First of all: Hell yeah, we’ve finally got it! We’re finally allowed to enter Canada!
And now, let’s start a few exciting weeks earlier. Last time you heard from me, we were immensely disappointed from not getting a work permit for 2019. Since then, I have had quite a difficult time being stuck in Germany working six days a week with little hope to start our journey soon.
Anyway, as I had no other choice, I kept working and I have to say that I really enjoyed the work itself, at the market as well as at the drug store. At both jobs, I had amazing co-workers with whom working was so much fun! Further, I had very varying tasks so I was very rarely bored and I enjoyed the contact to so many – mostly very friendly – people.
Still, every day I was reminded that at that moment, I could have also been in the Canadian Rockies skiing, earning money and building my own vehicle to travel around shortly after.
But then on December 9th, the pools for the 2020 season of the International Experience Canada program opened which meant that we could submit our profiles and would hopefully still be invited to apply for the visa in the end of the year.
On Friday, December 20th, my last day of work at the drug store had finally come. Unfortunately, I became sick on Tuesday but still went to work at the market on Wednesday which made me stay in bed the following two days missing my last day of work.
On Saturday, we then left for my grandaunt’s place in Bavaria to spend the Christmas time there. Of course, I used all the time there to inform myself about Canadian car insurance, driving regulations and travel insurances.
And generally, I felt the excitement to start the journey combined with the constant fear of not getting our visas getting on my nerves. Although I didn’t really realize it at the time, the uncertainty that all of our plans could be destroyed by one simple decision by some IRCC worker put me through a very tough time.
When the first round of invitations wasn’t announced by December 27th, which was the day of the latter a year ago, I still knew that we would only have to wait a couple more days for that but subconsciencely, it added a lot more tension.
Luckily, only a few days later, on January 1st, the first round of invitations was finally announced to take place five days later, on January 6th. A few intense days of pure excitement and fear later, we were finally invited to apply! On the same day, we uploaded all supporting douments which we had already prepared the weeks before.
While Silas had all of them, I had forgotten to scan my ID and passport so I handed them in the next morning. Later that day, Silas was already invited to give his biometrics for which we had to drive all the way to Düsseldorf. I received that invitation the next morning so we made an appointment for the following day. After gathering all the documents we would need in Düsseldorf, I went to bed to get up at eight o’clock the next morning. We headed for the Visa Application Centre in Düsseldorf which was our first little roadtrip together.
It was a lot of fun but when we realized that giving our biometrics would take a total of 15 minutes for the both of us, we were really questioning if that could not have been done at any townhall. Anyway, we were happy that everything finally seemed to work out until the same evening, Silas already received the approval of his visa!
While I was super happy for him, I became slightly more nervous since mine wasn’t approved yet. But all that tension finally fell from my shoulders the next afternoon, when my visa was approved and nothing would stand between us and our journey anymore!
The following days, we booked our flights for February 4th. Since we will transit at the airport in Las Vegas, we actually had to apply for an American transit visa, the Esta, which was surprisingly easy compared to our recent experiences with visas.
We also bought our travel insurance, we quit our insurances here in Germany, we reserved a room in a hostel for the first nights in Canada and we got in contact with the owner of a van located in Kelowna.
He is looking to sell his 1990 Ford Econoline Van with 314.000 kilometres which is a lot but from the pictures, it looks as if it was in great shape and he claims to have 15000 (!!) receipts of repairs, replacements and maintenance work since the van was originally built. The inside is converted to perfectly fit our needs and he even went down in the price by 3500 CAD (around 2200€) so we will get it for 9000 CAD (6000€) now. I don’t think I have to tell you what an amazing price that is for this kind of van.
We will meet up with him on February 5th, the day we arrive in Kelowna, then have everything necessary explained to us, take it for a testride and have it checked by a mechanic with whom we have already made an appointment to then hopefully even purchase the van on that same day.
Then, we will only have to have it registered by paying the car insurance which unluckily we expect to be very costly. After that, we will have two more nights in the hostel to make ourselves comfortable in the van. And then we will finally kick off our adventure on February 9th, one year after starting the planning!
But let’s hold those thoughts for another three weeks and get back to where we currently are. Since everything is planned so far, we are now left with writing lists of what we will pack and try to forget as little as possible.
And I will spend the next weeks cleaning up my room and probably even packing as much of my stuff as possible into boxes to leave my room as empty and usable for other purposes as possible. That is because I am leaving for 17 months now and if things for once go as planned, I will only move back in for a short transition of two months after returning to Germany and before starting university in another German city.
So practically, I am also moving out of my parents’ house in less than two weeks from now. And just while writing this, my body is shaking all over from the pure excitement of everything finally moving forward.
So many exciting things to come!!