Showing posts from August, 2014

Camping With Russians

Aaaah, camping. Feel the stress and grind melt away as you pull on to a dirt road flanked on both sides by green forest. Take the seatbelt off  and crack a beer as you pull in to your camping spot. Quickly get the tent up, get the fire going, get the food out and get several beers in ya. It's the beginning of the most economical vacation possible!

Camping is popular all over the world, and everyone does it a little differently. Here in Canada it is a national pastime (for those who's families don't own an expensive waterfront cottage). I learned to camp at a very young age: my mother was an avid camper and I could build a fire and put a tent up by the time I was 5 years old! Okay, not quite so young, but I knew how to roast marshmallows and get in to the groove of camping. By the time I was 10 and in Scouts I was able to camp like a pro.

In Korea camping is different. One time my wongjang-nim (school director aka "boss") took me "camping" with his family …

Canada: Worth The Wait

3 years ago Katya and I had to spend nearly a year apart in order for Katya to receive her visa to Canada. Never before in my life had I thought that I would be sponsoring somebody to immigrate here, nor did I ever know anybody who had been through it. It was something I heard on the news, especially whenever the government made little tweaks to the system or some big boatload of illegal immigrants was intercepted off the coast of British Columbia.

Like many an armchair general, however, I had some type of opinion on the matter, believing the few fragments I heard on the news qualified me for expertise. It wasn't until I was immersed in the immigration system itself that I learned how it really works.

Let me say, first off, that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and its attachments in Canadian embassies around the world are doing a Herculean job of managing the more than 1.5 million people who apply for immigration every year, and the 250,000 applicants who are given visas…