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Showing posts with label FSW 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FSW 2013. Show all posts

26 August 2015

Helping Other Applicants: Be An MM2C Contributor

It's been two years since I first wrote my first post, Moving To Canada: A Dream.  At that time, I was not sure if my application will pursue because of my repetitive failures of my previous FSW applications.

Sharing my experiences made me more confident in expressing myself to my readers.  Even though my English was not that good, but at least the thought was there.  

Because of this blog, I know that I helped some people along the way as they themselves kept in touch with me sharing their good news.

It's been a fulfilling part of my life when I had helped people along their way on getting their FSW Visa.

I can feel the anxieties and excitement felt by applicants during the process of their application.  The moment they emailed me that they have received their Visas, me and my world cheered with joy.

I made this post, to let you know that Me Moving To Canada is open for FSW applicants to share their experiences.  Let's share our experience to others and help them succeed and be part of the MM2C community.

Your experience means a lot, you can share with us where you're now in your application.  Give some advice and lessons learned during the process.

To be a part of the Me Moving To Canada Experience, "MM2C XPrience (#MM2CXPerience)", you can contact me or share through these media.

1.  Blogger - send me an email to benalagnam@yahoo.com if you are interested to be added as a contributor to this blog.

2.  Facebook - Post your experience on my facebook page (BenAlagnam.com).

3.  Email - send your written experience to benalagnam@yahoo.com, let me know if you want your name and initials published or remain anonymous.

Helping one another through sharing will make the process of immigrating easier.

I'LL WAIT FOR YOUR MESSAGE!

Will this be helpful to you or other applicants, please tick the LIKE button below.

14 June 2015

Options on How to Bring Your Settlement Funds to Canada


Bringing the big amount of money with us in Canada was risky.  We are not talking of hundred of dollars here, it's thousands of dollars.

The settlement fund is the fruit of an immigrant's labor and maybe the only asset that had accumulated for many years of employment and/or a small business.

After the Visa, an immigrant was tasked to bring the settlement funds to Canada to be able for her/him to survive for at least 6 months without a job.

How will someone bring the settlement fund?  

It's an email that brought me to make this post, which came from Mr. F.

Here's his concern.
Hi Sir Ben,
It's me again. 
Good news! We have received our visas last week! Praise God!:) 
Now we are preparing for our transition there, and one matter that is not yet clear to me is bringing our settlement funds. 
How did you do it sir? is it through demand draft? traveller's cheque? or cash?  
If it is through demand draft, do you have any idea how long will it take for a Canadian bank to clear/encash it?  
Thank you very much! 
Regards, 
Mr. F. 
To Mr. F., thanks for this inputs cause this is one of the issues that immigrants encounter. It will give you an idea on how to bring the hard-earned settlement funds to Canada.

Options on Bringing the Funds to Canada
There are few options on bringing your settlement funds to Canada.  In this post, I will only give you two that I know. It is in the form of cash or bank draft.

Bank Draft
At first, I planned to bring a bank draft or demand draft.  It is a piece of paper and usually a cheque, depends on the bank.

To get this, you have to inquire at your local bank.  You will then deposit/pay the money, your settlement fund, with the bank and in return they will give you a signed cheque with the value equivalent to that amount.
It is just like buying a piece of paper.
If you have an existing account with that bank, it will be easier for them to do the transfer from your account and write the cheque.

Now, you can bring the bank draft with you on your way to Canada.  It is safe because if you happen to lose it, it can't be withdrawn from your account.

Disadvantage
When you arrive in Canada, you have to open a bank account and deposit that cheque.  But, the bank will hold it for 15-30 days.  You can not withdraw any amount until the end of the holding period.

The following are the banks that you can open an account in Canada.  You can click each link to know how long will be the holding period is.









The reason of the holding process is because the bank draft is issued from a foreign bank and the Canadian bank had to verify that it is legitimate, the local bank and the cheque.

So, I recommend that you only get a bank draft or demand draft from a reputable bank in your country.

Cash
I had chosen this option.  I exchanged some of my Singapore Dollars to USDollars while I was in Singapore.  It was easier there rather than in Philippines.

