GoodreadsInstagramPinterestRSSTwitter

Moving Forward

After keeping all of you (or some of you) in suspense we're now ready to share our big news, we have decided to return to Canada in this year of 2011.

It's unbelievable the amount of mental, creative and emotional energy that have gone into that one little sentence.

Many of you know bits and pieces of our plans already, for others it is fresh news. For all of you however, we’d like to share the story of this intended move. To make it easier to tell this story I’m borrowing the journalism technique of answering the following questions: What, Where, When, Why & How (the Who you already know - it’s us!)

What:

We’re moving back to Canada - this I’ve already stated.

Where:

We plan to move to the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. Let’s have a visual shall we?

When:

Our tentative move date is mid-May. The exact time depends upon finding tenants for our house.

Why the Move:

Ah, now we can start actually telling a story. In one word we are moving for freedom.

How ironic considering the US is the land of the free and home of the brave... only if you are permanent resident or citizen. And there’s the rub. After eleven years of living in the US, paying taxes, contributing to our community and putting down roots we still are not permanent residents, except for the youngest two members of the family who were born here.

We applied for our permanent residency status, aka: green cards, four years ago and the waiting time is still another estimated two to three years, though it’s really anyone’s guess.

In the fall of 2009 we found out that the queue for processing our accepted application (ie: we’ve cleared the first phase but now we’re in line for the limited number of green cards they give out each year) had a four year backlog. Upon learning this we were crestfallen to say the least. Maine is home. This is the only home our children have known (or at least remember) and we love the farms, mountains, ocean and all around natural beauty of this state. This is where we had planned to stay.

So, if we like it so much what’s the big deal about waiting for our permanent residency?

Without those green cards our employment and ways we can provide for our family are very limited. As in, limited only to Damien’s sponsoring employer, the college where he works. They have been a wonderful employer and the job has been good to Damien and our family. However, we are not able to explore any other options for earning income at a time of life that we feel the need to do so.

Renee can’t earn any money from her writing, photography, soapmaking and other endeavors. Celine is unable to work odd jobs as she approaches her young adult years. Damien is limited as a provider to one job, one employer. He has no opportunity for pursuing other interests that might generate income (don’t all computer guys have some side gig?)


praying for guidance as we navigate our way through this

God has provided for all our needs and then some with Damien’s current job. It is not for the money making opportunities that we are moving but for the freedom to explore creative endeavors. To experiment with professional and personal development, pursuing our passions and interests as a family. 

Our children are growing, the “baby” is eight and Celine is nearing twelve years old. We have dreams and plans for family life in this next stage of raising our children. We want to travel more, we want to thru-hike, we want to be together at home as a family - doing work we love with the freedom to explore all the opportunities and open doors that come our way. This is not possible in the United States without our permanent residency.

Basically we have limited freedom to experiment, create, explore and pursue what we want. This situation is no longer acceptable for our family. We either need our green cards (yesterday please) or we need to move.

And so we made the difficult decision the autumn of 2009, when we found out we had four more years of waiting, to move the year of 2011 if we didn't have our green cards by this time. 

Our current working and dependent visas (paperwork that allows us to live and work here) expire this October. Our plan was to get all our ducks in a row to move by the summer of 2011 while we waited for an immigration miracle that probably wouldn't happen. And trust me, a miracle is needed when dealing with an unyielding bureaucracy like immigration and homeland security.

That brings the story to the present. No miracles, except for the daily ones of grace, forgiveness, laughter, food on the table and roof over our heads (and then some!).

Why Gaspé:

There's two reasons we choose the Gaspé region of Quebec, even though we don't speak the dominant language:

  • mountains
  • on the east coast

Since moving to Maine we discovered a love, in Damien’s case he re-discovered a love - the mountains and hiking in them. Also since moving to Maine my parents moved out east after living their whole adult lives in western Canada (which is where Damien and I grew up). I moved far from my family once before (when we moved to New Jersey in our twenties) and simply could not do it again. Not in this stage of life where my mom is one of my best friends and Nana and Papa mean the world to the children (and vice versa).

