Canadian flag being waved

A little under three months ago, after a year or so of forms and online applications I left the UK, and landed in Canada as a new permanent resident! A move I had been thinking about since early 2016, but towards the end of 2017 I started the process properly and it has been one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

The Application

I applied under the Express Entry system which grants permanent residency status for skilled workers. With this I'm not limited to a particular job or time to stay in the country, with the only real difference between me and a Canadian citizen is that I cannot vote or run for office. However in a few years I can apply for Canadian citizenship and start my long awaited political career </joke>.

I must say that the whole process was relatively painless, but a little stressful at times which I think you can imagine for a major live decision. Still haven't quite adjusted to not jumping at every email that popped into my inbox. I'd say that 99% of application process was online which is pretty impressive. Only a few requests for passport photographs had to be sent in by post, and even then was only to the UK. The first human I spoke to about my application was the Canadian border services agent at the airport when I landed as a permanent resident for the first time.

Special shout out to Dropbox (not affiliated just genuinely love their service) for their solid product that helped me keep the 200mb of application forms and supporting documents easily accessible and organised. This went hand in hand with my mighty Google spreadsheet I used to keep track of my application requirements and other info.

If anyone has any questions about my emigration experiences can drop me an email or reach me on Twitter.

Minor culture shock

While it was not exactly a massive cultural shock between the great white north and the UK, there has been a few things I have had to get used to, and a few things I miss. Here are a few of the main ones for me currently:

  • Price + Tax. The price listed is not the price you pay. My current approach, rather than doing mental arithmetic is to just kinda guess, I just don't know how much my total purchase is until I get to the checkout. It's more of a form of gambling now! It was just $10 but what will it be at the end, who knows (more often than not it's just $11.30) but my little brain is not used to it all yet.
  • Tipping. This is really only the concern that I'm not doing it right, regardless of my personal feelings about the whole tipping culture it's always going to be 20% from me, unless it's real bad service.
  • A $1.50 Costco hot dog is a bargain the world should know about.
  • If Marks and Spencer (both food and clothing) could make it over here tht would be great.
  • Driving is essential. I have never had more of an appreciation for European urban planning. I don't drive (currently) and this has severely sapped my independence and public transit's coverage is shoddy compared to our european counterparts. Long gone are my days of an easy half-an-hour walk to work. But then again walking that in -35ºC sounds horrific, which leads me to...
  • It's a different cold. The UK gets cold, but not Canadian cold. I had my first exposure to -25ºC wind chill the other night after dinner which certainly was cold. It is a different type of cold though, from the UK, much drier. I'd rather take the cold here in Canada than deal with the wet cold I'm used to in England.

From to .ca

I've taken this opportunity to redevelop my personal website in Hugo the Go powered static site generator after a few years being built in WordPress. This site is now deployed via Netlify and it's source is available on GitHub. It's also been moved to a shiny new .ca domain for extra Canadian flare. You can read more about the redevelopment in my post "Migrating from WordPress to hugo".