Last Tuesday, January 20th I officially became a Canadian Citizen.
J'affirme solennellement que je serai fidèle et porterai sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth Deux, Reine du Canada, à ses héritiers et successeurs, que j’observerai fidèlement les lois du Canada et que je remplirai loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her MajestyQueen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Yep, we had to say the oath in French and English, because Canada is officially a bilingual country.
It was a long morning. Hubby, my in-laws, my sister-in-law (Jen), my niece (Taylor), my friend (Steph) and I all arrived at the Surrey Immigration office at 8am.
About 20 mins later they let everyone in. I had to stand in a long line up to sign in.
There were 91 people from 24 countries taking their oath of citizenship. It took over 1/2 an hour to sign everyone in.
Finally around 9:15am the Judge entered the room and the ceremony began. The Judge thanked everyone for choosing Canada over everywhere else and then proceeded to almost insult every other country in the world. I'm sure that wasn't how he meant to come across, at least I hope not.
We had cookies and coffee afterwards. Then Steph and I headed to work, and everyone else went out for breakfast!
Dukkah is originally an Egyptian dish. It's full of nuts and spices and is so good. Serve it with french bread and olive oil and vinegar.
I made a big batch before Christmas. We had a secret santa exchange at work. I gave a jar of Duqqa, a french stick, a bottle of olive oil, and two white dishes. I think the recipient enjoyed it. I had a lot left over, so quite a few people received a jar at Christmas.
We still have some in our fridge. I like to snack on it. It's also good on scrambled eggs, sprinkled over salad, or as a crust on chicken (and probably salmon).
1/2 cup Macadamia or Brazil nuts (I prefer Macadamia)
1/4 cup hazelnuts 1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (I use both) 1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut 1 cup sesame seeds 1/2 cup coriander seeds 1/4 cup cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use a pinch) 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
On large baking sheet spread hazelnuts and sunflower seeds in single layer.
Roast in 350 degrees oven for 9 minutes.
Sprinkle with coconut and bake for 3 minutes or until nuts and coconut are golden brown.
Let cool and chop in food processor.
In a large pan over medium-high heat heat sesame, coriander and cumin seeds, stirring often, for about 8 minutes or until sesame seeds are golden brown. Finely chop.
Mix nuts and seeds together.
Add salt, ground cumin, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne; stir to combine.
Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.
I read a lot. I buy a lot of books. A lot. I know it's not good for the trees or reducing consumerism.
Does it count that I do reuse? I read most books multiple times, lend to friends, give to friends, donate to book drives and occasionally sell at a garage sale.
I can never find what I want at the library. Or I'm too impatient to wait for someone else to return the book I want. Or if I do take books out I never remember to return them on time and end up paying big $$$ in late fines so I might as well just purchase the books.
These are my book shelves (there's another one on the other side of the room). Books here have been read, usually 2 or 3 times. Some of them more. The first Harry Potter has been read 7 times. Each time a new book came out I'd re-read the set from #1.
The books in the drawer beside my bed? These are on the go, I read a chapter or two, move onto something else and then come back for another chapter. Except the flying book and the wine book, I reference those frequently.
The pile at the end of the bed? Chicklit, easy read books. They were not bad the first time round. They will get a second read, then find a new home.
Books on the floor in the office? Read once. Not a big hit. I don't need to keep. Will go to garage sale or friends.
Books I read in the week we were on the island for Christmas...
Two Little Girls in Blue - fluff
The Little Lady Agency - fluff
Book of the Dead - I've always been a fan of the Kay Scarpetta series, but I think I'm done now. These characters deserve some happiness.
The Nasty Bits - I didn't know what to expect. I haven't really watched Anthony Bourdain's TV shows. This is a collection of his essays, articles and anecdotes from over the years. Mr Bourdain is a very entertaining writer. A good read.
Twilight - I had to see what all the fuss was about. Now I'll have to read the 2nd book. I enjoyed Twilight. Yes it's definitely a book aged at teenagers, but it's still worth a read. I ended up giving several copies as Christmas presents.
Friday Night Knitting Club - a novel about friendships, old and new and renewed. It made me cry. You should read it.
Pride and Prejudice - this is a re-read, but it's one of my favourite books. I'm about half way done.
New Moon - the 2nd in the Twilight series
The Year of Living Biblically - One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible - as Literally as Possible.
Sylvia by Bryce Courtenay - one of my favourite authors.
The Lucy Family Alphabet - a christmas present from my closest friend sent from Aus.
I blame my mother. She always had (has) a book in her hands. I can almost guarantee that I got at least one book every birthday and Christmas. I had wall to wall, ceiling to floor bookshelves that my dad built in my childhood room.
And now Kelli has gone and recommended 2 more - Winterdance and The Ridiculous Race.
Anyone else want to add to my list.
Over two months ago I received a summons. Actually a notice to appear for my Canadian citizenship test. On Wednesday October 29th at 8:35am. It was a tad unexpected.
I sent my application in at the end of May. Sometime in September I received a letter advising my application had been received and would be reviewed, and that this step would take 12-18 months. Then I would sit the test. I certainly didn't expect to take it this year. Let alone with a weeks notice.
