Oh, Canada

My two week provisional visitor’s visa was almost up. I’d spent all week locking down my very digital and very public life, and reassuring most of my friends and family at home that I was not, in fact, totally insane. I felt as if the whole bureaucratic ineptitude of a nation had decided to throw a tea party at my expense. I was in Canada, but I wasn’t allowed to work…much less build a company from scratch.

I was beginning to doubt my odds of getting a work visa in Canada.

My two week provisional visitor’s visa was almost up.  I’d spent all week locking down my very digital and very public life, and reassuring most of my friends and family at home that I was not, in fact, totally insane.  I felt as if the whole bureaucratic ineptitude of a nation had decided to throw a tea party at my expense.  I was in Canada, but I wasn’t allowed to work…much less build a company from scratch.

It was Friday, and I was cellbound come Monday.

Quick decisions are a part of life, and as daylight ticked away late Friday afternoon I decided to make the best of the situation and snap up an inappropriately inexpensive flight from Vancouver to Chicago the following morning.  Bust out of town…come back three days later and try a novel approach.

So yeah, I bought a plane ticket at about 7pm, and got on a 7am flight to Chicago.

I arrived in Chicago at about 7pm last Saturday.

Recently I gave a Best Man speech (posted here) at the wedding of one of my oldest and best friends.  The move to Vancouver injected a lot of emotion into that wedding weekend, and into the few weeks that followed. Murph and I always seemed to end up in the same place, so my leaving was a big deal.

So when I arrived in Chicago that evening, with the help of Braden and my sister I made my way to the bar downtown in which I knew that Murph’s wife, Ash, had planned on throwing him a surprise 30th birthday party.

Have you ever seen a surprise party get surprised?

It was maybe an hour after his friend’s and family had yelled, “Surprise!” in this private funky room in the basement of this place, and just one of them (his lovely wife, of course), knew that there was more to come.  I remember nearly buzzing as I ran down the stairs and walked into the room; our friends, his family, and then he turned and nearly sh#t his pants.  It was magic.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the party was really great, and the chance to catch people so quickly after I’d run out of town in the midst of my first (and somewhat frantic) move was refreshing.  I hadn’t been gone long, no doubt, but to really get another goodbye was heartwarming.

I spent most of the weekend with my family, and headed back to Vancouver Tuesday, with no clue as to where I’d actually end up.

This time around I had an application for a work visa and a bunch of supporting documents, including my original diploma from Stanford and a job offer letter from our CEO (snap!).

I was entirely unsure as to what I’d face when I walked up to the same customs line and told them I intended to work.  I had no idea if they’d pull up a record of my first experience, and begin the conversation from Skeptic Island.

I had no idea if they were following me on Twitter; I sure wasn’t risking it, though.

Approaching the customs area, though, had quickly become a very friendly place, with the city putting on a smile for its influx of Olympic attendees.

I was politely instructed that New Workers had their own line, and I proceeded to a back room (I’ve now seen all the back rooms in that airport, I’d imagine) where I came upon a very, very cute customs agent who is now also responsible for making my life infinitely easier.

Two or three questions and bam: a year-long work visa.  Thank you very much.

No…I didn’t ask her out.

I got the hell out of there.

Photo by me; that’s Rafe, Anthony‘s son.

Leave a Reply