Coming to Canada

Photo by Justin Hu

My first impression was from the airport: I was respectfully treated although it was at the height of insecurity worldwide, particularly in that part of the country and the USA, in my early 50s.

My suitcases were not searched either was my hand luggage. The only question from the immigration officer with a friendly disposition was my purpose for a visit and I explained that I was there to spend my Christmas and New Year’s holidays with my daughter and family friends.

After clearance, they wished me a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday! I was surprised that I asked him “Pardon me?”! Such was rare then and I fell in love with Canada for such a warm embrace to a first-time visitor to Canada although I came in after visiting the USA.

As I stated earlier the level of insecurity was so high that I resigned myself to all forms of security checks. I fell in love with Canada and started wondering if we should withdraw the children from US universities to Canada!

That would have been a very difficult venture. I have visited several times since then and other countries but I described Canada to a friend as a combination of America, Europe and the country itself! What a wonderful place to be!

Then in 2018, my daughter as a Canadian citizen informed me that she would want to file for us as parents to have permanent resident status which we accepted.  The application was delayed due to Covid-19 and it was not until 2022 that we got approval for the issuance of a visa.

We were confused as to where to choose but finally decided on Calgary! I think we have heard so much about Calgary that informed our decision.

We arrived in Calgary in November 2022 from Nigeria after a long flight that took us from Abuja to Addis Ababa, Dublin, Toronto and our final destination, Calgary.

Our immigration and customs clearance was prompt at the airport. The words of the immigration officer who was so kind and professional “I am happy to inform you that your application for permanent residence in Canada has been approved by the Government of Canada!” How else can one be so lucky?

We arrived straight at the Airbnb which we have already booked from Nigeria and our search for an apartment began.

I was confused to learn we have to apply for our Social Security number, look for a family doctor, get medical card insurance, and various other things. All that went through my mind was a huge bureaucracy that would disrupt our settling down to a new life as seniors. It was like being told to get everything without having an idea of how to start. However, contrary to my fears, in all the applications we made and appeared in various offices, we met with very kind and amazing people who made it possible for us to get all that is required.

I must add that before getting a physician, I fell sick and was confused as to what and where to go. We were advised to just visit any public hospital. I made up my mind to just try and survive with force knowing that the weather has been “kind” to us, coming from a tropical country with summer all through the year! I found my way to the nearest general hospital to my location and to my surprise I was well attended to, treated and allowed to leave for home in the evening.

The last of that needed to be sorted was to file for our tax return and that brought us to Kerby Center where we met amazing volunteers that promptly attended to us.

I took the recent publication of their newspaper which brought me to what I am doing right now, writing for the Kerby News!