When I went back to Philippines, I changed all my Philippine Peso savings to USDollar currency.  Why?  It's because US Dollar is widely used currency in the world economy.  The exchange rate of a US$ does not fluctuate that much compared to a Canadian Dollar.

So, I brought along a small bag full of cash.

For your information: A US$10,000 worth of cash with a US$100 bill denomination is approximately an inch thick.

The cash was placed in a sling bag and I put it around my neck down to my chest. This way, someone needs to kill me first before they can get my hard-earned cash.

As we arrived in Canada, we went to the bank to open an account and deposited the cash in it.   It's fast and easy to withdraw anytime.

Disadvantage
It can be taken from you anytime and will be lost forever...

How to bring the fund is up to you.  There may be other options out there, but the important thing is to have a liquid asset with you so you can use it as soon as you need it.

Once you're here, the expenses will increase exponentially for the first few months of your stay.

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14 May 2015

Reasons Why I Left My Country and Live in Canada

In my heart, I am a proud Filipino.  Philippines is my mother country where I had planted my roots since I was young.   I was born with 100%-born Filipino parents and who are also happy to be one.

I grew up in Manila 80% of my lifetime and had visited provinces particularly from North to South of Philippines.  We made road trips from Ilocos to Manila, to Davao, Cagayan, and Zamboanga.

I've been in countries such as Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and China.  I've seen the lifestyle of people in each country and the beautiful unique environment where they live in.

Why am I saying this and what's the relevance of these things on my post today?

Because of these travels, I had learned some of the people's lifestyles and the environment in these places.  Each had its own advantages and disadvantages.

We have our own priorities and perspective in life.  Our way of thinking and accepting the environment, people, politics and the likes are different from one another.

Despite everything, we all have a common goal and that is to be stable and make someone special in our life be contented.

For me, I need a stable source of income, a family that loves me unconditionally, and a supportive government.  These are my priorities.  It may be different from you or to other people.

We are here in Canada for more than 5 months now and I had achieved and experienced my goals.  I am not expecting that this will be forever but at least once in my life, I had experienced this type of feeling.

Reasons Why I Decided to Immigrate to Canada
Again, this is my own preference.  Some may want a nice customized car, 5-bedroom house, lots of jewelry, a collection of shoes and many other WANTS that we can think of.

Well, I am not that type. For me to be happy, I only need a loving family, a stable job to sustain our basic needs, and a safe environment well monitored and supported by the government.

1. Obvious Corruption in Private Sectors 
I've been handling a Sales team back in the Philippines.  In this type of field, we have to be in contact with corrupt people.  They usually ask 10% or more than we profit for every project.  I don't like this kind of business wherein the customer and supplier relationship is only about bad money.  Most of my clients want to be part of this system, which I politely declined.

If you've been working as a supplier, you know what I mean.

2. Lack of Implementation of the Government's Law
Let's face it, there are lots of rules in our country, but the problem is how it's being implemented. From the simple "No littering" sign to the voting procedures (e.g. No flying voters, No buying of votes, etc.)

I started listening to news and commentaries from the AM radio and grew fond of it since I was 12 years old. Back then, it's unusual for someone my age to listen to AM radio. Other children my age would normally listen to music on FM.

Ever since then, topic of news anchors and commentators about corruptions  hasn't changed for decades. Different laws had been approved but because of corrupt and lack of discipline from the officials themselves, it's just there as a law with poor implementation. 


At least PNOY (President Noynoy) is cleaning a bit of it as of the time being. But 6 years of being a president is not enough to clean a country that's been corrupted thrice his presidential term. It's like cleaning a house for 30 mins after having a week long celebration of your child's party... or cleaning a whole arena after having a huge concert...I think you all get my point. 

3. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
It was 1967 when my Aunt left the Philippines and even asked my mother to go with her in Canada to work as an OFW. But my mother declined, she cannot bear leaving her loving husband and children behind.

After 4 decades, history repeats itself... but this time, I need to sacrifice my own emotions for the sake of the future of my kids. Our joint finances (me and my wife's salary) couldn't match the growing expenses we had back then. So off to Singapore where I worked for 5 years.