Somedays we feel more like west coast folks. Our interests, the way we eat, our environmental ethic, very much of what we value and do is much more common on the west but we find ourselves in the east and are trusting God that we’re here for a reason.

So, last Christmas we scouted out the beautiful Gaspé peninsula and determined that yes, we could move there. The culture, natural beauty, outdoor opportunities and local agriculture are what we were looking for and the area is financially accessible.

And the fact that most everyone speaks French? Well that’s just an added bonus in this adventure!

On our two trips to the Gaspé last year we discovered that most people can speak English if you ask but our sincere desire and excitement is to learn a second language - an amazing opportunity for our homeschooling family.

How:

To pull this move off we are relying heavily on God’s providence, and a bit of human creativity and a little parental support. 

We can’t sell our home right now for what we owe on the mortgage (that darn market crisis) so we’ve decided to rent it out. We have always rented out the basement apartment and we live in a good area for renting. We have found a property manager who will be our eyes, ears and hands in Maine until such time as we can sell. This winter we will be doing some more work on the house and in early spring we plan to find a tenant.

As far as employment, much work remains to be done. Damien has been working on projects for months that have the potential to earn income once we move. These past few months has been focused on making connections and contacts, looking for the open doors that can lead to paid work when we move. Some opportunities are already in the works. Sorry to be so vague but many details remain to be resolved and we won’t really know how it’s going to all play out till we’re living it - in a couple months.

This summer we will move temporarily to my parent’s house in Nova Scotia because we will be without a home and without a steady job (and living on savings). Once we get the employment piece kind of figured out (which will be computer based, ie: we can live and work from anywhere we have an internet connection) we will make the move to Gaspé. Though I think my parents are hoping we’ll decide to build a little cabin on their property (smile).

I could write on and on about why we feel the need to move and what our plans are but the most important thing is this, we believe this move will be beneficial for our family and the time to do it is now. Even though we must uproot, make sacrifices, go through uncertainty and other challenges we have a goal, we have dreams, we have vision and the time has come to put our hearts into action.

You can be absolutely positive I will be blogging about this much more. It might dominate the scene for a while because this is family life right now - working, de-cluttering, packing, preparing. 

I look forward to sharing the ups and downs of this journey (and trust me, there's been many of those already). But mostly I am excited about moving forward to create the life we want as a family.


sunset on the Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspé

20 January 11

Comments

Great news! And well done for

Great news! And well done for you. Sounds like a fantastic idea, and great to see people planning where they are and where they spend their life based on important things like hiking, mountains and family rather than 'where can I earn the most money?'

Looking forwarding to following it all on the blog.

Bon retour au Canada!! My

Bon retour au Canada!!

My parents are Canadian citizens living and working in the US and have been waiting for years to be granted green cards. They don't see it happening before they retire so will just keep going as is for now. I'm hoping of course they'll return to the Great White North but who knows.

Good luck on your move!

Oh Renee - Good luck! I only

Oh Renee - Good luck! I only wish I could move next door - it's so beautiful! I just know that you are headed for the most amazing years of your lives, good for you for welcoming them with joy!

Beautiful pictures, as

Beautiful pictures, as always. I really love the black silhouette and the sunset at the bottom. Very moving. Anyway, I am wishing you all success with this move and I know it'll all work out because of your faith and your perseverance. I know it takes courage and it will be hard at times...but it's so worth it, to find your dreams coming true!
Blessings on your journey.

Congratulations! That is big

Congratulations! That is big news and with such an attitude, I can't see that it's not going to work out for you all. I've never been to the Gaspe area myself but I have heard wonderful things about it. A lot awaits you.

Yay...glad the news is out.

