A Canadian in Mississippi

The Mississippi River
The Mississippi River
Paddle wheeler on the Mississippi river.
Paddle wheeler on the Mississippi river.
A stop along the Natchez Trace.
A stop along the Natchez Trace.

No Nursing Jobs in Ontario

In 1995 I was struggling to find full time work as a Registered Nurse in Canada. I lived in London, Ontario. At the time most hospitals wouldn't hire anyone without experience so being a newly graduated Nurse it was next to impossible to get a job. I consulted a resume service to hone my resume and they referred me to an agency for travel nurses. The travel nurse agency called me with offers immediately; however they were all short term positions in the United States. I had no vehicle or steady source of income at the time, so I had no idea how I was supposed to get there or pay for a way to get there. It was really disconcerting that I had placed in the top ten percentile on the Ontario Nursing Licensure Boards and I couldn't even get a job in Canada.  I told my Mom about it and she immediately offered to take me anywhere I wanted to go. Problem solved. So I accepted a position in Jackson, Mississippi. This is going to sound really ignorant but I had no idea that there was a state named Mississippi. I thought Mississippi was just the name of the river.

The Glitch

I had to travel to Buffalo, New York to take the NCLEX and that went well. I received my Mississippi Nurses License about two weeks after the exam, and I have to say the NCLEX was a breeze compared to the Ontario Licensure exam. With all of my credentials (or so I thought) I was ready to go. We started our journey on a Friday afternoon after saying our goodbyes. We made it to the border crossing in Windsor and went into the immigration office and I plunked down my identification and credentials. Here's where it gets interesting; I didn't have my Nursing Diploma with me so I was denied a working visa and not allowed to cross the border into the United States.

Now what? Well it was getting late so we decided to get a room close by and try again in the morning. First thing in the morning on Saturday we head to the border to try again, and (you guessed it) denied. Big dilemma; I had to be In Jackson by Monday to start my assignment. I should add that I couldn't make it to my graduation ceremony, so I didn't have my actual diploma. I was dumbfounded; then all of a sudden my Mom pulls over the car into a restaurant parking lot and exclaims I have an idea and she jumps out of the car and into the restaurant telling us (my Grandmother came along for the ride) to stay in the car. Shortly, Mom emerges from the restaurant and says we are going back to London to get your diploma. Huh?...It was Saturday how in the world did she pull that off? Mom had called the college and actually got in touch with someone who located my diploma and told her that we could come to the school and get it.

Back to the Border

I was ready to give up but my Mom was determined. When I look back now I supposed she really wanted me to succeed. With diploma, and all the other documents in hand, we went to the immigration office again. The same officers were still on duty, and I observed them nudging each other and overheard; "here they come again". We got the work visa and were on our way. The rest of the trip was blissfully uneventful. We arrived in Jackson at my new address at about four o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday.

First Encounter with the Southern Belle

Monday arrives I am full of nervous anticipation. I arrive at the Hospital I am assigned to. I am to be meeting the nursing recruiter that morning. When the meeting finally takes place I meet this proper, gracious, drawling, southern lady. I was in awe. I had never met anyone like her in my life. While Canadians are friendly they don't go out of their way to be courteous. This little lady spoke to everyone that we passed in her southern drawl "good mornin". I was hooked, at that moment I wanted to be part of that world.

I have been In Mississippi ever since that meeting. My now husband was my then boyfriend. We married shortly after I moved to Mississippi. We love Mississippi. It is in my opinion a rough cut jewel just waiting to be polished. Mississippi is diverse, hospitable, and full of opportunities. There is no place on earth like Mississippi.

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Comments 18 comments

christalluna1124 profile image

christalluna1124 7 years ago from Dallas Texas

Nice article. Funny too.

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago Author

Thanks for reading Christal.

habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

I loved Mississippi when I visited years ago. We were traveling from GA to New ORleans, along the gulf coast. I didn't care for LA (lower Alabama), but as soon as we crossed the Miss. stale line, we saw a vast improvement. Glad you acclimated to Southern life!

Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Very enjoyable & informative read. Thank you for sharing this portion of your story.

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago Author

Habee...I can only wish that the Mississippi Gulf Coast can be restored back to at least a smidgeon of it's beauty. All the old stately homes that looked out over the gulf were wiped out by Katrina. Thanks for stopping in.

Ken...Hey long time no see. Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment. Glad you found it enjoyable. Still learning. Thanks again.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

I first came to the US in Memphis, and every weekend we go to MIssissipi, and go to the lake and casino LOL< happy you find a niche for you and your job, I am glad you LOVED the place, it is awesome, isnt it? Ms. Southern Nurse Belle, hehe, loved your smile always, Maita

philip carey 61 7 years ago

My brother lives near Memphis. There is a certain 'genteelness' to life there. Nice writing.

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago Author

Philip...Thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks for the encouraging words. I will be sure to check out your hubs. Thanks again....Tammy

Stacie L profile image

Stacie L 6 years ago

that's quite a change for you.

Frigid north to steamy south!

enjoyed this = )

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Stacie L...Thank you for reading this and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

Sincerely, Tammy

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Fun article Tammy and good for you for taking on an adventure. The description of the Southern Belle made me laugh!

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Wow Ben...Thanks for giving this hub some love. It's always great to see you!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I'm glad you found Mississippi to be your home. You're a great fit!

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Mickey...Thanks for visiting this old hub. I am glad you did because there were all kinds of errors in it. It's always nice to see you!

HubCrafter profile image

HubCrafter 6 years ago from Arizona

Hi Tammy:

What a lovely story. Your Mom did well to look out for you. How lucky we all are to have them (mothers..lol).

My only trip to the Missippi was at St. Louis..the year of the flood (1993).

I was on my way to Arizona. But back in Rochester, New York..before we started out cross country..we heard and read about the terrible storms that had brought a devastating flood to all the great central rivers of America.

The headlines were so severe I called St. Louis ...and asked if they were open.

The Chamber of Commerce kindly said, "Yes. We're open." And the bridges were too...we'd be able to cross the Missippi and continue over the river to eventually arrive in Omaha, Nebraska..all by car.

The River had crested twenty-five feet above normal flow. We could see the treetops of the park that ran along beside the river. About five feet of each of these grand trees were just marching down the riverbank. The Riverboat was tied up nearby..but there would be no gambling on her until the flood subsided.

We caught a live jazz show near the hotelthat night and the next day we said goodbye to St. Louis

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

HubCrafter...Thanks for dropping in. I have never been to St Louis. Mississippi is home now. Thanks for sharing your story. Tammy

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Have you been to Natchez yet? I lived there as a child, and again as a young bride.I lived in town and would take long walks in the morning, almost gasping at the wonderous smells of magnolias,honeysuckle, and roses.I love to stay at bed and breakfasts there, my favorite being AUNT FANNY'S HOUSE on Pearl Steet.I love it there because the price is reasonable, it is very clean, and the owners are friendly. Ask for the country breakfast, and you won't need lunch!

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hi bayoulady...yes I have been to Natchez many times. One of our favorite trips to show visitors is to go down the Natchez Trace and work our way to Natchez. Thanks a bunch for some insider tips on where to stay when we visit. I too love to take walks and smell the roses and magnolias in my neighborhood. Thanks for stopping by and making a comment. It's nice to meet you. Tammy

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