When I was there, I recalled what happened to my mother and I asked myself, "Do we really need to do this in every generation? I don't want to have my son working, as an OFW like me, in the future leaving his family behind in the Philippines.

It's very difficult being an OFW. It pains me a lot every time I step at the entrance of the airport, say goodbyes to my wife and sons, after a few days visit in Philippines.

4. To be with my Family 
It's a good thing that nowadays we have means to communicate with our loved ones through Skype and Facebook. In this way, I could talk to them and see my sons grow up. But it's not much of a fulfillment as a father. Why settle for a virtual image, if you can hold them very close to you every time you came from work?

Fathers and Fathers-To-Be, should I explain more? You know what I mean.

Why not Live in Singapore?
It's easier said than done.  I attempted to apply for a Permanent Residence in Singapore and was declined without giving me reasons.  They said that I can apply again if I want to. But, how can I improve my application if I don't know where my mistakes are?

Let's say that I've been approved, will I be a citizen for the next five years or so?  I have lots of Filipino friends who stayed PR's for more than 5 years and still have that status until now.  What happens if they don't renew the PR status?

I understand that this is how the government balances the number of PR and citizens.  But, waiting to be included in the bell curve was something that I can't do.

I love Singapore, it's cleanliness and discipline is way better than in my country. It's a Fine City as what some call it. They even have printed shirts that indicate the penalties if you did the following:

Spitting in public places
Bringing Durian inside the MRT
Chewing gums
Littering
Urinating in lifts
etc...

They made it from 3rd world to first, the perfect place to live in Southeast Asia.

Well, it's been a blessing in disguise when they haven't approved my PR, it's because Canada wanted me here.

Now, I'm in Toronto, Did I Get What I Wanted?
I'm writing this today, May 11, 2015, so I have the record of what I'm thinking right now.

We've been here for more than 5 months now and we had survived the harsh Winter.  I looked at our window, looking at the beautiful and colorful blossoms at far, still asking this questions.

"Am I really in Canada?" 

To tell you the truth, I can't believe that I'm already here in Canada.  Sometimes, when I go to my sister and/or at gatherings where all came from my homeland, I thought that I'm still in the Philippines.

But, when I'm driving alone, I just smile as wide as I could, cause nobody looks at me while driving, and I say to myself...

"I AM IN CANADA!!!" :D

When I'm with my wife, and kids in the backseat.  I hold my wife's hand and glance at her, saying...

"We're really here!!!"

These are the feelings that no Proof of Fund can pay.  One of the priceless moment that I felt in my life.

Here are the things I got as an FSW Immigrant in Canada:
  • Free Education for my Kids
  • Free Hospitalization
  • Free Vaccination for my Kids
  • Free transportation for my Kids (12 years old and under - free fare
  • Safer Place to raise my family
  • More Disciplined Drivers
  • We are here as an ideal family, because Canada is a Family-Oriented country.
  • Prices of commodities are way lower than in Philipines in terms of salary to prices-of-goods ratio.
  • My salary now (new job) is higher than in Singapore and with the same benefits.
  • Most of my friends says that there are three most protected individuals here in Canada.  They are women, animals, and children.  Their rights are well respected here as compared to some other countries.
  • Nobody asks about my status here.  Well, in Singapore, while working with clients, they'll always ask me if I'm a PR or a Work Pass holder and I never knew why they ask me that.
    To get the idea about Toronto, Canada from My personal view, let me give you the recipe...

    1. Get the beauty and cleanliness of Singapore.  Include the Expressways in Singapore and mix a bit of the bumpy roads of Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia.  

    2. Sautee the nice Spring weather in China, Baguio in Philippines, and Japan.  Gather the food in Singapore and take out a small portion of Halal and Chinese food but add the great service from the Philippines.   

    3. Get the transportation system in Singapore.

    4. Bring in the internet connection speed of Singapore but higher the price by 50%.  Include the banking system in Singapore but reduce the convenience (transacting) by grade level 2.

    5. Include the safety of Singapore but garnish with a very small amount of killings by guns from the Philippines.

    6. Gather and sprinkle the beautiful faces of women and men from Dubai or Abu Dhabi with a slice of pretty ladies and gentlemen from Southeast Asia.