Yay...glad the news is out. You know, you are actually going to be further away (from me) now than when you were in Maine. :) Still, what a beautiful place to live. Looking forward to visiting you in Gaspe. xo

Wow, what an exciting

Wow, what an exciting adventure for your family! I've been to Gaspe (we drove around the point down through New Brunswick - my grandfather came from there), it's beautiful. May everything go smoothly (as possible) for you!

Good Luck! We understand

Good Luck!
We understand completely your reasons for returning as they are ones we struggled with when we lived in the U.S. as well. My father-in-law is from Gaspe. What a beautiful place to live! I would also like to have our family's income be more flexible and 'moveable'. Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

I am happy for you, Renee,

I am happy for you, Renee, for this new season of life fast approaching and because you have family to support you in your dreams and finally because you and Damien are both fully "in this" together. It does seem frustrating, though, that you guys have spent so much time in the states and yet are still so restricted. I look forward to hearing every detail (that you choose to share) about the move and getting settled in Canada.

I feel inspired and

I feel inspired and encouraged by your decision! “The glory of God is man fully alive." St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Can't wait to follow your blog and your process.

Just wonderful! Blessings, Mackenzi :)

I completely understand the

I completely understand the need to control your own future! My husband and I are planning a move from the midwest to Maine so we can live a life that represents our values - lots of active quality time in nature, and a view from my window that doesn't depress me. It'll be hard to uproot and move away from family, but we just don't belong where we live. Congrats on making the hard decisions!

Gaspe looks beautiful. I'm

Gaspe looks beautiful. I'm sure this has not been an easy decision for you to come to, even with the excitement of it. I pray that all works out for the best. My husband has several friends here on H-1B visas and I know how difficult things can be for them to move ahead.

What a whirlwind you must be

What a whirlwind you must be in getting ready to go. It seems like so much is worked out but I know the small details can make your daily tasks overwhelming. I hope that you guys will have a joyful and freeing journey as you make this move.

Tougas Family, This only

Tougas Family,
This only seems to fit right into God's plan for your family. You are not meant to be somewhere too long... you are meant to travel, see all He has made, and make great friends along the way...

You have been a blessing to our family, and will continue to be, just from a bit further away! Your kids are so blessed to have this adventure ahead of them!

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help... (i am great at packing, and getting "rid" of things!)

Much love and hugs to you all, and a little aomething in the mail for "Tristan!"

How exciting! I will

How exciting! I will definitely be praying for you. When Anthony and I moved to Maine we had no jobs and a house up for sale in Georgia. While it was scary and forced us to huge new levels of faith, it was amazing seeing how it worked out. I'm looking forward to reading about your adventure.

Wow, what an incredible

Wow, what an incredible opportunity for your family, and an awesome education for your children. We are BCers, all 11 of us, and over 3 yrs ago we left almost on a whim for Cape Breton when my sisters house burned down. We stayed a yr, then went for the winter to AZ, then drove back to CB for another yr. What an experience to live out there, and see the incredible (2) country-sides. We are back in BC, but we talk about moving to Quebec (don't speak French either) or to Ecuador (nor Spanish) for various reasons but it isn't meant to be at present.

But, Good on you guys. An adrenaline rush!

What an exhilarating post!

What an exhilarating post! Congratulations :-)

It was 3 years ago this month that we moved to the middle of New York with no jobs, no friends, but the sheer inspiration that it was the best move for our family. It has been the best thing, and even though the challenges are wherever you are, being in the right place, living an awesome lifestyle with your family keeps things amazing.

Good luck to you and yours as you make this transition and I am very excited to watch it all unfold!

I really like the family

I really like the family photo. I know all about immigration ... and no miracles happen in that department, only aggravation, humiliation and expenses (and I'm married to a US citizen and my 3 kids have dual US/Italian citizenship). Leaving your home of 10 years is going to hard, but you're not leaping into the unknown, and you have family and exciting plans ahead. It will be a great new beginning. Baci.

Well congratulations on the

Well congratulations on the next step, the big announcement! Boy, this is just right around the corner, isn't it! I'm eager to follow your journey over the next couple of months (years!)...

