Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Part XX - Challenges of Living the Dream

On arrival in Canada in September 2006 we were full of good intentions and bursting with anticipation of the adventure we declared. Arriving in Vancouver on a warm late summers night was wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring our new home in the first couple of weeks of arrival.

We could not believe everyone’s positive attitude and open nature to connecting with us. I have travelled a lot during my professional career and have met some incredible people however the warm welcome and genuine interest of the Canadian people as well as their willingness to help is really something else!

Soon we would realize however the magnitude of our move and the challenges that we would have to overcome in order to settle into a ‘normal’ life. 

Although we had spent thousands on engaging an immigration consultant to help us with our paperwork prior to leaving our homeland, we had also hoped for ongoing guidance on next steps to prepare ourselves adequately, eliminating any potential unwellcome surprises on the way.

Unfortunately we had to overcome a number of very crucial issues that could have very well been avoided if only we had known in advance. Things like: 

  • Retaking our driving tests (theory and practical) within 90 days of arriving in the country nearly put us into serious jeopardy, 
  • Not having the right paperwork from our car insurance company from the UK, which meant ‘no-claims’ could not be accepted costing us thousands in unnecessary car insurance costs
  • No credit history causing huge problems to set up utilities, cell phone and bank accounts (credit report from Equifax UK was not accepted)
  • Threatened to privately pay for schooling for our children by not having the right landing status on arrival in the country

These are just to name but a few to give you a flavor of what enormous challenges we had to overcome in order to be able to live in Canada.

Things you take for granted when you live in your own home or somewhere within the European Union. Suddenly you are a second class citizen having to proove yourself all over again. Not easy when you come from a nice home, well paid jobs and certain social status not to mention the fact that you are missing your family and friends like crazy!