Categories: life » canada

RSS - Atom - Subscribe via email

Not panicking about paperwork

| canada

Being an international student is tough. I’ve been trying to figure
out my paperwork requirements for the next few steps. My Canadian visa
is about to expire, and for a moment I worried that meant I had to hop on the next flight home.

According to this U of T FAQ, I only need the temporary resident visa when I enter Canada. I just won’t be able to leave Canada until I’ve fixed my paperwork, which will make short trips home a little harder to arrange. I hope to have this matter cleared up by Christmas, or by August next year by the latest.

Life shouldn’t be this complicated! I am, however, less
panicky now that I’ve figured out that I *probably* won’t be an
illegal alien. I’ll call the government help line tomorrow in order to
confirm my understanding.

The paperwork for the post-graduate work permit’s down to two weeks of
processing time, which gives me a *little* bit of breathing room, but
I’m still worried about it. My supervisor should get back to me today
or tomorrow with the final okay, though, and then it’s off to the
printers. The end is near!

Random Emacs symbol: font-lock-unfontify-buffer-function – Variable: Function to use for unfontifying the buffer.


| canada

It’s mid-August, and a cold front is passing through Toronto. My toes
feel chilly under this blanket. Even though sunlight illuminates the
room, sometimes it doesn’t feel like summer.

W- joked that it’ll be stew time soon.

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-agent-read-and-cache-local – Function: Load and read FILE then bind its contents to

Got my study permit extended

Posted: - Modified: | canada

Yay! No longer have a strict deadline for completion. Not that I
should let my schedule slip anyway, but it’s nice to know that I won’t
have to leave by Aug 31.

Random Emacs symbol: point-max-marker – Function: Return a marker to the maximum permissible value of point in this buffer.

Being in the right place at the right time

Posted: - Modified: | canada

Another cycle of revisions. My supervisor thinks my draft is ready to
be defended, although there are some things I’ll fix tomorrow before I
sort out the page numbers and send it out. He told me to relax and not
worry too much about deadlines, although he understood that I like
delivering things when I say I will. So, that’s going well.

I met Robert Terpstra again this afternoon, and his questions helped
me reflect on things I was doing well—and some tricky things I need
to think about a little more.

One of the questions he asked me was whether I felt that I could have
done all this had I been in the Philippines instead of Canada.

I told him, yes.

This is not entirely true. The kind of research training I’ve
received, the opportunities I’ve had, the library I’ve made so much
use of—all these things are difficult to find in Third World
countries. But what I said was more true than it was false.

I would probably have been able to do something in the Philippines. I
don’t know what I would have done, but I do know that it would’ve been
interesting, and I would’ve been just as happy doing it as I am doing

The important bit is being happy. In terms of my work, I can’t say
that I’m happier here. Then again, I can’t say that I would have been
happier had I stayed home. It’s hard to tell because I’m happy and I
think I’d be happy no matter what. I can’t speculate much about other
possible lives, but looking back at this one, I can say that I’m happy
to have survived the challenges. They’ve made me stronger, and even if
homesickness gets the better of me sometimes, things are good. But my
intuition tells me that there’s a reason for this, and that there’s
something more that I need to explore. It feels right to be here at
this time.

I don’t have a master plan right now. I can’t tell you how my life
fits into some grand plan for the Philippines or for the world.
I’m here, and as long as I pay attention to the details and check
every so often that I’m heading in a direction I like, things should
work out.

So, should I have stayed in the Philippines? I don’t know. I’m sure my
life would have worked out if I had. But I’m here in Canada, so let’s
see what I can do from here. After all, if I think that I’m in just
the right place at just the right time, I’ll probably be right. And if
I think I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time, I’d be right too.
I’d rather be in the right place. =)

Random Emacs symbol: mail-default-headers – Variable: A string
containing header lines, to be inserted in outgoing messages.

Immigration points

| canada

I’ve been checking out the paperwork I need in order to immigrate to
Canada as a skilled worker. If I do as well as I think I will on the
English language proficiency test, then I’ll be just one point shy of
the 67 points I need to start the process. This is even before I
finish my master’s degree, which will put me well over the minimum.

All I have to do to qualify is to find out if my experience as a
university lecturer can be counted as part of my professional
qualifications. That will give me one year of experience under job
code 4121 (university professors/lecturers/etc.) and two years of
experience under job code 4122 (teaching and research assistants).

Another way I can make up that last point is to learn enough French to
pass a basic French exam. It will be a useful mental exercise, anyway.

As soon as I get that sorted out and take a test for English
proficiency, I can start the paperwork. Even with processing delays, I
should be able to get all the paperwork finalized while on a temporary
work permit.

I need to be able to think long-term *somewhere.* If I don’t know
where I can be in five, ten years, then it’s difficult for me to
invest in anything long-term, and long-term investments are the ones
that really pay off whether you’re talking about stocks, careers, or

At the same time, though, I’m worried that I’m going to become just
one more statistic in the Philippines’ brain drain. I can bloom
wherever I’m planted. Why not the Philippines? Why shouldn’t the
Philippines get the best years of my youth? I know that the longer I
stay here, the more reasons I will have to stay and the fewer reasons
I will have to leave.

But the hints of what I can do here are so tantalizing…

Lucky those who never have to choose!

I think that every Filipino grows up knowing about diaspora. The
stories of overseas Filipino workers and domestic helpers and
scientists and teachers are all part of our blood now, something to be
dreaded and desired.

So here I am. All I can do is prepare as well as I can for all the
possibilities I can see. The choice will be clearer as I get closer,
but for now I must remember what my mother reminds me whenever I feel
homesick – I belong to the world, not just to my country.

Random Emacs symbol: ad-read-advised-function – Function: Read name of advised function with completion from the minibuffer.

Freezing rain

| canada

Freezing rain was forecast for this afternoon. I made it all the way
out to IBM, but upon hearing from Quinn that even Torontonians were
calling it an early day and heading home, I decided not to stick
around. Good decision – the weather outside my window is horrible,
switching from snowflakes blown about by wind to driving rain and back
to snow again. Cold and wet is a terrible combination. I am staying
firmly indoors, wearing a brightly dyed malong and wishing I were back
in my tropical Philippines.

Random Emacs symbol: widget-default-value-inline – Function: Wrap value in a list unless it is inline.

Toronto Technology Week!

Posted: - Modified: | canada

Toronto Technology Week will be from May 28 to June 1, and I am *so* excited about it! With the Mesh Web 2.0 conference and the best of BarCamp and DemoCamp lining up, it’s going to be an amazing week. I know about it, and you know about it, but every geek in Toronto has to find out about it in time to make it to all the parties!

It’ll be my personal mission to spread the world and to nudge
interesting people to organize events around then. =D Can’t wait!

Random Emacs symbol: widget-menu-max-shortcuts – Variable: Largest number of items for which it works to choose one with a character.