I am an American thinking of emigrating to Canada. I am liberal, anti-war, gay, and Jewish, so you can imagine how I no longer feel I belong here.I found your blog and I am very interested in learning why some Canadians have chosen to leave Canada. I look forward to any comments you care to post.
First off, a warm welcome to this anonymous poster. Secondly, the question posed is a very good one and definitely deserves to be promoted to an actual post. As such, this post is an opportunity for expats to respond with their own stories about why they chose to move away from Canada. Judging from the responses in this rudimentary poll, most of us followed our hearts and moved away for love.
There are two blogs that I would recommend to this anonymous poster, We Move To Canada and Life Without Borders. Laura from WMTC just moved from New York to Canada. Like you, her move was politically based. She has a wonderful how-to section on her blog which would be a great resource to bookmark. Mason and Nicholas from LWB are in the process of immigrating to Canada from the United States. Their blog provides a chronicle of that process and would also be a great resource to you.
As for my response on why I chose to emigrate from Canada, I will post it in the comments section. If any other expats are willing to share what lead them to move away from Canada, they are welcome to post as well. :)
I had no intention of ever leaving Canada. In fact, I loved my country so much that I chose to earn Canadian based degrees. Upon graduating from university, I was struck by Cupid's arrow and I fell in love with an American.
Due to the nature of my husband's career, there was no way that he would be able to move away from the US, so we compromised with a deal for me to move to the United States for "x" number of years and then we would eventually move back to Canada.
It has become daily now that I think about moving back to Canada. Having now been living in the US for a number of years, I find myself very different from most of the people that I meet. Those differences are not so much the result of who I am as an individual, but the direct result of the ideology of having being raised Canadian. Someday, I hope to return.
I'm also here in the US because of my husband's career. He's an engineer in a very narrow field (chemical/enviromental/process control/optimization/software development) and his current position is in NJ.
He's a Canadian too, but in the 90's all the jobs for his specialty were in the US. Now the company he works for is having a hard time hiring anyone, particularly any Americans as there are few who are studying this stuff. Acutally, all the people in his office are Swedes or Canucks, minus the receptionist and the accountant.
Anyway, we are here on a temporary VISA and plan to get back to Canada as soon as we can. I'm praying for a move this spring, and I think I'll go back home with or without the hubby at this point - he can follow us at a later date if he wishes.
I didn't even know how Canadian I really was until I moved away. I miss home every day and I am incredibly sad to be living here.
"I didn't even know how Canadian I really was until I moved away. I miss home every day and I am incredibly sad to be living here."
I totally understand what you are saying, Kim. Prior to moving here, I really did not think that it was going to be that difficult. Afterall, there does not appear to be that many differences between Canadians and Americans. A few years here, however, has taught me otherwise. I know that my heart is in Canada and I really miss being surrounded by those who share the same ideals.
Like you, I am anxious to return home. I just feel like I have never put down any roots here. Maybe one day that will change, but for now I feel caught in limbo.
I moved away from Canada because of my enormous student loans and a lack of available opportunities to earn a living that would allow me to make reasonable payments on them in a city in Canada. I tried for a couple of years, then got frustrated and have been in Japan for over a year now teaching English in a very rural area. I will finish my second year, and then return to Canada, because although I am pleased to be making bigger payments on my loans, I really miss home - the people, the comfort, the openness...
I didn't think I'd ever leave Canada, and admit to looking at the US with a degree of distain for the first couple of decades of my life. Then I fell in love with an American who was doing a brief school internship at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, and a month later, I found myself living in the US. That was 15 years ago next January. I was on my way back to Canada about 8 years ago when the first girlie and I parted ways, but ack, I met another American girl and I'm still here!
The first few years of living away from Canada were tough, and I felt like an outsider. I'm certainly comfortable living here now, although not a day passes that I don't have some reminder of being "different". My parents had to live in the US for 5 years because my father was transferred, and my poor mother just never adjusted at all (even though they lived in beautiful southern California). They moved back to Canada as soon as my Dad retired.
Flippy and I threatened to move back to Canada because of the results of the 2004 election, but so far we haven't followed through. I think it would be weird for me, because I haven't even been able to visit Canada (green card issues) since 1994. We need to start with a few visits, then I'd see if it felt "okay". I'm used to having access to more in the US -- I can go to any doctor I chose whenever I want to, for example. The healthcare issue is the biggest thing that worries me about moving back, although if we did move, Flippy and I could get married and then fight like real married couples do.
Thanks expat for the links. I moved to Canada just over a year ago now. I'm not a PR just yet, but I am on a work permit here and plan on staying for good. I hope to start my PR soon actually, but I'm just waiting on boyfriend to make things a bit more permanent. I've been out of the US since 2001 and I always have a hard time even visiting. I much prefer other parts of the world.
Thanks for the responses everyone! I sure do appreciate you sharing your stories.
It is reassuring to know that I am not the only one who feels as I do. Some days are difficult and I struggle with this constant feeling of having been completely stripped of my identity. It is tough starting over in a new place, especially when you are made aware of just how "different" you really are.
And Flippy, you are indeed correct, some of you Americans are completely irresistable! ;) LOL
Wow! This is "Anonymous" again -- What a wonderful response to my post. The posts are very helpful and I stayed up into the wee hours looking at the Life Without Borders blog and others I have found as a result of your help.
I'm not sure if I'm too late to add, but I had a completely different reason for leaving Canada: the search for something new. I had lived over 30 years in Canada, going to school, grad school, and starting a career, but one day I just felt the need to stop playing it safe, to see what the rest of the world had to offer.
I've ended up in Australia and love it - yet its still a struggle (as Expat would know reading my blog) And although Canada is a wonderful, beautiful country that I still consider to be home, I'm not quite ready to go back yet. But I suspect, one day I will.
One last little comment - there is definitely something about this Canadian/American connection because here I am in Australia yet I've met an American. Go figure.
Welcome back Anonymous! Glad that we could help you out. If you have any other questions, just let us know and we will help you the best that we can. :)
Lala, I have always admired your courage in just picking up everything and moving to a foreign land on your own. There are plenty of challenges (ie. massive bugs!) but it is very clear that you love your new homeland. How funny that you ended up meeting an American in Australia. Flippy is totally right about Yanks being completely irristable. LOL
It's interesting to see the number of comments from other Canucks about feeling somewhat displaced while living in the US.
Back in 2000 I worked in the US for about 6 months. I got to come home (to Vancouver) every 3 weeks for 1 1/2 days before flying back to Philadelphia. It nearly destroyed my relationship with my wife.
We have just recently (02Jul05) moved to Connecticut as my wife was offered a transfer with her company. Things here have changed dramatically since I was working (pre 9/11). Things like getting a Social Security number that took one day before took 6 weeks.
I started a blog for friends and family as an easier way of keeping in touch with everyone. It's nice to see that you have created this little community for Canadian expats! Thanks.
I am actually quite surprised by how many expats feel displaced. I had been struggling with that feeling for quite some time and finally decided to start this blog as therapy for myself. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my thoughts. ;)
You are definitely correct. The United States changed dramatically after 9/11. Through the immigration process, I have seen many of these changes first hand. Like you, we have found that it is now taking a lot longer for things to process. It has become very frustrating.
I hope that this stint in the US goes better for you than the last! I think that it will make all the difference in the world to have your family together under one roof! :)