Before I moved to England, I used to look at Europe and marvel at their ability, since forming the EU, to be able to move to whatever country they fancied and just live there. When I moved across it was a bit shocking to think that many people over here thought Canada had a similar agreement with America, that since we’re neighbours and quite similar as far as the basics go (speak English generally as our first language, watch the same TV, have the same things in the shops, ready access to really crap fast food) it was utterly reasonable to think such an agreement existed. Imagine their dismay when I told them this was in no way the case.
With the recent news that Canada was considering, what, annexing, inviting, the Turks and Caicos to join us, I must admit, ideas about moving back started swirling round in my head. The idea of living a visa-free life on a sunny sandy beach appealed immensely. I pictured myself being able to work, remotely, on a beach. Without having to go through the palaver of getting a work permit. Sun and no work papers? Honestly, to my mind these days that’s pretty close to perfect.
And honestly, since the UK still owns or whatever it is you call it when you rock up and colonise a country, most of the Carribean, I feel it’s only fair that Canada arranges a similar agreement. Though, obviously, we’d do it in a different way. I imagine that when the Brits first started turning up places and calling them their own, they mostly just caught the locals off guard. And since the Brits aren’t a flashy lot, I suspect they just started acting, quietly, and with a lot of embarrassment, like they owned the place, the locals figured they were a harmless bunch and so let them carry on with that line of thinking. This is also how British people date, in some ways, though with dating there’s the drinking too. As in, you start drinking with someone and then a few months later you’re dating them so as to avoid the awkwardness of mentioning you don’t actually fancy doing that. Anyhow, that’s how I imagined it going.
But if Canada were to invite the Turks and Caicos to be part of the country, I suspect we’d turn up and the first thing we’d do would be to apologise for our existence, turning up unannounced, being so bold as to invite them to consider perhaps in the future coming to some kind of mutually beneficial arrangement. And then, little by little, all the pale, sun deprived people of Canadia would start inching south. And pretty soon there’d be Tim Hortons everywhere and people would be building large indoor ice arenas so hockey could be played. Because ball hockey, or street hockey, as I understand it, is okay, but it’s not right.
I suspect though that most Canadians would find, as some of our friends have found, having moved to the Caymans, that little islands have their own quirks that take a bit of getting used to. Especially when they’ve previously been under the watchful eye of Britain. They will not have a unified tap, as most places in the UK still do not feel such things are necessary. They will drive on the wrong/other side of the road, which will be confusing initially, but I think we could get used to it. And then there will be the British love of paperwork and bureaucracy to get used to.
For reasons that are desperately unclear, the British have a deep and abiding love of paperwork and officialdom. There are people to fill in forms, offices that accept forms, ones that hand them out (never the same office, because why would you?), and so on and so forth. There are some things I avoid doing here just because I can’t cope with the paperwork. But this sort of thing does help keep lots of people in gainful employment so it can’t be all bad.
I suspect that Canadians would eventually grow tired of life in the sun. Apart from the hurricanes, there would be no weather that is actively trying to kill us and when you grow up veering between the Polar Vortex and 40C with the humidex, tornadoes, ice storms and so on, you get tired of benign weather. It’s as if it’s just stopped trying.
And then there would be a distinct lack of traffic which would preclude veteran drivers of the 401 from playing Grand Theft Auto on their daily commutes. Sure, there would be a lot less road rage, but sometimes veering from lane to lane at speeds of over 140km/h whilst applying makeup and or shaving (delete as appropriate) reminds you what it’s like to really live.
But I suppose it’s just as well that the idea has been called off. That much nice weather would ruin us. And if one didn’t need a visa the chances that I’d end up living at The Mom’s – who would surely relocate the minute it was possible – would be extremely high.