We recently celebrated one year in Canada, and after sharing our story with so many people, and going back to it, talking it through again and again with each other, I decided to (finally) write it out. Let's start from the beginning...
Lucas and I met in 2004, in my hometown in Brazil, and we got married in 2006. In those 2 years he learned of my desire to live abroad, and I discovered that he had wanted to move to Canada since he was 19 years old.
Shortly before our marriage Lucas and one of his close friends randomly bumped in to each other in the city and he told Lucas that they were moving to Canada, and he could show him how to do it.
That planted the proverbial seed.
We talked... we listened to their process and struggle. We talked to them, asked questions, read every website we could find with information, attended seminars done by the Canadian government in Brazil, talked to other people who had come... the whole nine yards. We did our homework.
We got married, started our life together, and all the while we talked about this dream... this desire to move to Canada, have a different life, experience a different way of life, different culture, different seasons, different... well, almost everything.
It's not that we were unhappy in Brazil, but we had both always wanted to have this experience, and it seemed to be the perfect time. We were newly married, no kids, no big obligations we would be leaving behind. We could move and live in the most modest of lifestyles, work with whatever we had to, and start from scratch.
I had prayed for years about this, and had a deeply rooted belief that this would someday, somehow happen. I knew in my heart that God had placed this in my "want bucket" and that finding a husband that wanted this so much was one more way we fit so well together.
We talked to our families, we talked to our friends, and we received immense support (and many "Oh, I want to go too!").
So in 2007, we decided to apply.
Oh, the nerves. You read the forms, you fill out the forms, you read again. You check all the spelling, all the dates, all the information one, two, three, five times. Even the information like "first name", you triple check. It's borderline ridiculous, but you don't want to get anything wrong. You pay the sizeable fee. You send.
And you simultaneously (figuratively) start breathing again, but stop. The waiting is so d&*% hard!
If you have never done this process, you can't conceive how much of it is absolutely out of your control. You control how much money you have, your education, your language skills, your work skills. Those are things that you have invested in your lifetime and those are things that you bring to the table.
But there is SO much more that you simply don't control. Post offices, Canadian immigration laws, your age, job offers, how quickly your assets will liquidate (if you need to), ticket prices, etc etc etc.
It's a lot. And while you're waiting... there's not much you can do. We will forever defend that preparing yourself (languages, saving money, reading) is never wasted, but you should do that stuff regardless of a process, so the process of Yes or No itself... totally out of your hands.
So we waited. We knew things were changing in the immigration laws while we waited. And that we had no control over that.
One day we got a letter in the mail. I'd love to say what day it was and what it looked like but I don't have the foggiest idea. What I do remember is sitting on the couch of our second apartment, a brown couch, I remember it was warm, I was wearing my favourite at home outfit, I sat on the couch armrest with my feet on the seat, and Lucas sat in the middle seat. We opened the letter (honestly) fully expecting a Yes.
And there we saw a check. A check? Confusing.
Oh, I see, they gave us back our money. But why????
Then we read the letter, with all the perfectly politely worded sentences saying that they regretted to inform that our application was being returned, and that we were not refused (per se), but we no longer fit in the new (yes, things changed while we were waiting) structure and we were welcome to try again when we did.
At this point Lucas' dad was struggling with some health issues and we were becoming more involved in his care. I remember Lucas looking at me and saying: "I don't know if we'll ever be able to go".* Needless to say... I was floored. In a moment my dreams collapsed.
No, I'm not being dramatic. In a single moment I felt like so much I had been so certain of just slipped through my fingers. I felt trapped. I felt mad. I felt sad.
*So you don't think Lucas is mean, I feel the need to clarify this. :) After a long time we revisited this. He had no idea what I had read in to that statement. He said it and had absolutely no idea how devastated I was. And I had no idea that that was just one of those male comments, the ones they make that seem final but aren't. Keep in mind that this was during our second year of marriage, so communication nuances were still pretty new to us, and what he later explained was that he just said that... it's not that he was giving up, or didn't want to go, but his dad was not doing well and he felt overwhelmed with what that meant, and thinking of reapplying just seemed daunting.