Crossing the Valley: Union Jack

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                              Crossing the Valley:

The Union Jack The British Flag is also known as Union Jack

                               Natalie Speedracer

“Why did I move to Canada, or why did I move to America? They are two totally different answers. I moved to Canada when I was young, and I was ancient when I moved here.” – Pat Carter

When I first met my co-worker Pat, the first thing I noticed was her English accent, then her funny pessimistic attitude. She has been married for over twenty years and has been working at the health food store for a few years. When Pat was in her twenties, she lived in the middle of England, which was over populated and had some economy issues at the time. The economy was not ideal, but it is nothing like small island of Tonga, nor the countries being used for only export. The Canadian Prime Minister sent out letters to young people encouraging them to move to Canada for job opportunities. A representative visited the area she lived in and convinced her and her friend to move. Pats friend only ended up staying for a few years, then moved back to England. Pats husband also has dual citizenship, one in Canada and one in America. His dual citizenships come from having one parent from Canada and one from America. Unlike all of the stories about migrant racism, Pat and her husband are white, moving to two countries where the majority of the people are also white. They have not been made to feel like they should live in a certain neighborhood and shop only at certain stores, like the Asian migrants in some of the video clips shown in class. They have not ran into any racism, or people concerned about them invading the country, like how some U.S. citizens feel about the Mexican migrants, or similarly, the Moroccans (In and out of Morocco). They lived in Canada for many years, until they decided to go somewhere warm. I asked her why they left Canada, and she replied “the weather!”.

Since Pat already has two citizenships, she cant have another, so she is here on a working visa. Pat has been working the whole time she has been in America, all of which has been in Arizona. British, or Canadian migrants do not have the language barrier to get past, they are not pushed into poorly paying, or dangerous jobs such as meatpacking (The Heartlands Raw Deal). Pat works at a Vitamin store, making good commission, people respect her and she has not had any problems finding jobs, and is in no danger unlike the women in Disposable Domestics. Pat enjoys driving huge American cars and vans, she told me about her first car (which was not in America). She had a Mini, and kids. Somehow she could fit all of her strollers and gear into the hatch back, under the seats. People would often stop to watch her unload, amazed at all she could fit in that tiny car. Pat works full time, but just enough hours to get health insurance. She is a very good sales woman, and has a neat sense of humor that I enjoy.

One major problem that Pat and her husband encountered after moving here was their credit. Canadian credit did not transfer over here so when they wanted to buy a house they had no credit, similar to some of the stories in the Crossing the Blvd. It took a while of getting small credit cards and credit building, but now they doing fine. They did not go the route that many migrant families do, particularly Asian migrants who save money by not fixing their apartments or buying new furniture (New Pioneers in the Heartland), Pat and her husband eventually used credit to mortgage. In three years, Pat has to renew her working visa. Unlike the Tongans (Voyages), Pat does not come from a country that she has to send money back to, nor did she come here because of the economy. Britain's economy is not much effected by remittances, unlike Latin America (Remittances, U.S. Latino Communities, Migration World News) or Tonga. It took her six months to get the working visa in the first place, but now she is certain it will take longer and cost a lot more (since 9-11). She doesn’t think it will be a problem though.

To learn more about Britain:

            To learn more about Canada:

References to:

Disposable Domestics

The Heartlands Raw Deal


New Pioneers in the Heartland

Remittances US Latino Communities, Migration World News

In and Out of Morocco




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