We Have Landed

Here’s how it went.

They say that when you are deprived of sleep, you tem­porar­i­ly lose some short-term mem­o­ry, so maybe that’s the rea­son that that some of my trip to Buf­fa­lo is lit­tle fuzzy. Here is what I do remember:

I left on Tues­day morn­ing and flew first to Chica­go. I knew I was back in an Amer­i­can air­port imme­di­ate­ly as I entered and heard that hor­ri­ble Tex­an wom­an’s voice you now hear in all US air­ports (“THENK-YOO for your coop­er­a­tion”). The longer your lay­over, the more times you have to hear it. I’m now pos­i­tive that one or more cir­cles of Hell include her announce­ments at reg­u­lar inter­vals. My con­nect­ing flight to Buf­fa­lo was delayed sev­er­al times because of mechan­i­cal trou­ble, and we switched gates no less than 3 times, but we even­tu­al­ly got a new plane and I arrived at the Buf­fa­lo air­port about an hour late, 11 PM. I checked into the near­by Sleep Inn and got some­thing to eat at a near­by Den­ny’s and then tried to sleep. I was still on Pacif­ic Time and ner­vous about what was to come the next day, so that was hard to do.

The next morn­ing, I called a taxi and left for down­town at about 7:45 AM. The scenery along the high­way and near the HSBC Cen­ter was uni­form­ly grey and depress­ing, with many emp­ty ware­hous­es, and clus­ters of neigh­bor­hood hous­es all look­ing like they were hud­dling togeth­er for warmth. It had snowed the night before, but less than an inch. If this was to be the place where I was to make a good-bye of sorts to the US, I’d be hard pressed to find a bleak­er spot.

The cab dropped me off by the 30-sto­ry HSBC Cen­ter, the tallest build­ing in down­town Buf­fa­lo. The Cana­di­an Con­sulate was on the 30th floor. Even though it was only about 8:10 and the Con­sulate had not opened yet, there was already a line of about 25 peo­ple in the lob­by. A short, brisk woman with a strong Upstate New York accent (which I rec­og­nized from the days I lived in near­by Rochester, and to my ears is still the aur­al equiv­a­lent of drink­ing a glass of dis­tilled vine­gar) gave us each a stick­er and herd­ed us into two groups; my group was sent to a glass cor­ral a few hun­dred feet away. She then took the first group, lined up by the wall near the ele­va­tors, up to the 30th floor and then returned in a few moments for us for the same. When we reached the Con­sulate, she care­ful­ly and pre­cise­ly direct­ed us to rows of chairs at var­i­ous places around a win­dow­less wait­ing room. The room was bare except for these plas­tic chairs, arranged in rows as if view­ing the tele­vi­sion high on the wall at the front, which was show­ing non-stop CNN cov­er­age of the death of Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford. As peo­ple were called to either the recep­tion win­dow or one of the cashier win­dows, we shift­ed our seat­ing, mov­ing over, return­ing to a dif­fer­ent row or leav­ing. I cal­cu­lat­ed about 75 peo­ple who were dealt with in total. The admin­is­tra­tor woman (who’s name I nev­er learned), gave a spiel every time she returned with anoth­er set of peo­ple until 10 min­utes before 11:00 AM, at which point the Con­sulate would take no more busi­ness. We were to put the stick­er we’d got­ten in the lob­by on the back of the card with our num­ber we’d receive from recep­tion, men were oblig­ed to give their seats to women, there was no leav­ing this room dur­ing the day, no use of cell phones, etc.

