Friday, February 11, 2011


She was 6, had auburn hair and all of the boys in my class were in love with her. She would resolutely declare that she was going to be a teacher when she grew up. I'm not sure what made me envy her more, the admiring looks she drew in the playground or her steadfast determination to do something specific in life. When asked what did i want to be when i grew up, my answer was noncommittal and varied depending on my mood: maybe an artist or a jockey. As each passing year added inches to my legs, one option was crossed off the sparse list.

Labelled a bright student albeit one who only applied herself near exams by my teachers, i was directionless and found myself studying fine art in college as i had no idea what else to do. Art college didn't seem like such a bad idea, it would probably consist of throwing paint at canvasses, chin stroking intellectualism, parties and getting high on shoddily rolled joints right? Two out of four ain't bad.

We bumped into each other in a shop 20 years later, her face lit up in recognition while mine remained blank; scrambling for some clue as to who this friendly stranger was. The auburn hair had been dyed black and the puppy fat had melted from her face. She animatedly spoke of her job - she was now a teacher. Walking away from the conversation i wondered why i've never possessed that drive or really cared about anything. Nagged by my parents for my lack of ambition and direction, who couldn’t understand my tendency to 'float more, steer less' and see where it led me.

For the first time in my life a desire for something emerged. A desire to continue working and living in Canada, a country that has allowed me to blossom as a person. The one i worked so fucking hard to build a life in; like a dog with a bone, determined to continue my personal and professional life here. If I had a dollar for every time someone suggested I marry a Canadian to enable me to do so, I’d be shopping regularly at Holt Renfrew.

Despite being told that the odds of finding a company who would support/ 'sponsor' me were slim to none and that i should just move back to Ireland, i built a website to raise my professional profile, handed out fliers to promote it, utilized Twitter/ Linkedin and numerous websites, emailed strangers (some of them were shockingly supportive), submitted over 500 job applications and made numerous phone calls. Seven months later a job emerged with a progressive company who seemed almost as excited to bring me on board as i was about joining their team. However red tape and bullshit bureaucracy tangled itself around the situation and 'the man'/Service Canada rejected their application for my work permit.

As this is the first time I’ve ever given a shit about anything, how does one know when to walk away and give up on a dream? How many times do you need to bang against a wall before you know that it’s going to crumble or remain standing? I'll find a way or i'll make one.


Andrew said...

Ah shit, sorry to hear that. i had always understood that work permits in Canada were easy to get once you had a job offer. Still, like, i have a Canadian cousin I could introduce you to...

Green of Eye, Sharp of Claw said...

@Andrew: Nope, there's a few processes and Service Canada make companies jump through hoops. They are continually tightening the requirements also. Hope all is well in Ireland.As for the cousin...add it to my Holt fund :)

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