Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Americans by birth, Canadians by choice

Over here in the political blogosphere, we all have a tendency to have blogrolls that consist exclusively, or almost exclusively, of other political blogs. But political blogs aren't the Alpha and the Omega of the blogging world, and last year, this recognition even led to Robert expanding his Canadian Blog Awards beyond just the political. Recently, I was excited to find that there's a whole subcommunity of bloggers out there who are blogging about their personal journeys as Americans who have decided to emigrate to Canada. Some of them are lefties, some of them are queer, some of them just felt out of place in the U.S., and some are all of the above. And while I've got a rather different sort of blog over here, I still feel an affinity with all of them.

There's Laura from We Move to Canada, a freelance writer who shares a bloggy tagline with me, and who left New York City for Toronto along with her partner Allan last summer. She details her journey not only in her blog, but in a Cafepress book.

There are the two gay men from Florida who write the Moving to Vancouver blog. They already sport a "No Deep Integration with the USA" banner on their blog, despite still being in the process of applying for permanent residency in Canada.

There's Daniel and his husband Alan from Would-Be Canadians, who hope to move from Seattle to Vancouver. Their blog details the anxiety over the limbo that immigrants can feel as they're wondering when and if their applications will be accepted.

There's Juan and Mr Tew of Wondrous Canadian Renewal, a binational (U.S. and an unknown Latin American country) couple who are currently living in Michigan and hoping to move just across the border to Windsor.

There's Tom of Canadian Hope, one half of another binational gay couple living in New Jersey. Due to his mother's recent illness, he's been thinking a lot about what it means to move far away from his close-knit family to an entirely different country. But he seems grounded in his decision to move to Canada when he writes about everything that's going wrong in the U.S. and its politics, and his hopes to find something different in this country.

There are the two women of Two Moms to Canada, a couple from Minnesota who have delved deeply enough into Canadian politics to link to the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Council of Canadians, and Rabble. They were recently in Montreal for the national conference connected with the OutGames, and were particularly impressed with Louise Arbour and Irshad Manji.

There's Mason and Nick of Life Without Borders, who after several long years of waiting, have just received their official permission to come to Canada (congratulations, guys!). Their recent posts are eloquent statements of the combination of sadness and happiness, of trepidation and excitement that inevitably surrounds any decision to leave the country where you've spent your whole life.

I've long maintained that becoming an immigrant is about more than just deciding you're unhappy where you are; it's also about choosing a particular other place and doing the work that's necessary to be happier there. It's an act not just of despair and rejection, but also of hope and acceptance. These people embody both sides of that sentiment. Their stories take me back to my own fears and worries about coming here for good, and my own process of figuring out what makes Canada tick and affirming the reasons why I wanted to live here. If you found my recent post about my own immigrant journey interesting, you might want to check some of them out.


L-girl said...

Hey, thanks for the shout-out! It's nice to see so much of the moving-to-Canada community mentioned.

Great tagline. ;-)

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


I'm intrigued by the "much of" wording. Who have I missed?

I'm just excited to learn that there is a "moving-to-Canada community"! I certainly could have benefited from it, once upon a time.

M@ said...

So cool -- I've met two out of the ex-pat community you listed here. Hope to make it four when Nick and Mason arrive.

I've learned a lot talking to you guys, both about Canada and the USA. Glad you both came on up here!

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


You're actually responsible for my stumbling upon that community, believe it or not. It was through your blog that I found L-girl, and through L-girl that I found the others. So, thanks!

West End Bound said...

Idealistic Pragmatist,

Thanks for the kind words and plug for all my favorite "Canadian Bound" blogs. We have learned a lot of great information from all of them and stay in contact with most. We were also fortunate enough to meet Daniel and Alan of WBC recently in Vancouver. Can't wait to read more of your blog . . . It is thanks to L-Girl that I found it.


Idealistic Pragmatist said...

west end bound,

Thank you! It's been a while since I immigrated (got here in 1997, so I'll be celebrating my ten-year anniversary next year!), but I sure remember the kinds of things you guys are going through. Best of luck to you both.

West End Bound said...

So give us your anniversary date and we'll send a "congratulations on 10 year's" card. It was good to see your response to one person - I forget who - about how all the stress and time invested in the process is worth it. That's good to hear from someone that has gone through it.

We're hoping for a spring '07 acceptance into our future home. (We're also learning patience, which has been difficult for me!)

gito said...

Thank you for expressing so much that some of us could not say for ourselves. This is gito from Honduras and Juan (John) from the Estates.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

west end bound,

Well, I won't lie to you: it's not always easy. Especially in the first couple of years, when you're first figuring everything out about how things work up here. There are all sorts of things that you just don't know, but people expect you to know because you don't sound or look like an immigrant! But I've never regretted my decision to leave, and I feel so much more at home here than I ever felt in the country I grew up in. For one thing, I'm able to be extremely active in a political party that I wholeheartedly believe in, which is something I would have never thought possible. They actually value me and my ideas. Shocking! :-)

My ten-year anniversary will be May 26th, 2007 (I actually had to look it up!). I really should do something to celebrate that, come to think of it--it was actually a far more eventful time than receiving my citizenship last year!

Let me know if you have any questions, by the way. You can reach me at idealisticpragmatist at


Thanks! And the best of luck to you both. I'll make the same offer to you as I made to west end bound, by the way--let me know if there are any questions I can answer, no matter how silly.

Tom said...

Wow, what a post!

We really feel part of this great movement now that we joined the other bloggers.

Thanks for including us.

I look forward to reading your story.

West End Bound said...

idealist pragmatist:

I've got your anniversary date in my "Palm Pilot" . . . Expect an ecard to commemorate the occasion. (Although when perusing cards available, there are very few that are appropriate!)


"We really feel part of this great movement now that we joined the other bloggers."

As well you should! We're all in this together and any support or information we can provide to others is greatly appreciated by all.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Well, I should warn you before you settle in for another "moving to Canada" blog that Idealistic Pragmatist is more the conventional political editorial type of blog, and it actually contains very little of "my story" in the sense that you're probably used to. The more narrative post I made about my immigrant journey was an exception. But I do regularly talk about Canadian political issues from the perspective of an immigrant from the U.S., and perhaps that would be of some interest to you?

Niko said...

Thank you for the kind words and mention in the blog. After the day I had yesterday reading your comments made me feel reenergized about my move, thanks.

Diamond Jim said...

I don't write all that much about my odyssey (perhaps not the best word, since Odysseus ended up where he set off from), but I'm also American by birth, Canadian by choice.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Diamond Jim,

Hey, cool. There are lots of us, so it seems.