So after speaking with the Canadian immigration officer about the prospects in Canada, we took home some information to share with our families and soon enough decided this is what we wanted. We waited impatiently (the first and only time I have ever seen Gary stressed) to begin the process and soon enough the visas were released January 2013. 6,350 2 year visas for Canada were released that month and they were all gone in four days. Yes you read that correct – four days. This year the quota has been extended to 10,700. The more people in Ireland that have the opportunity to go travel, work and experience life in a new country for two years the better. This visa has offered so much to me, the opportunity to work in my desired sector and gain as much experience as possible.
The feeling of relief when you get your visa confirmed. It wasn’t a hard process but it was tedious, for Gary & I it was the first time they had done the application online. We also chose to do it ourselves without any help from agents like go4less or USIT. This meant we had to triple check each phase to ensure no mistakes were made as this can result in a setback – which nobody wants. By doing the application we both saved at least €400 each! I would highly recommend anybody applying to do it yourself. Once our visas were confirmed we went and sourced the best flights. We ended up going to Club Travel and we bought a one way ticket. My nerves were gone – completely oblivious to the sweat tricking down my forehead the travel agent continued to ask me how much my mother would miss me, how was I going to get on without my family… not the best questions to be asking me, ha! Gary quickly signed the debit slip before I could say no!
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
It’s a very strange feeling on the morning you go to leave. The day you drive out of your garden and say bye to home, for me I also drove away from my dog sitting in the window, heartbroken isn’t even the word. There are so many emotions and feelings going on you really just feel like a bag of nerves. You’re kind of waiting for the time to come and you don’t know how you will react, I knew I was going to get upset but I was unnaturally calm. Until we walked to the boarding gate, as I held my nephew Reuben I felt the lump forming in my throat and I was off. Tears streaming down my face as I said goodbye to everyone that meant the world to me, I was so excited for everything that lay ahead but no matter how happy and excited we were, butterflies swirling – you still have that little pang of sadness. I wondered how I could try smuggle a member of my family into my carry on.
I sat on my seat for the 7 + a half hour flight and at first I was still a little blubbery, but then I took out my notebook and started to scribble, writing feelings and emotions and bucket lists and anything that really came into my mind. I started writing down quotes and phrases, rules from my book and positivity started to make its way back into my mind. During this time Gary was making his way through the drinks trolley – we all deal with things differently I guess, ha! From that very moment in that seat on that British Airways flight I made a promise to myself, to do whatever makes me happy. And I was happy, I had to make that line very clear, I was happy and I didn’t want to be in Ireland. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order for our own happiness, even though I would have easily stayed home with my family and worked 18 hours a week – was that all I wanted from life? No. So that was my line. This was also my chance to live my life the way I wanted, if for two years at least.
The idea of moving away can be a lot of mixed emotions, with all the excitement of opportunities + travelling comes the feelings of fear, nervousness, and a touch of anxiety. Without self control you can get pretty worked up very quickly about how uncertain and scary the future might be. The best thing I done was talk to my family about it, they supported me and they encouraged me when I needed it the most. For people who don’t know my mother, she’s definitely one in a million. She’s the strongest woman I know and she has never put herself before any of her kids. No matter how worried or scared she may have been for me travelling across the world, all she ever did was encourage me to take on this adventure. If she had of shown weakness I would have acted upon it, used her as an excuse not to go. But she didn’t and in the airport as she whispered into my ear ‘be safe’, she was hitting Gary in the arm and saying ‘Make sure you look after her’. All Gary got was people warning him to mind me, the Monday before my nana died she turned to us and said ‘He’s not allowed go anywhere without you when you go to Canada, d’ya hear me’ and to his word, he never has.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed).”
― Dr. Seuss Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
But from the moment we landed on Canadian soil I could feel the shift happen, all of a sudden I was strong. I had done what I never thought possible, get on a flight with a one way ticket and leave home. From that day I have never looked back and I can honestly say, seven months later I’m still as in love with the place as that first night we drove into the city. I also have a strong family, who always keep my spirits up when I need them. When the January blues begin to kick in, I can’t deny that after the excitement of Christmas and going to New York, getting engaged it can be hard to keep the spirits up. But without them even realising they have made my January that little less blue.
The first highlight of the month was the welcoming of my Cousin Leanne’s beautiful baby Layla, a little adorable princess that would make anyone smile. Secondly, Gary & I booked our flights home for a visit in June for my brother’s wedding, something we are very much looking forward too! Thirdly we ticked another off the bucket list by doing an outdoor sports – snow tubing! (Blog post coming soon) And last but not least (p.s its still only the 23rd I’m holding out for at least one other amazing thing to happen) my brother Gary signed for Crawley Town today and has been reunited with his family – which makes me very happy and jealous all at the same time, ha!
So I’ll leave it with Oasis and to anyone that’s feeling the blues.. Remember your free to be whatever you choose!