Steffi: First it was love, then it was home

When I started my Canada adventure in May 2013, I would never have thought that I would call this country my home one day. Back then I entered the country with a Work and Travel visa. I actually only wanted to stay for one year, enjoy my freedom and go back to my familiar surroundings in Germany.

 

During my flight I met Stephan. He was sitting next to me on the plane. I didn’t want to talk. But if he wouldn’t have talked to me, I probably would have slept the whole flight. I was super excited and I blamed myself how I could have such a stupid idea like travelling to Canada all by myself.

 

But then he began to talk about his experiences in Canada and my concerns were gone and his whole appearance made me calm down. Suddenly I didn’t regret anything and although Stephan and I talked about god and the world and although there was already some attraction, we should see each other only 7 months later.

 

I first did my own thing, spent 2 weeks in Vancouver, did a road trip with two completely crazy guys through British Columbia and Alberta and eventually worked on a Animal Rescue Farm in Southern Alberta for 3 months.

 

There, I fell in love with the prairies and the vastness of this province. To me there was no place more beautiful. After that I went to parts of the USA, flew to Hawaii, San Francisco, L.A., Las Vegas and Alabama and finally in the Canadian province Nova Scotia where I met the most warmhearted people in Canada.

 

Finally, I was free and that was exactly what I had been missing. The whole time that I was travelling, I thought a lot about my life in Germany. Was I really that happy like I thought? My job was on hold but did I really want to go back?

 

What I knew was that in Germany my best friends were waiting for me and wanted me to come home after one year.

 

But then Stephan contacted me and wanted me to know that he would stay in Canada permanently and that he would be happy to see me again. It didn’t take long and I found myself in a huge emotional chaos that would be disappear 3 years later.

 

I met Stephan again at the end of December 2013 and everything went really quick. I fell in love with him and all of the sudden I didn’t know anymore what to do. Leave or stay? I had 4 months left to find out and then what?

 

I actually didn’t want to stay in Canada. Too big was my yearning for my family and friends and I had reached the point that Germany didn’t seem so bad. Maybe that was because Stephan settled down in Victoria on Vancouver Island and I didn’t feel comfortable there at all.

 

There were so many trees. I hated every single tree and missed the vastness of Alberta. But I was in love and as long as you are in love you just accept the situation.

 

Although I was struggling on the inside, I looked for a job to get the opportunity to stay in Canada another year. After that I would have to go back to Germany anyways because there wouldn’t have been another visa that I could have applied for, because my training as occupational therapist is not recognized in Canada.

 

Stephan wanted me to stay but only if I didn’t want to stay only for him. I stayed another year and kept quiet about the fact that I only stayed because of him.

 

My parents were, of course, not amused and my mother panicked that I would never come back. My best friend cried on the phone the whole time and I had so much pressure on my shoulders.

 

Suddenly I didn’t know anymore where I belonged to and that feeling stayed the whole second year. I suddenly was far away from enjoying my life, but my love for Stephan kept me from leaving, although I would have left if he wouldn’t have been there.

 

In December 2014 I flew home for 2 weeks and after that I finally had to make a decision. Everyone wanted to know if I would come back to Germany or if I would stay in Canada, but I knew nothing.

 

My second visa ended in May 2015. The whole situation made me feel torn apart. Not knowing what would come next burdened me more and more and in the end there was only one possibility how I could stay. Stephan had to sponsor me.

 

He already had a permanent residency and we had been living together for one year and that counted as common law spouse. The downside: I wasn’t allowed to leave Canada for 2 years. I was captured and somehow I wasn’t.

 

Canada is a big country and I hadn’t seen everything. But still, the thought to not seeing my family and friends for 2 years was not very exciting. I told myself over and over again: “It’s only 2 years of your life”.

 

When I applied for permanent residency in April 2015, I felt comfortable for the first time. Although I wasn’t free, I was able to enjoy my life on the island.

 

Vancouver Island was not that bad anymore. I enjoyed our life on the boat (we live on a sailboat), the uncountable trips on the ocean, friends visited me from Germany.

 

 

Everything was great until I received the message in August 2015 that I wouldn’t get a temporary work permit because I hadn’t paid enough fees.

I was told that I could only get a new work permit when they would start processing my application for permanent residency. And that would be at the end of August 2016 at the earliest.

 

So I wasn’t allowed to work anymore. I was angry about my own stupidity. What should I do a whole year without an income? I just wanted to get on the next airplane to Germany.

Everything was suddenly so confusing.

 

After 2 weeks I gave up and fortunately there was an opportunity that Stephan didn’t have to pay for everything. During this time my connection to Canada and Vancouver Island grew and grew. I discovered my passion for fishing, spend a lot of time in Canada’s wild nature and realized that I preferred this lifestyle instead of living in a high-rise concrete building.

 

Exactly one year later they started processing my application. And everything went very quickly all of the sudden and I received my permanent residency!

I was so happy, danced in circles and all pressure from the last years fell off my shoulders.

Now I was finally free. All the exersions had been worth it because by then I couldn’t imagine anymore to live somewhere else than in Canada.

 

 

And I knew that not only love kept me in Canada but also that this country had become my new home.

 

 

 

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