Highlights From my First Year as a Canadian Citizen
Today – December 14th, 2019 – marks the one year anniversary since I swore an oath to become a Canadian Citizen. It was a significant day, witnessed and supported by loving family and friends both present and distant. It was the culmination of what felt like an interminable journey. Yet, the past 365 days have been filled with countless milestones and noteworthy memories.
Within months of becoming a Citizen I was able to proudly and eagerly vote in my first provincial elections in March 2019. In November I was able to make a mark on my first federal election ballot paper.
Passport & Travel
I picked up my shiny new Canadian passport in March 2019. Within weeks we had booked a vacation to Europe for the summer that evolved from visiting England to later including Guernsey, France, Germany and Switzerland. Have passport, will travel! No use travelling across the Atlantic and not maximizing the long summer holidays and the easy access to these great places. Our time and experience was enriched by being able to stay with much-loved family and friends.
A significant perk and fantastic initiative of Immigration Canada is the Cultural Access Pass. This is issued to new Citizens on the day of their ceremony and is valid for a year, granting recipients free access to the country’s national parks, museums and numerous other amenities throughout the country.
I made the most of my Cultural Access Pass by visiting Banff National Park on several occasions.
I also used the opportunity to frequent some of our local museums on several occasions which gave me great blogging material as well as deep appreciation for my newly-acquired Canadian heritage.
Professional Engineer (P.Eng.)
2019 was also the culmination of a significant journey that saw me being recognized by the Province of Alberta as a registered Professional Engineer by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geologists of Alberta (APEGA). This, too, had been a long journey requiring much paperwork, ratification and studying. None the less it was a great honour to finally make it to the podium to be granted membership of the Association.
This was the year when our resolve collapsed and we took on the momentous responsibility of owning a real-life needy pet. Our lives have now become dictated by an endearing feathered-friend called Diego who has crept into our hearts. Read more about our journey to becoming flock mentors to this cute green-cheeked conure.
Our year has been seasoned with innumerable rich family encounters, whether with local family, visiting family or via the social media for those living abroad.
It seems fitting that, on the first anniversary of my Citizenship, we are packing our bags, boarding a plane (or three) and jetting back to my homeland, South Africa, for my first-ever family reunion.
The gathering of my 16-member clan for Christmas will see four generations mustering in the kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands in one space for the first time in the history of my family. I will be privileged to still enjoy the company of my 86 and 82-year old Dad and Mom, while also getting to meet the two newest members of our family, by 9-month old great-niece and 4-month old great-nephew. It will be a significant – and quite possibly, a once off – occasion.
2019 in Review
2019 – and the year of my Citizenship – has been a blessed and good year!
It’s also been my first year of focussed blogging, showing the world – or at least those who are interested to know – what life in and around Calgary through my lens is like. Thank you for being part of the more than 4,500 users who have engaged with I AM CALGARY this year!
See you again in 2020!