    7. Top it all up with a huge serving of freebies from the Toronto Public Health and Toronto Public Education. Even the Toronto Public Library have free movies, arts and crafts, and other fun filled activities for both young and young at heart. :) 

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    09 August 2014

    My Timeline: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Canada 2013 Application

    To understand more about the response time of Canada to our application for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, I had prepared my Timeline here so you can estimate the flow of your application.  Take note that this is a FSW 2013 timeline and just a guide for you.

    I will discuss here one by one regarding the activities on each event update.  You can click the links provided so you'll see the complete details of that certain activity.

    (days) or (months) - red refers to the time difference of a Update from a previous date.
    (days) or (months) - green refers to the time difference of an Update from day (0).

    Here it goes...

    Update 1 (0 days) (0 days)
    July 1, 2013 
    The full application was ready for submission and I prepared it inside a white envelope and went to DHL to send it to Nova Scotia, Canada.

    Update 2 (7 days) (7 days)
    July 8, 2013 
    I checked with DHL with the help of the DHL online document tracker and found that my documents have been received by the Centralized Intake Office.

    Update 3 (3 months) (3 months)
    October 10, 2013 
    An email was received from the Centralized Intake Office, Nova Scotia Canada.  It has a letter stating that they had received my full application with a positive determination of eligibility and indicated my Unique Client Identifier (UCI) and Immigration Application number

    At this time, my application was accepted for processing, the CIO had sent it to the designated Canadian Embassy.   They sent my application at the Canada Embassy in Manila (CEM).

    Note: In my application, I indicated Singapore as the "Immigration Office requested for processing this application" but they sent it instead to Manila, Philippines.  The reason might be because I am not a permanent residence (PR) in Singapore.

    Update 4 (6 months) (9 months)
    April 15, 2014 
    A request for Medical for me and my dependents and additional documents (Passport copy, Singapore police clearance, Philippines police clearance) was received though an email from the Canada Embassy, Manila. 

    Update 5 (6 days) (9 months)
    April 21, 2014 
    Went to Raffles Medical in Singapore for my medical examination.  Discussed with my current boss about my future resignation.

    Update 6 (4 days) (9 months)
    April 25, 2014 
    The result of the medical examination was sent by the hospital directly to the Canada Embassy, Manila.

    Update 7 (1 month) (10 months)
    May 28, 2014 
    Due to unforeseen circumstances, my dependents' medical examination were delayed.  They took their medical exam at the IOM Manila Health Center.

    Update 8 (2 months)  (12 months)
    July 11, 2014 
    YESSS!!!!
    Our Visas were approved.  This is the happiest moment of my life.  I made a dedicated post for this event at "VISA APPROVED for Federal Skilled Worker Canada: My Experience".

    I received an email from the Visa Office of Canada Embassy, Manila informing us that our immigration visas are ready for stamping.  They requested to submit our passports, 2 recent photos and the Appendix A form.

    The passport should be submitted at the High Commission of Canada in Singapore through their accredited courier Canada Visa Application Center (CVAC).

    Update 9 (5 days)  (12 months)
    July 16, 2014 
    Sent the passports to Canada Visa Application Center (CVAC) in Singapore.  Here is the post on how I submitted our passports to CVAC "Passport Submission at Canada Visa Application Center (CVAC) Experience"
    July 23, 2014 Tendered my resignation verbally.  I informed my employer 2 months ahead so they can hire a replacement for me, and transfer my knowledge professionally.
    Update 10 ( 32 days)  (13 months)
    August 16, 2014 
    As indicated in our passports, the High Commission of Canada in Singapore stamped our visas.

    Update 11 ( 12 days)  (13 months)
    August 28, 2014 
    The Canada Visa Application Service (CVAC) in Singapore informed me that our passports are ready for collection. I personally went to CVAC office to collect the valuable goods.  Feel the excitement at my post here.

    September 2014 
    Returned to Philippines from Singapore and rendered my final resignation. Cancelled all credit cards, debit and apartment rentals.

    October 2014 
    Went to my hometown to visit my relatives.

