Can it really be 20 years ago today that we jumped on a plane and waved goodbye to life in the UK? Where, oh where has the time gone? February 24, 1995 will be forever etched on my mind as a milestone marking the beginning of our lives in the glorious land of Canada, and today it feels right to reminisce just a little.
I can’t tell you how many times we have been asked over the years, ‘So why did you immigrate to Canada?” And every time I shrug my shoulders and smile, knowing the answer is kinda lame but kinda true. “It was our dream as teenagers to live abroad someday.” It really was!
Why Canada? Why not. We had looked into Australia when we first got married (at aged 20 and 21), but right at the outset we made the pact that both of us had to be 100% about the move, otherwise it was NOT going to work. Especially a move spanning thousands of miles. Can I throw this piece of advice out there for any couples thinking about a major move… if one of you is unsure and unhappy— do you REALLY want to live with “I told you so” every time something sucky happens in your new home? I can’t even imagine. Anyway, I was all gung-ho-Aussie-land but Lyndon had some reservations, so we took a breath, Lyndon changed his career path, and we had a beautiful baby girl. We hadn’t given up on our dream, but knew it had to be the right time and the right place for us both. Maybe somewhere like Canada…
We were so adorably audacious! After much (pre-internet days) researching the old fashioned way in the library, subscribing to a Canadian newspaper, and generally stalking anything and anyone remotely connected with Canada, we knew this was our promised land, flowing with milk and maple syrup. We had never set foot in the country, but I saw pictures of stunning mountains and lakes and trees and SPACE everywhere, and it looked gorgeous. The cost of living was cheap enough that I could be a stay-at-home mom, and at that time it was the number one country in the world to live in. Number ONE! We were sold.
We had to amass enough “points” based on age, education, profession, and suitability to be eligible to apply for immigration, and then had a very scary interview at Canada Place in London. This was a huge, life-changing decision that we didn’t take lightly. It was a chance to follow our dream, and we were young, bold, brave and adventurous. And maybe a little crazy. Could have had something to do with my full-on ‘Amy Grant 90’s’ hair phase— I was invincible with a mane like that:
However, as Christians, we only wanted to uproot ourselves and settle in a faraway land if it was God’s will. Ah, that’s always the tricky bit, right? We love that verse about God giving us the desires of our heart, and we pray that ultimately His will be done, but we also tag on PULEEEEZE let it happen- I’ll do anything! We are so sure in our beings that we are on the right track— it’s amazing what we can wangle all by ourselves. I’ve been there. But in this instance, we didn’t wangle and we didn’t want to get on that plane if it was outside God’s plan for our young family, so we prayed earnestly every step of the way. So many hurdles to leap over and hoops to jump through, and numerous roadblocks, which could easily have stopped the process at any time. Yet it all unfolded seamlessly before us, like a curtain gradually opening to reveal the first sight of our new homeland. Oh Canada!
Here we are, 20 years later! Our little girl who unwittingly embarked on our adventure with us when she just 2 years old, is now married and living on the other side of this fair country, embracing a very different culture! We have 2 Canadian teen boys at home, and an English bulldog (keeping the heritage real) and still live in the “gem” of the Okanagan— Kelowna, B.C. I pinch myself sometimes when I drive to get groceries alongside the lake, surrounded by mountains and fresh, clean air. We’ve only scraped the surface of seeing all this country has to offer, but that’s what makes Canada so special. A superabundance of natural beauty, wide open space beyond an English girl’s giddiest dreams, the friendliest and most polite people you could ever have the joy of meeting, and freedom. So blessed. It takes my breath away.
Plus we are real Canadians now (only took us 19½ years— that’s a whole other story), so we can eat poutine regularly (should we get the urge), apologize even more than is required, and throw in the occasional EH. Eh?
No regrets. Resting in this always:
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:9-10)
And so here’s to the last 20 years of Canadian living, and God willing— here’s to many, many, many more!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers: