Saying goodbye to Canada (2nd last week in Ottawa) – 1 of 3

Moving is a big job, and there’s always lots to be done. But moving to another country is even more work! Not only did we have to pack all of our suitcases, we also had to move everything else into storage. Thankfully there was a lot we could recycle or donate. While starting to pack, we also had to finish up work and be social too! We were busy bees during our last few weeks in Canada…

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Left: Full-moon yoga at Lansdowne part with the girls. Right: A motivational restaurant sign I saw during my last weeks in Ottawa.

Wednesday, July 20 – Woke up early to head to my MP’s (member of parliament) office before work.  We were hoping they could expedite things with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) to get us some documents proving that we had filed our taxes together, and hence, that the government of Canada considered us a “common-law couple”. Unfortunately, they were only able to send us a fax, which didn’t look too legit – not super useful. Steve took the car to work, and on the bus to work I got a call for an interview with GAC (Global Affairs Canada) for that Friday (less than 48 hours later). I spent the day working and figuring out everything I needed to get together for the interview (including contact info for all my family and character references as well).

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Looking for my diplomas in our storage locker. I think the 2 hours was better than paying over $100 per piece of paper.

Thursday, July 21 – Regular work day… Worked my butt off to complete a top-secret security clearance form for my interview the next day. Also, needed original copies of all my degrees for the interview. Fortunately, I had them. Unfortunately, I had no idea where. I contacted the school and I either needed a notarized document that I lost it (plus $80) or I had to pay $120 for a “display version”. Since I have 2 degrees, that would be really expensive! Thankfully, Steve helped me with all the boxes and we managed to find it after all 🙂

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Left: Finally found my degree – yay! Right: Felt pretty good cleaning off my first shelf.

Friday, July 22 – Full day interview at GAC. Had to arrive (on the Quebec side) for 7:30am, bleh! Had an hour to present my documents. Morning was a simulation (not bad), followed by a writing exercise, and then free-time for lunch. After lunch you have to come back and find out if you’re invited back for the afternoon, if not you’ll be escorted out – super awkward! Thankfully I made it to the afternoon interview, which I thought went well. However, a few days ago I found out I didn’t make it to the next step of the hiring process.  Oh well, at least I already have a new job!

Luckily my interview was first so I had the rest of the afternoon free (since I had booked the day off work) so I headed to the Cuso office to finalize some things for my fundraiser. That night we took it easy because Steve was feeling sick. Steve’s tooth had been hurting for 2 weeks too. He went to the dentist the week before and they thought root canal, but gave him a week to heal on his own. I was just glad he had the problem while we were still in Canada so he could get it treated properly. Thankfully at his follow-up on Friday they said he had miraculously healed – which I’ve never heard of – but yay! No root canal needed is always good news 🙂

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First step in packing – getting boxes! You can always get free banana boxes from the grocery store and, with a little persuasion, lots of wine boxes from the LCBO. Newspaper is also very useful for wrapping things like frames…

Saturday, July 23 – Unfortunately, we weren’t able to just sit and relax (Steve was still sick…). Saturday was all about #adulting. We had an appointment to get a joint bank account (to further cement our status as an “official couple” for visa purposes). The appointment was no problem, and the guy at BMO was really nice.

Afterwards we went to a notary downtown which was kind of sketchy. They say no appointments needed and they’re apparently open on Saturdays but nobody was in the office. Thankfully, I had the number written down, so I called and he gave me the local number. Then I called and a lady came down and met up with us to let us in. The building was still really dark, but we took the elevators up, and she was the only one in a big office. We got the documents done quickly.

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Left: Drinks at Bier Markt. Right: Groundhog outside my office! There are so many that live in Ottawa, I think seeing one is good luck 🙂

Afterwards, we definitely needed a drink!  Bier Markt has brunch until 4pm, which was perfect. So we got waffles and eggs and such, with beer and a mimosa! We walked back to the car (free parking at World Exchange on weekends) and headed home for another chill night.

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I love post-it notes! Left: Preparing to see everyone in Toronto during our 4 days before we left! Did I mention I’m super organized and like to plan? Right: Inspirational post-it’s left on our elevator button.

Sunday, July 24  – Relaxing day (Steve still sick…). Plus I got really sick – throwing up every few hours – felt like food poisoning, maybe stomach bug?  Not ideal…)

Monday, July 25 – We decided to both call in sick since we didn’t want to give anyone our sickness (even though we were both feeling a bit better).  That gave us the morning to sleep-in, and the afternoon to chill and start packing. By night we were all better and went to check out the sneak-preview screening of Bad Moms, which was hilarious! Highly recommend it to all you ladies out there.

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How our apartment looked after putting together or visa application – an explosion of papers!

Tuesday, July 26 – Regular work day…  After work we found out that our flights were booked and we were given permission to get our visas.  We were planning to mail them in, so we spent all evening after work trying to get the documents in order. You need photos of some, copies of others, scans of different documents – it was a bit of a disaster.  I’m so glad I have a printer though – I’m always surprised when people say they don’t need one!  Anyway, we didn’t make the 9pm deadline to mail it in, but we did get it all done eventually. Steve dropped it in the mail the next morning on his way to work (which is always a scary thing to do – goodbye passport, hope to see you again soon!).

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Absolute comedy on Preston Street. Left: Waiting outside for people to arrive. Right: My cousin Kristy winning a door prize.

Wednesday, July 27 – Regular work day… After work was our comedy fundraiser at Absolute Comedy. I had been stressing about it for weeks but thankfully we sold about 48 of the 50 tickets. There were some last-minute hiccups but almost everyone showed up and we were able to get everyone a table. I stayed outside on the patio to take cash and hand out tickets, while Steve was inside selling 50/50 tickets.  The comedy was really funny and it was nice to see so many people from all different places (old friends, work, Cuso, meetup, etc.) before I left.  It was also really nice to tell more people about Cuso International and Bolivia. It was great to see all the support I had around me in the community. We managed to raise over $800, so it was a big success and I was really happy with how it turned out. 🙂 If you missed the event and still want to donate, or if you want to learn more about my job, you can check out my Cuso Page (we’re about 2/3 of the way towards reaching our goal of $2,000).

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After the show at Absolute Comedy. Was really happy to see how many people came out to see the show and support Cuso!

Read the rest of this story in my next few blog posts:


About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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One Response to Saying goodbye to Canada (2nd last week in Ottawa) – 1 of 3

  1. Pingback: Saying goodbye to Canada (Last week in Ottawa) – 2 of 3 | The World… Thoughts, Books and Adventures

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