    Attended the seminars in Manila.
    Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) - required by the Philippine Government
    CIIP - Optional, but it's all about how to find jobs in Canada (recommended)

     November 2014
    Had landed successfully in Canada.  Got a job after 5 days and worked as an Assembler in  a small scale factory.

     February 2015 
    Got a new job in my field of expertise after 3 months of working as an Assembler. Passed a G1 driver's license written test but needs to be with a fully licensed driver to drive.

     March 2015 
    Passed the G2 Driving license, and was allowed to drive in Canada alone.  I was also allowed to drive on highways like 401, 407, 427, and etc...with maximum speed of 100kph.

     April 2015 
    Went to Quebec specifically in Montreal.  It was the same as Toronto except that drivers can't turn right on a red traffic signal.

    Visited Ottawa for the first time.

     May 2015 
    Went to Sarnia, Port Hope, Peterborough, Cambridge, Guelph, Brampton and Middleton.   These places are beautiful in many ways.  I've been blessed to have a chance to visit these places.

     June 2015 
    Went to Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta and have a chance to visit my best friend there, whom I haven't met for 7 years.

     Present Day 
    Now working in my field of expertise taking care of the whole Canada.  This is an opportunity for me to blog more about the country.  So far, I've seen the beauty of the place while it was covered with snow.  Let's see when the spring comes.

    The scenery is stunning, for the first time, as I was used seeing places in a tropical and middle eastern countries.

    How to Add Your Timeline?
     You can add your timeline in my Google Drive to get these benefits:
    • You can view and update your timeline online
    • You can compare your timeline with mine and other applicants
    • You can track your progress online
    • View other timelines
    You can click the link below to view and add your timeline.

     CHECK MY TIMELINE AT GOOGLE DRIVE AND INSERT YOURS TOO!

    Sample Snapshot:
    Click the photo to Visit
    Check out the New Menu bar below for faster navigation.

    *If you like this post or appreciate the author, please tick the LIKE button below.
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    If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at benalagnam@yahoo.com.


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    26 July 2014

    How to Check Your FSW Program Canada Application Status?

    You've read the Red Maple Leaf eBook, I assume that you have done gathering all the documents in your full application for the FSW Program in Canada.

    You have packed and sent the full application to the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Nova Scotia, Canada as instructed.

    So, What's the Next Step?
    Like me, you probably used the services of couriers such as DHL, Fedex or UPS in sending your application to Canada.

    You should have a tracking number by now, which you can track the documents online and even know the name of the person who received it.

    If you used a courier, other than the regular mail, you can click the links below to track your documents.

    Back to HomepageUPSFedEx Home

    DHL Online Tracker
    FEDEX Document Tracker
    UPS Tracker

    It will specifically indicate the time and location of your documents.  This will ensure you that it will arrive at the destination on time and have a peace of mind.

    How Do I Know If My Application is Being Processed?  
    You've tracked your documents and found that it was already received by a CIO personnel.  The next question that you might ask is,


    "How do I know the status of my application?" 

    The procedure is that once the CIO had reviewed your documents and found that you're eligible for the program, they will send you a positive eligibility response to your email and by a regular mail, and provide you the Unique Client Identifier (UCI) and Immigration Application number in the letter.

    This time, they will encash the cheque or process the credit card payment of your application fee.
    Take note that the application number will be useful in checking your application status in the Canadian Application Status (eCAS) at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website.
    The CIO will inform you that your application will be forwarded to a visa office for further processing.  The assignment of the visa office depends on where your current residence or country of origin is.  It's up to the CIO to decide.
    Based on my experience, although I'm working and staying in Singapore as a Pass holder, and had chosen Singapore as the visa office in my application, they still sent my application to the Canadian visa office in Manila, Philippines.
    You might have used a bank draft, a credit card or a manager's cheque in paying the processing fee.  This is the perfect medium where you can trace your application if it has been successfully processed in Canada by simply asking the bank's manager if your cheque had been encashed.

    If you used credit card, log in to your account and check whether the fee was billed in your statement.  If it's  billed, you are now confident that CIO has started processing your application.

    It took 3 months for me to receive the positive eligibility response from the CIO.