I have not crammed for a test in 18 years!
8:00 - 8:30am arrive at the test centre, join the line up to have my ID and my notification letter checked
8:30am doors open, the line moves forward slowly as each person is given a number and told where to sit
8:45 - 9:00am wait patiently for my number (5) to be called. Wait patiently while a citizenship and immigration officer checks over my application to make sure nothing is missing. I sign the back of the answer sheet, so she can check my signature matches the one on the appliction. All is good, so
9:00 - 9:30am take my assigned seat for the test. Fill in my name and number on answer sheet. Wait patiently for everyone elses application to be verified.
9:30am - 9:45am citizenship and immigration officer explains test - don't talk, don't look at another person's answers, make sure top half of form is filled in correctly etc etc
9:45 -9:50am - test is handed out. I have version C. There's 6 versions. Make sure to note which version you have on the answer sheet.
9:50am start test. There are 20 questions. Questions 1-15 are general knowledge about Canadian history, geography, economy and people. I think you need to get 12/15 to pass. Questions 16-18 were about Canadian government, and you had to answer at least 1 of the 3 correctly. Questions 19+20 were about elections and voting and you had to get both correct.
10:15am I'm done. Hand in my answer sheet. Now I have to wait 4 months to find out if I passed.
Over the holidays I received another notice to appear. On January 20th 2009 at 8:30am to take the oath of citizenship. I guess that means I passed the test.
I have to show up with the above notice, 2 pieces of ID with photo and signature, all my original documents including record of landing, confirmation of permanent residence and permanent residence card, a holy book for my choice and finally all my passports (current and expired). I'll lug them all there and they probably won't even look at them.
It says I can bring family and friends. Hubby and my friend Steph are coming. Do you want to come too? Or you can come for a celebration party that evening. Hubby and Steph are throwing me a welcome to Canada party. (they seem to forget I've already been here for almost 12 years!)
It feels kinda weird. Everyone here is excited for me, yet I feel bad. Why? Not really sure, but it feels like I'm giving up my home. I'm not. I get to keep my Aussie citizenship and passport. I hope my family is not upset or insulted.
We are not nightclubbers anymore, and $100.00 a head for a dinner is now in our budget, so how do we spend New Years Eve? With friends.
Paul, Erin, Mackenzie and Ailis invited us all to ring in the new year at their home. It was an evening filled with friends, food, drinks, party poppers, noise makers, fun and Mamma Mia the sing along edition!
On the day of New Years Eve we decided to go to the Vancouver Aquarium. Again it is a very long time since I've been there. The Aquarium has undergone some extensive renovations since I last visited.
In June of 2008 a baby beluga was born - Tiqa. We were able to see Tiqa, her mum Qila and her grandmother Aurora.
Other highlights of the day were the sloth, sea otters, pacific white sided dolphins, moon jelly fish and strawberry coral.
Finally late this afternoon the weather cleared enough that we could take Morag flying. We had been worried that it wasn't going to happen. Morag and I hurried home from the aquarium to meet hubby at the airport. We flew up over the mountains, and down over the city. Morag, who can't drive a car, flew the plane back to the airport, and then hubby took over to land.
After Grouse Mountain we stopped in Stanley Park to see Bright Nights. Bright Nights at Stanley Park has been put on every Christmas for the last 20+ years by the BC Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund. There are over a million lights, and you can ride the train through the forest to see the displays.
We came back from the Island on the 27th to find my car buried in our drive way. Our first task was to dig it out. Then we had to clean up the spare bedroom/office so Morag would actually have a bed to sleep in, because previously it was used for storing all the office paperwork. We have a perfectly good filing cabinet, but the bed works better!
I drove to Seattle on Monday to pick Morag up from the Amtrak station. It was good to see her again. This was the first time she had been to Canada since our wedding - 9 years ago. We spent the next 5 days seeing some of the sights of Vancouver. It was fun to be a tourist in the city where I live, something hubby and I don't normally do.
Morag wanted to see scenic views of Vancouver and not museums and art gallerys. So we headed up Grouse Mountain.
We spent a lot of the day in queues. In the queue to buy tickets, then in the queue for the lift, the queue for the sleigh ride, the queue for lunch, the queue for the gondola back down, the queue for starbucks... but it was all worth it. I don't remember when I last went up Grouse Mountain, it was back before hubby and I were married, I think.
The gondola was opened in 1966 and holds 100 people per cabin. It takes 4 mins to ride from the parking lot to the lodge, including "crossing" 2 towers that make the cabin swing quite a bit.
At the top we went for a sleigh ride, watched Born to Fly and Animal Tracks in the Theatre in the Sky, had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and bumped into a friend from work and her family.
Before we headed back down the mountain, we had to try ice skating on the pond. Neither of us are particulary good, but it was a lot of fun. My legs ached so much afterwards, we should go more often, it's good exercise.
The wind had started to pick up and we were both beginning to get a little chilly so it was time to take the gondola back down. It was still snowing but the sky had cleared and we were able to see the city.
To warm us up, Morag treated us to hot chocolates at Starbucks. It was fun, hubby and I will have to go sometime.