Please welcome American turned Canadian, author Nicole Chardenet. I asked her to write about her experience of becoming a Canadian citizen, then I braced myself. You see, Nicole was interviewed in my author series last year, and her answers had me in stitches, as does her post here.
She pokes fun at everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE—Republicans, Canadians, the Irish, and more … so please … pour yourself a vodka or a beer and enjoy the musings of this very funny lady.
* * * *
~by Nicole Chardenet
When Canadians ask me why I moved from the US to Canada nine years ago, I tell them, “Better beer.”
If they’re Republicans I tell them, “Better healthcare and all the damn socialism.”
And then I tell them what we do all day is smoke pot and have gay sex. I love messing with Republicans! They’re so naïve.
“Why would you move to Canada from the US?” asked one early Canadian friend. “I’d move there in a heartbeat if I could, that’s where all the money is!”
Well, yeah, back in 2005 that might have been true…but nine years later I’m making a lot more money than I was in Connecticut and I’ve moved up the food chain professionally. And, the US has gone to @#$% since I left.
Truth is, I can no longer remember anymore why I moved. All I can tell you is it seemed like a good idea at the time.
While I watched the US banking system crash and burn like Charlie Sheen on a three-day coke bender, as I lived and worked in the country with the most stable banking system in the world (who knew?) it seemed one of the all-time greatest decisions ever made in the history of the world.
Now, when people ask me if I’ll ever go back I think, “Only if the US government outlaws the Republican Party and makes it legal for decent, intelligent Americans to feed them to rabid orcas.”
The whole thing really started when I read on a news site about a dozen years ago that Ireland wanted to become the Silicon Valley of Europe. They encouraged immigration by techies and investors, and since I was in a very bad place in my life personally, I decided to apply. Unfortunately, Ireland had extremely high standards for immigrants and also favoured EU members, so I never even filled out the application. My skills were too generalized for their high-and-mighty selves. I was so mad I didn’t speak to Ireland for years, until their whole economy went belly-up.
Meanwhile, a longtime email friend near Toronto kept urging me to move here, enticing me with an offer to share his house if we split the bills. That sounded like an awesome deal, except for the part where I’d have to move to – Canada? Really? The True North strong and sleep-inducing? Whose flag was – what, I don’t know, a pot leaf or something? Whose history was – well, did they even have one? I mean, who knew anything about Canada? I’d visited relatives in Montreal when I was a kid but my buddy lived near Toronto. I’d been there once before, on a day trip with my family when I was in university. I remembered Toronto as clean, with a beer factory and decent-looking subsidized housing.
I scheduled a reconnaissance trip, then had to reschedule because of the SARS crisis. When I became reasonably certain Toronto wouldn’t kill me, I discovered I liked it. Around this time, things started to get ugly in US politics with the American invasion of Iraq and then later the Iraqi prison scandals, and I began to feel uncomfortably like I’d better get the hell out of Dodge before the Republicans passed a law herding all liberals, homos, and evolution supporters into Jesus camps where we’d be subjected to Mao-style “re-education” efforts, except with more crosses and bigger guns and hair.
Long story short, I filled out an application longer than a Rob Ford police report as Canada wanted to know absolutely everything about me including every single address at which I’d lived, ever, some information about my ex even though I’d made it clear he would NOT be joining me, and, of course, the requisite four rolled-up Tim Horton’s cups to prove that I did intend to become a Real True Loyal Canadian. (Fortunately we had Tim’s in Connecticut).
After that I had to visit the police station to get fingerprinted so I could schlep my grubby mitts off to the FBI so they could run a check on me to make sure I wasn’t a terrorist, fugitive, international jewel thief or close personal friend of Robert Mugabe. Later, I had to visit a special Canadian-approved doctor to make sure I wasn’t trying to sneak any expensive diseases into the country. Then I crossed my fingers and fervently hoped that Canada had way lower standards than Ireland.
It did, and my temporary visa arrived a little under a year and a half later. I stuffed everything in a U-Haul and crossed the border, which wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as I’d thought it would be, as they praised me on the penmanship of the most anal-retentive list of personal goods they’d ever seen, and I think I scored some extra points for having a French name. They didn’t even ask about the sword I brought nor did they want to see proof that my cat’s rabies shots were up-to-date. (Which just goes to show you the Glenn Beck-head and Faux Newsie critics of Canada’s spongey border are right – any old terrorist can cross with a tetanus-laden rusty weapon and a foaming, frothing housepet anytime they want! Fear us, O Canada!)
Once I was officially over and stamped I heaved a sigh of relief. The Republicans couldn’t get me anymore and I was turning my life around.
It hasn’t been a complete bed of poppies, of course, but I can honestly say the last nine years of my life have been the most stress-free since I was pre-school.
Thank you Canada, for being so good to me. And for Nanaimo bars. Canada’s greatest gift to Western civilization!
* * * *
Connect to Nicole
* * * *
If you would like to be a guest blogger, please comment below and let me know. The goal is to highlight YOUR writing. Connect to me via any of my networks. Twitter and email are best.
While you’re at it, show Nicole some love in the comments, will ya? Isn’t she adorable?
* * * *