Lessons learned from improv


I’m currently applying for an in Canada Spouse or Common–Law Partner Class visa.

It’s a really stressful experience. There is a lot of paperwork. My wife had to prove that she is capable of providing for our little family (immigrants aren’t entitled to government assistance for three years). I had to complete a thorough background check and a detailed relationship survey. I needed to provide additional documents – such as letters, photographs, e-mails, joint bills – that proved I am in a genuine relationship with my wife. I also needed to obtain a police certificate from Australia and undergo a medical exam, blood test and a chest x-ray.

When I mailed this two pound packet of information to Vegreville, AB (home of the world’s largest Ukrainian Easter egg), I cried with relief.

Now I am waiting. During this waiting period, I have been obsessively checking the CIC website and waiting for them to process my application.

The website has said the same thing for several weeks: currently processing applications received up to October 3, 2009.

I sent my application on March 25, 2010.

The stress continued to build. There was a constant knot in my stomach, my appetite was enormous and I was prone to tears.

Then I started taking an improv class at the Improv Depot. It’s eight weeks long and we’re working on the building blocks of improvisation – such as acceptance, story telling and character developments – through games. It’s a fantastic class: the teacher is very knowledgeable and creates a really friendly, warm environment.

A lesson that we learn every week is that one of the hardest things to do is relinquish control. You can’t predict what another person in the class will do or say. Willingly going into a situation that you are not able to control is terrifying. However, it can also be exciting and, if you’re lucky, hilarious.

I’m trying to apply this lesson to my everyday life.

Some days I fail. I eat cookies and cry. Some days I succeed. I acknowledge that I can’t change application processing times (I’m not the only person who would like to live in Canada), I make plans for obtaining an interim visa (it may involve a holiday to Mexico) and I look forward to the day when I receive a Maple Card (hopefully).


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