We have some some happy news to share…
Jan became a Canadian citizen on Monday!
Way back in 2018, he became eligible to convert his permanent residency into citizenship. We did the paperwork and waited- finally in 2019, his application was approved, and he moved on to the next phase. In Canada, becoming a citizen involves demonstrating proof of language proficiency (honestly, J’s English is better than mine most days) and also showing knowledge of Canadian history.
Jan easily passed the English test, and we both studied for the written history test (man, grade six was a long time ago! I forgot a lot of those names and dates!). He got almost perfect, and then we were onto the last phase- scheduling the ceremony!
The citizenship ceremony involves going in front of a judge, saying the oath, and affirming your Canadian citizenship. It also involves giving up your permanent resident status (you can’t be both!), so you need to avoid travel for 4 weeks after the ceremony. Since we planned to be in Australia in early Feb, we booked the ceremony for the next available date- mid March.
Well, of course then COVID hit and there were large gatherings, so the ceremony was cancelled. We figured it wouldn’t happen until at least next year, when we have a vaccine and bigger groups are normal again. But! On Friday afternoon, Jan sent me a text at the office and asked if I could clear my Monday afternoon. The ceremony was on!
So, this past Monday, Jan and I, a judge, a clerk and a tech support person met on Zoom. Jan was welcomed to Canada, and got to share a little bit of the story that brought him here. The judge got us to take the oath together, in English and French, and then with a few signatures my Belgian became a Canadian as well.
Since it was so last minute, it was hard to plan much of a celebration, but we did our best! I decorated the front door with balloons and red streamers, and we hung our big Canadian flag. All our neighbours came out to the front lawn (I promise we stayed far apart, there’s only 8 of us) for prosecco and Tim Horton’s donuts. Some of our nearby friends stopped over as well, and then to cap off the day we ordered poutine for dinner. Way back when Jan wrote his tests, I had ordered a gift for him (thank goodness I still had it hidden away!): a Le Canadien t shirt and sweater from Province of Canada, plus his favourite Haribo gummie bears.
Pretty exciting, eh ;- )