    *If you like this post or appreciate the author, please tick the LIKE button below.
    ___________________________________
    If you have any questions regarding this post, you can leave a comment below or email me at benalagnam@yahoo.com.

    Important: Please read the DISCLAIMER Page

    For questions not related to this post, leave a comment at the ASK ME.

    If you want to know more about my life in Singapore, visit my blog at BenAlagnam.com

    How much you need to prepare for the applications, visit EXPENSES.

    Check on what are the documents you need to prepare and more info on RESOURCES.

    12 July 2014

    VISA APPROVED for Federal Skilled Worker Canada: My Experience

    Let me record this date so I can’t forget it for the rest of my life.  

    On 10 July, 2014, at exactly 12 months since the submission of my Full Application to Canada and a day before my son’s birthday, is the one of the most celebrated day of my life! 

    For my son TOM,
    This is the best birthday gift that I will give you and your Kuya that will change your future.

    Someday, when you start to read and digest sentences, you’ll be able to understand why your Dad had to be working in Singapore, away from all of you. 
    Read this story and the rest of the blog because all of these are for you and your Kuya. 
    - Dad
    How I Got the Good News?
    The smell of durian was all over inside the MRT, it was from the plastic bag carried by one of the tourist.  He doesn’t know that bringing durian inside the MRT is prohibited and he could be penalized for doing that.

    This reminded me of Geylang, where you can eat durians 3 for $10. 

    My luggage weighed 10.35kg and I’m sure that they won’t bother to fine me for this extra 0.35kg.  To make sure, I carried my laptop bag at my back and placed some things at my jacket.

    At the check-in counter, I placed my handcarried luggage at the weighing scale.  As usual, without check-in baggage.  Then, the booking lady handed me my boarding pass with an isle seat, which I’ve requested beforehand.

    The immigration was full of passengers queuing at each counter.  It was not a problem for me since I can pass through using the automatic immigration clearance machine for Long Term Pass holders.

    Inside the Terminal 2, I bought the Bee Cheng Hiang "bak kwa"" for my sons.  They love it a lot.

    At the second floor of the Terminal 2, I found a Subway outlet and bought a vegetable patty sandwich.  It caused me SGD6.90.  Ate it while on my way to the gate.

    I sat down and set my phone to tethering mode /hot spot so I can access the internet with my laptop.  

    Feeling full and comfortable, I opened my laptop to see the latest news at my FB account and posted at my www.benalagnam.com website a new post.  


    Then, I wondered if what was in my Yahoo mail account.  Logged in with my user name and my password and pressed Enter.

    The browser displayed the latest emails in Bold letters and one of them was the news that came from the sender MANILImMIGRATION@....

    At this moment, I knew that there will be tears or a smile once I opened this email.  Took a deep breath with a closed eyes, then I clicked on to the message.

    My eyes don’t know where to start reading as I’m looking for the word Approved or Regret.

    Then, I read the words:

    “Dear Applicant,

    Please find the attached letter for your application for permanent residence.”...

    My heart starts to pound to the heart rate that I usually don’t feel.  Another breath of air to my lungs with a slight contraction from my stomach.

    I scrolled down and opened the attachment with my name labelled on it, hovered and clicked the mouse to open the document.

    Then a letter appeared from a shocked and focused eyes with the following words.

    Dear BEN ALAGNAM:

    This refers to your application for permanent residence in Canada. We are now ready to issue your immigration visa(s).

    Your visa(s) will be valid for your initial entry to Canada until (mm/dd/yy).

    In order to complete the process, you must submit all of the following:”…..

    The moment I read the words READY TO ISSUE YOUR IMMIGRATION VISA, I stopped reading the letter and looked up to the ceiling, felt the air-conditioned room inside the boarding gate.  

    The sound of the television, screening the football game of Argentina vs Netherlands, was passing through both of my eardrums.

    Stilled looking up the ceiling, I closed my eyes and whispered slowly “Thank you Lord”, while hands uncontrollably trembling.  

    One of the best feeling that happened to me since my wife told me her sweet YES.
    ________________________________________ 
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    Any personal message to me, you can send me an email at benalagnam@yahoo.com
    Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada