Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Celebrating Two Years

Today is the two-year anniversary of when I became a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Two years ago, on the 18th, I left my mother's home. It was a grey, icy day. Before going to the airport, my family had their annual Christmas gift exchange at my oldest biological sister's house, so everyone was there to say goodbye to me, and I got to see all the kids running around and shouting in excitement because of gifts and family and Christmas.

At five pm, Mom, my biomom, and my youngest biosister, Becky, took me to the airport. It was a very quiet evening, but everything inside me buzzed and shook with excitement and anxiety.

I flew to Dulles, where I was told the wrong gate number and missed my connecting flight to Toronto. In the middle of having the worst panic attack I'd ever experienced, I somehow managed to find the correct gate (by taking a train across the airport), rebook the flight for the following morning, and find a payphone to call my mom to tell her what happened and for my family to get hold of my husband somehow. He would be waiting at Pearson Airport and as he didn't have a mobile then, he would have no idea that I wouldn't be coming for another eight or nine hours! He was with his best friend, Kent, but I didn't know his mobile number by heart.

Debbie (biomom) was there with Mom, and both their voices immediately had a tranquilizing effect on me. While talking to them, I looked around and noticed I was right at the gate I would be leaving from in the morning.

After we hung up, I lugged my laptop case to the chairs nearest the gate doors, bundled myself up in my hat and gloves because it was cold there, and hunkered down to wait for dawn.

Meanwhile, Debbie contacted Elisa (mother-in-law) on Facebook and told her what had happened. The guys were finally reached after quite some time, so Trevor went back to Kent's place and crashed on his couch for the night, sleepless as he was.

I, too, was sleepless. From my panic attack, my lungs felt burnt out and my windpipe was raw and burning. Breathing was very painful for most of the night. I had a migraine and was nauseous. The airport soon emptied, and the only other person I met was the nighttime janitor.

I slept in fitful spurts, from 1-2am, then 3-4am. I kept eyeing the screen on the wall, paranoid that the flight schedule would suddenly change on me. It didn't, but I kept looking.

By 6am, the trickle of people had turned into a flood. The sky slowly lightened, and a coffee place nearby opened. I bought an espresso to get rid of my migraine, and it worked, but my nerves were shot and the caffeine made me shaky to the point of vibrating the entire row of seats I was sitting in.

I was up like a shot and was first in line when it was time to board.

When we rose above the flat grey-white clouds, pure sunlight filled the cabin. I looked out my window and saw a glory for the first time...

{ via }

My anxiety faded and I instantly felt at peace. I knew my landing experience would be just fine.

And it was. When we dipped below that ocean of white clouds, everything beneath was grey and snowy and beautiful. The experience of "landing" as a PR was the most anti-climactic part of Canadian immigration, except that I had to chase down my luggage which had arrived the previous night on the flight I had missed.

But it wasn't until I was in my husband's arms again that my anxiety completely vanished.

Oh, that was a good day indeed.

A year from now, I can apply for citizenship.

I am so grateful, so blessed.

I am joyous.

I'm so proud to live here.


Deb Burroughs said...

Congratulations on your two years!

Debbie Mitchell said...

I miss you so much around here but am so glad you are happy!!!! Love you <3