The “I like dating this person but we’re not quite ready to get married so please don’t deport me” Visa

australia-canada-flags

After 4 years of living in Toronto, 13 months of Visa limbo hell, $3500 Canadian Dollars, 16 forms, 7 tearful calls to a Lawyer, 2 police checks, an Expensive english test, a medical (and a partridge in a pear tree… no… wait…) I became a Permanent Resident of Canada on July 4th, 2015 (thank fuck).

It was a touch and go race against time, a tricky maze of paperwork, and bureaucratic hoops to jump through.

The immigration laws in Canada for Australians used to be super relaxed. There was such a thing as a “Working Holiday” visa, open to all Australians between 18 and 30, who met the criteria (no criminal background and with at least $3500CAD in the bank) and the visa was good for 2 years at a time, renewable until you no longer met the criteria.

Until this year.

The Canadian government, notorious for it’s open arms approach to Immigration has begun cracking down and changing policy. Laws have begun changing and I luckily slid in just before these changes had the opportunity to affect me.

At the time of applying and back and forth with the Canadian Immigration Centre, I was (understandably) nervous that if my application was rejected, I would have had to leave Canada.

That was a shitty situation considering I have a pretty built up life in Canada with friends I love, an Industry I am heavily involved in, a family member who also lives here, and oh yeah – a Canadian boyfriend.

At the time my Visa application began to look a bit dicey, my boyfriend and I had been dating for about 3 months. We were at the shy “I love you” stage, but we were definitely not at the, “lets get married so you can stay in the country with me” stage (although this was suggested to us as the last last option).

I felt pretty awful about the whole situation and lost a lot of sleep over it (and gave myself an ulcer I think). At the time, things were starting to get serious with Jason, and it just really fucking sucked that it seemed like our only options were, breakup, get married, or leave Canada.

Thankfully, my Permanent Residency worked out and our relationship was allowed to progress at a normal pace without making any make or break decisions.

But my story is not unique, and the struggles faced by International couples are very real.

On our recent trip to Vietnam we met Taylor and Richie, a fantastic duo who had been travelling the world together for 3 years after they met in New Zealand. Taylor is American and Richie is a Scotsman. When we asked them where they would be heading when their globetrotting adventure ended (shortly after Vietnam) they told us: Richie was headed back to Scotland and Taylor was going back to the States. There was no working visa for either of them to live and work in each others country (I have since read Taylor’s awesome article for Verge magazine which tells us that she is in Scotland with Richie for 3 months on a tourist visa… yay love!).

The same deal with my two friends Conor (Irish) and Amanda (American) who met in Toronto and who need to figure out where they can exist as a couple in the same place at the same time.

These couples are everywhere, and are constantly trying to make love work across international borders. But it’s not easy. Many people I know simply cannot make it work without a clear concrete destination where they can both live normal, unmarried lives, and still figure out if their relationship is headed down a more serious track.

So.

What is my point?

Aren’t countries always looking for a way to continue fostering great relationships with other nations?

What better way to do that than to encourage couples from different continents to continue loving each other, fostering ties at the most basic level?

This is from the internet... I do not know these people but they add to this blog and prove a point so thereeeee, yay internet

This is from the internet… I do not know these people but they add to this blog and prove a point so thereeeee, yay internet

The traditional notion of belonging and “home” is evolving as globalization and international nomadry (not a word) become more and more prevalent. Doesn’t it make sense for governments to reconsider booting someone out of a country if they have a life, a loved one, a family? It seems even my married friends are struggling with Visa constraints on their partners. It doesn’t make sense and this issue needs to be readdressed.

Hashtag ParisforPresident.

Speed Dating

_Hello---My-Name-Is_m

I feel like everybody needs good stories from when they were single (those crazy ol’ days) to regale their recently divorced female friends (fuck him! we never liked him anyway!) & grandchildren (see kids, your GamGam used to be a hot piece of ass… now hand me the Tequila and don’t tell your father).

So that’s what I figure I’m doing – just collecting up the stories for the happy hour tall-tale box, stories I’ll embellish and cover in memory rhinestones when I’m stuck in a loveless marriage 20 years from now.

Hey Paris! Wanna go on a date?
Yeah sure! 
Wanna go on a blind date?
Um… yea!
Wanna go on a blind date with 18 guys at five minutes a sesh?
…K? 