Dur­ing the wait, I spoke to neigh­bors sit­ting near­by from Mex­i­co, Hon­duras, Eng­land and India. I did not meet anoth­er Amer­i­can, although I sus­pect there were a few. At about 9:30, I pro­vid­ed my com­plet­ed forms, pho­tos and fee of $980 CAD to the recep­tion win­dow. At 11:30 was called back to receive my com­plet­ed mate­ri­als. There, past­ed into Pam’s and my pass­port, was a visa that could be used one time, allow­ing me to ‘Land’ in Cana­da as a per­ma­nent res­i­dent (which I would be doing the next day). After some best wish­es and con­grat­u­la­tions exchanged with my fel­low Immi­grants, I called the cab from a pay phone (know­ing before about the no cell phone rule, I had left mine at the motel) and returned to the Sleep Inn. I took a chilly walk to anoth­er near­by restau­rant (an updat­ed Greek Din­er), where I had a huge plate of meat­loaf and pota­toes. My body had no clue what time zone I was in, and I essen­tial­ly had noth­ing to do until I was to leave, at 6 AM the next morn­ing. Since a flight at 4 AM required me get­ting up at 3, that was the equiv­a­lent of 1 AM Van­cou­ver time, and I decid­ed to try and get to bed as ear­ly as I could stand. After talk­ing to Pam and my broth­er to share the good news that I had accom­plished my tasks, I lis­tened to my iPod and tried to sleep.

The next morn­ing I took the first flight to Wash­ing­ton’s Dulles Air­port, made the tight con­nec­tion to the Van­cou­ver flight. Anoth­er delay because of equip­ment prob­lems, 6 hours, 3 in-flight movies and one snack-box lat­er, I arrived at the sun­ny (!) Van­cou­ver air­port at about 1:30 PM local time.

The wait­ing and paper­work weren’t over yet. After fol­low­ing the usu­al long snaking line through cus­toms, I pre­sent­ed my mate­ri­als at a spe­cial room for Immi­grant Land­ings, and learned that my Per­ma­nent Res­i­den­cy ID card would be mailed to me in about 6 weeks. The staff was very friend­ly and wel­com­ing, and I mar­veled at how one girl man­aged to speak about 4 or 5 dif­fer­ent lan­guages, includ­ing Hin­di, Can­tonese, French and Taga­log. I tried call­ing Pam sev­er­al times, but some­how her phone was turned off or not receiv­ing me. Nev­er­the­less, I caught a cab home and col­lapsed. Kind of an anti­cli­max, but that’s the way these things go, I suppose.

The next day, Pam took off from work, rent­ed a car and drove to the US bor­der, and after a cou­ple of hours of wait­ing in the line of cars and the pre­req­ui­site U‑Turn from the US side, pre­sent­ed her paper­work in much the same way that I had when I land­ed (small ‘L’). We both should now receive our ID cards some­where around the begin­ning to mid­dle of February.

So ends our jour­ney, and we now have the right to per­ma­nent­ly call the coun­try of Cana­da our home. In a few years we will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to become full cit­i­zens, which we intend to do. I can’t say that I feel any dif­fer­ent now (Pam declared when she returned from her trip to the bor­der that she felt ‘Land­ed’), but we’re both look­ing toward the New Year of 2007 with antic­i­pa­tion and excite­ment. The months of wait­ing and putting off plan­ning are over. It’s offi­cial: We’re now here to stay.

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14 Replies to “We Have Landed”

  1. Con­grat­u­la­tions on your Land­ing! It has been inter­est­ing to read about your progress, as I filed an appli­ca­tion for per­ma­nent res­i­dence this past fall. I’m still liv­ing in the U.S., and I sup­pose I still have months to wait before I hear from the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment. What types of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with CIC did you have between the time you filed your com­plet­ed appli­ca­tion and the time you were noti­fied that you could Land?

  2. David,

    My part­ner — also David — has men­tioned your blog on numer­ous occa­sions. I myself have not thor­ough­ly read all your posts, but plan to soon.

    Con­grats on PR sta­tus — we can’t wait to get ours, hope­ful­ly with­in the first six months of ’07. Looks like we’re neigh­bours of sorts as we have a tiny stra­ta in the West End across from the Coast Plaza Hotel.

    Hope to be in con­tact soon, and con­grats again.

    PS: Did check out your post, re: cheap wine. We’ve dis­cov­ered Back Alley Wineworks on Davie where we have made a few brews of our own. Actu­al­ly, they’re quite good, and a lot less expen­sive than the retail bottles .…

  3. Thanks for the con­grats, Paul.

    To answer your ques­tion re. com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the CIC in the peri­od between fil­ing our com­plet­ed appli­ca­tion and the time we were noti­fied we could land, we received sev­er­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions regard­ing prob­lems with my wife’s fin­ger­prints, and also, they noticed that the loca­tions for places she had lived were iden­ti­cal to mine (which they cor­rect­ly real­ized was an error and we or our lawyer had mis­tak­en­ly sent a copy of my res­i­dences attached to her appli­ca­tion — easy to do when you have so much paper­work to do).

