Santiago, Chile (Day 98)
Its been over 3 months in Santiago now and I got a visa extension last week for $100 USD which has extended my stay in Chile until March 26th, 2015. I hope that my job as an English teacher will be able to get me a work visa in January which will let me stay until early 2016. Work has been going well and I now teach 4 classes a week, twice a week for 1.5 hours each. Half my classes have 2 students and the other half with 1 student. They are at very professional business around Santiago working with companies such as KPMG and NEC. I hope to have a few more classes in the future and to change one class that requires a metro which is something I would rather not use.
In other, much bigger news, I am now engaged to be married! I proposed to my Chilean girlfriend on New Years Eve in front of her family and fireworks in the city of Valparaiso. She said yes and we are very happy and in love. We have only known each other for 6 months but it feels very right and we have a very honest and open relationship. Our plan is to move to Vancouver, Canada after the wedding here in Chile. I hope we can move in late May or early June we plan to find a place near Stanley Park in the West End for $1,200-1,350/month. Our finances will be a challenge for the first year or 2 I believe but I hope very much to find a job in IT that can have me making $40,000+/year, which isn’t unreasonable in Vancouver.
Once we are married I hope to sponsor my wife to become a permanent resident of Canada, a process which takes 16-24 months currently. Luckily some laws have recently changed that will make things much easier for her immigration. The first law change in November 2014 was Chile being given visa-exempt status for Canada, an honor that only Chile has in all of Latin America. This means she can come to Canada without applying for a visa and stay for 6 months as a visitor. The second law change is a 1 year pilot program the government is trying which started December 2014 that will fast track her application for an open work visa without her having to wait for processing of her permanent resident application. This rule is just for people apply for permanent resident visas via spousal sponsorship and will make it so she can get an open work visa in 1-4 months instead of having to wait 12-16 months as it has been in the past. So these changes have been great and with time, money, luck and a lot of paperwork I hope to have her as a permanent resident within 2 years of entering Canada.