Canada… but why?

Questions and doubts

Emigrating to Canada wasn’t really anything I ever seriously considered to be planning. Not that I didn’t like the impression I had of this huge country – lots of nature, two coast lines, impressive cities, liberal government. A couple of times I visited different regions across Canada for work. But living there? A country, where winters are not only cold, but long as well? Where bureaucracy might even be worse than at home? Where social security and health insurance plans weren’t close to what Germany can offer? And then again, the cold!

Let alone my personal situation:

  • Happily married and both of us never took emigrating into serious consideration
  • Bought a house just two years ago, which was still far from being fully paid
  • Have been working for 10 years in a job which is not only fun and interesting, but also secure and well-paid
  • Have my circle of friends around me, and all family members living in Germany
  • Love warm weather

In one sentence: My comfort zone was nice and cosy. Nonetheless, somehow those little thoughts were crossing my mind: Is that really me? Doing the same job and conservatively staying at one place for decades? Why not trying something totally different? What hinders me selling a house I just bought?

LinkedIn is a professional’s friend

Thanks to my LinkedIn account, I regularly received messages from head-hunters from all over the place (just as most of my colleagues and friends, who keep their online profiles up to date). Some more interesting than others, some more serious than others. Eventually, I started replying. Couldn’t hurt, I thought, to just see what else is out there – if it’s only to do a reality check and evaluate my “market value”.  Back in summer 2017, I received about two inquiries per week; and a couple of them really caught my attention. And that’s how it all started.

What’s the capital of Canada?

Some one from Shopify, a company I may have heard of before, contacted me, asking whether I’d have some time later that week for a phone chat. Sure, I thought, sounds interesting. But where was this company located again? Ottawa? I did remember it being Canada’s capital – but would have never been able to spot it on a map. I visited Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal during prior business trips, but Ottawa never really caught my attention before. A couple of months and Skype calls later, I got the chance to get to know it better – I was invited by Shopify to come over for a couple of additional in-person interviews. That happened to be in early January… confirming, that the cold is definitely something to get used to.

Half-frozen Rideau River in January, 2018

More than curiosity

When I received a concrete (and competitive) offer a couple weeks later, the whole story suddenly started to become more than just being curious. Of course I’d ran multiple discussions with my wife already, but none of them were really based on a fully serious thought. That turned into the opposite – all of the sudden, there was a realistic chance of getting a new job after a decade in my old one, a chance to emigrate to a foreign country. Chances always come with risks, but we were willing to take them. The potential adventure ahead of us sounded way more appealing!

Looking over Rideau River from Ontario to Quebec, at -22°C

So, here we are – planning to emigrate from Germany to Canada. Quitting a good and secure job, selling a house we’ve lived in for only two years, leaving friends and family behind. And moving to one of the world’s coldest capitals.

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