I have been waiting for this

I have been waiting for this post, but the funny thing is, it still brings mixed emotions. I'm very happy for your family and I know you guys will do what's right for you, I'm so glad you have the courage to take this leap because I can't imagine how difficult (even if freeing) it is. At the same time that I am so happy for you, I am also a bit sad. We may mostly know each other online, but I have enjoyed the times we've spent together in person, and will miss it. It seems so weird. 2011 must be the year of big changes or something, since we're moving as well, and this home has been the only one our children have known. It will be sad to move, and yet we are also looking forward to the freedom we will gain through the decisions we're making. On behalf of the U.S. I apologize for the behavior of our government. I'm not proud of it, and wish they would get their butts in gear and take care of the border issue so that families who are doing everything they can do come here legally because they want freedom are welcomed. Sadly, that is not the way it works anymore, and you must take your family where freedom can be found. Freedom really is such a blessing!

P.S. Perhaps we can do a

P.S. Perhaps we can do a campout on our Hebron property before you leave? :0) But if you're not up for adventures in the Spring since you'll be packing, perhaps dinner out? We have to say goodbye properly!

...I don't know, I'm kind of

...I don't know, I'm kind of waiting for one of the powers at be to come across this very post and realize the gravity of losing such talented, productive, and good residents.

You never know. Regardless, I'm excited for your immediate future, which is bound to be brimming with excitement. May you also find peace and satisfaction.

Congratulations on your

Congratulations on your courageous decision and welcome back to Canda, the real "Home of the Free" (especially if you are Canadian)!!!

Your free and easy lifestyle is not very unlike the one Dad and I chose back in the 60's and 70's where we flew into the "great white north" on bush planes landing on lakes (no roads here) to teach the local natives on reserves, with Damien in tow. We lived for 10 years in northern Ontario.

Later when Zoltan joined us (Damien's younger brother)we moved out to "civilization" and set roots in Alberta where Dad built us a log home on a quarter section of land on a dead end road, beside the muskeg which was largely unpopulated becasause it was basically 'the swamp of the west'.Here we planted large gardens, raised chickens and pigs (for our own food)and rode our horses for entertainment. This is where Damien graduated from high school, in the sleepy little town of Rocky Mountain House.

There is a saying 'You can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man!' And so it is. Damien is heading back to his roots, sort of!The French that he learned in France will problably come flooding back into his memory again, and considering that he is really half-French (on his father's side), he will probably feel right at home in Gaspe. His father, would be so proud of him, right now, as I am also.

So best of luck, on this new adventure to all of you, and it may just happen that we might make it there this summer. We are planning an extensive camping/visiting holiday for the summer and we will hunt you down, wherever you are!

Love, MOM

You all are so much braver

You all are so much braver than I am! I'm way too much of a control freak to be able to handle that much uncertainty. Good luck! We are hoping it all works out for you all. It certainly makes for a good story :)

So excited to hear your

So excited to hear your news!! Hope to see you while you are in Nova Scotia. Come and practice your French with us before the move!! Renee, I have become friends with your Mom in the last year or so and totally understand why she is one of your best friends and why you want to remain within reaching distance...
Loved what my aunt MomTougas had to say also...
Might drop in to visit around the 7th, 8th or 9th of March...if you are home. Will keep you posted...

Wow Renee I had no idea the

Wow Renee I had no idea the US laws were so draconian! Truth be known it's probably almost as bad here in Australia. But what a great decision - and what an adventure :)

I loved this post. I'm

I loved this post. I'm actually an American living in Quebec--we've been here 2 1/2 years. I understand firsthand everything you've experienced in the States, only on the flipside. It's a lot of work and very challenging to move from Canada to the States and vice versa, and most people don't realize that--they seem to think it's like moving from Ohio to Michigan.

I found your blog through Simple Homeschool. I'm adding you to my google reader :).

Pages

Add new comment