This evening, while sorting through tax documents, I found a letter dating from 2007, when a Social Insurance Number (SIN) was first issued to me (with an expiry date in 2010), and subsequent letters that would extend that deadline to 2011, and then 2014. These serve as reminders of a time when my ability to stay and work in this country was strictly rationed; a time replete with learning experiences, but one I am not especially nostalgic for.
The last letter in the series confirms the issuance of a new SIN, one that doesn’t start with a ‘9’, and therefore does not expire. I would never have guessed that a nine-digit number could be such a potent source of comfort and relief. The reality of being here to stay is still sinking in, and it appears likely that any tangible reminders of it will continue to tug at the heartstrings for the foreseeable future.