I didn’t really put too much thought into my speed dating cherrypop until the morning of. I didn’t exacccctly sign up for the event, more got roped into it by a friend who hosts it, facilitating young love and such…wait…Dan are you cupid!?

Hold the phone, I got some ‘vestigating to do.

No plans Saturday night? Forced interaction with members of the opposite sex? I’m in. and bonus! I convinced another single gal pal to come along so we could enjoy the delights of Toronto speed dating together.

I was all set until for the dating extravaganza until Saturday brunch with my little brother, who asked me if I had thought about any questions I wanted to ask these dudes.

Er.

No. I hadn’t really thought that far ahead.

I have no problem just chatting with people I don’t know/ have just met (thank you Expat upbringing) so why would this be any different?

Oh wait… because we have five minutes.

And these people are trying to suss out if they want to ever see you again ever. Which they will decide on first encounter.

None of this: well she’s hideously awkward on first encounter but you learn to love her quirks.

Five minutes. Do or die. Date or un-date … (whatever just go with it).

It’s a very pressure-cooker situation, where love is the steam and you and your new blind date are the meats and vegetables…stewing together. Will the stew be tasty and delicious or bland and overcooked (yes! I am rocking the imagery today).

To combat the surprising amount of nerves I felt, partly in relation to the under-prepared question thing (so… do you like stuff?) and partly because five minutes before I walked in and due to the suns angle in my friends car I realized I have been cultivating quite the lady-mustache (good god! This is why I will die alone) I did what any sane person would do. I walked in, got my sticker and booklet of judgement (Yes/No ________Comments) and ordered a significant amount of booze.

The worst part of the experience was for SURE the 20 minutes before the actual speed dating began, with all us singles milling around the bar sort of eyeing each other up. Many stood in silence, a few chatted with members of the same sex, but it all very very tense and very awkward.

Perhaps this is the reason for the amount of liquid courage I consumed (then again, maybe I just have a problem).

The venue was one of those annoying frou frou vodka bars so they didn’t have Cider (how about rum? no? FUCK) that had a rude bartender and uber dark interior. I had a couple Vodka Diet Cokes (at extortionate prices) and then switched to a pitcher of Vodka laced Lemonade that I was supposed to share with my blind-dating pal (not a blind pal… just to be clear). Key words there are “supposed to”, too bad they sat her a table away from me, so I had no choice but to drink almost the entire jug myself, while trying out my first impressions on total strangers.

200255412-001

Did I debate making shit up? Yes.

Did I? No.

Why not? Because I’m not that quick on my feet and also everybody seemed really nice for the most part and I didn’t want to lie, or more importantly get caught out in a lie (oh the humiliation).

What did I learn?
Most of the dudes at this event wanted to meet someone and were either sick of online dating or didn’t like the idea of it. One guy actually told me that online dating suuuu-hhhucks for guys because girls get inundated with messages and the gents will very rarely get a response. Also a jug of alcoholic lemonade is a lot and I don’t have a very strong tolerance. And my mustache isn’t that bad but there are definitely places I can get it waxed (yay).

Should you try Speed dating?
Are you single? Do you hate online dating? Are you okay in person? Do you have an open attitude when it comes to this sort of thing? If yes, then my answer is yes. What have you got to lose? The guys were nice, and some of the conversations were funny, although it felt weird when they walked away and made notes or if you were in the middle of a conversation and the bell rang and they were like OKHAYBYE.

Would I do it again?
Why not?

This message brought to you by the Drunk Mustache Single Girls Society. Don’t drink and Mustache.

P.

Destinations I will gladly travel to for your wedding

Being an international woman of the world (I am Carmen Sandiago and you ARE jealous) I have friends scattered across the globe, which is fun for me because I get facebook birthday messages for like 48 hours, AND I have sweet places to crash when I travel.

But I’m getting to that fucked up weird age where people I know are starting to commit to each other (ew) and get engaged and stuff (yay diamonds!)

This is all very well and good except that I am missing out on heaps of free alcohol (read: engagement parties) and obviously not getting to squeal and dance around like a lunatic with my lady friends. And today when I really thought about it, I was like, fuuu-oh-oh, because obviously I want to attend the weddings of the people I love, but a lot of them are on the other side of the planet and stuff. And from what I understand about “working” (I believe it’s pronounced yerking?) in the real world – there are certain limitations to the number of days you can just not show up.

