Our friends recently wrote a post about a couple who have decided that Canada is not for them. It was rather sad reading about how their dream had become, if not a nightmare, at least something less desirable.
It has been one of my continuing themes that research is crucial in deciding on your move to Canada. I would like to add that you need to take stock from time to time both while waiting for your visas and also once you are in Canada.
When you are first thinking about a move to Canada, if you are like me, then you are really dreaming. I think that’s a good thing. You want to use your imagination to paint a picture of what you’d like your life to be like. I remember that we did this as a family. We got the kids involved in talking about what they wanted. (A pool featured quite prominently).
The next step is making sure that your dreams are rooted in some semblance of reality. Living in an ocean front property with the infinity pool and the boat mooring might not be within your financial grasp. (If it is, talk to me!).
Research can be based on hard facts – like the cost of real estate, cost of living, likely income and chances of getting the job you want. These are the basics.
I’d argue that the intangible things that we group under the title of “lifestyle” are equally important. Maybe you want to go skiing every weekend? Will that be possible? What will it cost?
Most people have their kids in mind when they are dreaming of Canada. Our girls were competitive dancers in the UK, so when we came on research trips we checked out dance schools, cost of dance costumes and the like. We also assumed they’d want to get into snowboarding, so we looked at that.
As I said earlier, it is also important to take the pulse of your new life from time to time. Things have the habit of changing! For instance our girls never did any dancing once they were in Vancouver. They were far more interested in new activities, like snowboarding and acting (in their school’s film program). Our son got into sailing, which we’d hardly considered.
Sue and I loved theatre in the UK, but found little comparable in Vancouver. Our spare time was spent in more active pursuits. Who knew that we’d be doing yoga, snow shoeing or running? We never bought a home with a pool.
As time has gone on, our kids have grown up and their interests have grown too. Two of them dance, but for pleasure rather than competitively. One has started rock climbing, cycling and hiking. Another is singing.
The changes, for us, have been largely positive. But we do know that there’s always a trade-off. Our old life had its positive points, and our new life has its negative ones. The balance is what is important.
Finally, I’d advise that you don’t dwell in the past. I have seen a few people who have spent way too much time comparing their life here to what their life used to be like. Often there’s a rose-tinted view of life in the old country that can be seductive. Several people have ended up moving back. And of those a few regret their return and come back to Canada – older and wiser!