    Aside from these com­mu­ni­ca­tions, we did­n’t learn much about our sta­tus. I believe it is pos­si­ble, with a case num­ber, to check on your progress online at http://services3.cic.gc.ca/ecas/ECAS.jsp.
    Best of luck with your appli­ca­tion; The only fur­ther advice I can offer is that you have to have tons of patience. I had to find new reser­voirs of it.

    West End Bound — Glad to hear that you’ve made it, and it sounds like you will have some­thing to cel­e­brate as well. You are cer­tain­ly in a great spot for restau­rants and walks on the Eng­lish Bay Beach! Thanks very much for the tip about the Back Alley Wineworks. I’ve heard from sev­er­al folks, includ­ing a co-work­er, that the brew/bot­tle-it-your­self wine busi­ness is a lot bet­ter, and much cheap­er than the retail sit­u­a­tion. I’m def­i­nite­ly going to make check­ing out this one of my New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions (I always make my Res­o­lu­tions easy ones to fol­low — One of these past year’s was ‘Eat more choco­late that’s over 70%’, osten­si­bly because that’s when the med­ical ben­e­fits are sup­posed to kick in.) Look for­ward to hear­ing from you soon.

  4. Glad to hear that you’ve made it

    Well, we actu­al­ly haven’t made it yet, as we are still spend­ing most of the time in Flori­da while await­ing PR sta­tus. After we receive it, we will spend the major­i­ty of the time there in Van­cou­ver. We still need to sell prop­er­ties we have here in the States and with the cur­rent real estate mar­ket, that could take some time.

    If you are OK with it, email me and we can exchange con­tact info — I’m sure you can be a wealth of infor­ma­tion for us in our upcom­ing move, and it would be great to share expe­ri­ences with you and Pam. (Not to men­tion a glass of wine or two when we’re up there!)

  5. Wel­come to Cana­da from a Land­ed Dane.

    If and when you become Cana­di­an cit­i­zens, can you retain your US cit­i­zen­ship also? I under­stand that var­i­ous coun­tries treat the sit­u­a­tion differently.


  6. Hi Jan,
    If you become a Cana­di­an cit­i­zen, you can keep your US cit­i­zen­ship, but the US does­n’t rec­og­nize the Cana­di­an cit­i­zen­ship. I guess that’s how they get away for tax­ing me on my Cana­di­an earn­ings (and why many Amer­i­cans in Europe who have dual cit­i­zen­ship are now con­sid­er­ing renounc­ing their US cit­i­zen­ship because the tax rates imposed on them have just tripled this year thanks to Bush and the pre­vi­ous Repub­li­can Congress).

  7. hey david! yay! you made it! what a jour­ney! let’s cel­e­brate at the next blog­gers meet­ing, i’ll buy you a shot of the good stuff …

    con­grat­u­la­tions also to your wife, she of the sub­tle fingertips.

  8. Con­grats David and Pam! I’m so stoked that you are here to stay. Good peo­ple like you are what make Cana­da great. Wel­come (offi­cial­ly) to your new home. Some week­end when you’re not busy we should get some peo­ple togeth­er, put on touques, and go drink beer while we watch a hock­ey game.

  9. Con­grat­u­al­tions! Great news that you are here to stay. Home is always were you make it.
    Jan’s ques­tion is inter­est­ing. My wife is Dan­ish and can only have it or Cana­di­an cit­i­zen­ship. Den­mark won’t rec­og­nize her Cana­di­an cit­i­zen­ship (if she ever gets one) and yet our two sons are able to have dual cit­i­zen­ship only because they were born after Jan­u­ary 1, 1979. There does­n’t seem to be much log­ic as to how coun­tries decide. It would seem nor­mal that you could main­tain both with­out any oth­er addi­tion­al subtleties.

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