With that in mind, I thought it would be really helpful for me to compile a list of totally great locations that my friends could choose from (that’d be great thanks) for their wedding destinations, so that I could get a vacation AND do whatever it is you do at weddings these days (sing songs? hold hands in a field and commune with the earth? weep quietly in the corner while stroking the table cloth and whispering, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” before getting into a physical fight with the bartender because what do you mean I’m cut off?!)

Bahamas

Bahamas

The Bahamas
Lets get you guys married, ANNNNNND get a tan. This location is ideal for me because I have really good boobs and can really rock a bikini, and we all know it’s not a good day unless i’m drawing attention to the one great physical trait I got out of my family gene pool (screw you height, I didn’t want to be able to reach things on the top shelf anyway). From what I understand, The Bahamas are kind of close to me (well… close to Miami) so I wouldn’t have to spend so much time on a plane and could spend more time with you guys drinking at the bar (see how I’m always thinking of you? I’m great like that).

Also it’s totally pretty and your wedding photos will look great and we’ll all get to stay together at a resort and it will definitely be like a slumber party from High School only with less junk food and the same amount of drama and gossip.

France

France

The France
So after some initial research (eg. clicking one link, because I can google and skim things just as well as you can- thanks university for teaching me to read one or two sentences and then just assume the rest) I have discovered that only a Civil Ceremony in France is legally binding, and it has to be done at Town hall (borrrring) and that the Mayor has to do it (doesn’t he have more important mayoral type stuff to be doing?)
BUUUUUUT you can totally have a ceremony and I vote somewhere pretty like the French Riviera or a tiny little town that is adorable and where we can embarrass ourselves and people don’t know us so its fine and there is delicious cheese. Isn’t Champagne a place? Lets go there, I’m betting they have alcohol there. Like maybe they’re known for their beer?
Why *I* like this Idea: K first off, it’s France, so obviously we will do your wedding thing AND THEN go stuff our faces with cheese and baguettes and go shopping. Maybe all at the same time. I can multi-task (I think).
Why *YOU* like this idea: France is far and expensive and so you can cut out those people you kindof didn’t really want to invite but kindof had too. Also your photos again will be adorable and the catering will be pretty good. I hear they have good cheese. I’m kindof into cheese. I can’t tell if you can tell. But um yeah. Thats why I’m coming to your wedding in France. And also I love you…and shit.

Safari

Safari

African Safari Wedding
Listen, your husband-to-be clearly likes animals, look at his Groomsman line-up, so let’s just add more Predators to the wedding and go do an African Safari! I know you’re thinking I chose this because I just want to do a Safari and I don’t want to go by myself, but nooooo. It’s totally about you and you’re totally special to me and OMFGLOOKAGIRRAFFE!! And back to you. Also think of all the nature and the stars and the beauty of life and junk. You’re a part of the circle of life now that you and your man are pairing off. So lets just add to that with the majesty of the African continent.
Why we don’t like this Idea: Pretty sure we’re going to have to get some EPIC injections before we head over to your Safari wedding, and I just recently had to get Tetanus AND Rabies when I got bitten by a monkey and those tiny sharp bits of metal HURTGODDAMNIT. So yeah. We are probably going to have to factor that in. But BONUS, I felt really sick and couldnt eat for a day and a half when I got the jabs, so we’ll be FULLY skinny and hot on your special day.

Vegas

Vegas

The Vegas
I think Vegas gets a bad rap from people like Britney who don’t take the sanctity of the institution very seriously (barf). But listen. We could make your Vegas wedding totally classy and awesome. They also have sweet hotels, it’s hot (so back in the swim suit) and amazing clubs (from what I hear…I haven’t been…I’m not cool enough to go…yet). Vegas makes sense because so many people get married there, I’m sure they have the whole wedding she-bang down to an art. Which leaves more time for us to hang out and gamble and make poor life decisions. Plus it’s totes close to LA, so after we’re done getting you wifed up, I’ll just head on over to Hollywood so they can finally discover me and make me famous.

Then you can say you had a celebrity at your wedding, which makes it about 5x cooler.

You’re welcome.

 

Paris