Saturday, September 22, 2012

Flashback to Mexico City, August 2012. Preparing to fly off to a new Canadian life :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Harold pumps the first tank of gas into our new-to-us Nissan Frontier!!

Story of a NAFTA family :)

My sister and I visited British Columbia three years ago during one of her college spring breaks.  "Coffee so fresh you'll want to slap it!", declared the bus station coffee shop sign as the Greyhound bus that had dragged us over the border from Seattle spat us out in downtown Vancouver.  "Whaaaa?", we wondered.  For four days, we wandered around the cold, rainy, expensive city which featured terrible street music and a physically active and polite populace.  On our return to Oregon, we proceeded to label our Facebook albums for this trip "Canada: A Little Off".  Whew- never living there, I thought.

 Squamish Nation, Stewamus Chief.

 Peace out.

Lion's Bay, British Columbia.

  A Canadian classic: Tim Horton's.

 Lion's Bay.

  The queen of Lion's Bay and her "horsey".

Fast-forward to August, 2012.  Here we are, a series of life events having brought Harold and me together, and then to Canada as permanent residents free to live, work, and recreate in Canada's vast plains and mountainous forests, extensive shoreline, and icy northern regions, with eligibility to apply for citizenship in three years.  Let's just say that this time around, as an immigrant, my impression of this generally mild-mannered nation of 30 million inhabitants hailing from all corners of the globe is different.  The long, sunny late summer/early fall days don't hurt, and neither do the multiple "Welcome to BC", "Newcomer's Special", and "Immigrant Services Society" signs and billboards posted around the metro Vancouver area.  The general lack of trash and unsightly (non-artistic) graffiti, unexpected cultural/linguistic differences, and the exciting vibe of rapid societal change and growth are a plus.  The unending sparkling bays, rivers and inlets, extensive public transportation system, generally sincere and genuine people, high-quality, if sometimes more expensive, food, relatively healthy economy, and universal healthcare facilitate our adjustment to our new country.  Most inspiring is an overwhelming sense of space and possibility that we haven't quite managed to grasp mentally and emotionally.  

We now have three countries to keep track of: the three that comprise the dynamic, frustrating, lovable continent of North America that we call home.  His mother, my parents, the two of us, and his sister all live along the same road that traverses the Americas from north to south.  Whether it's Mexico 160, Interstate 5, or Trans Canada 1, the "Pan American Highway" symbolizes the unity in our respective lives, as we fill our days according to the contents of our hearts and minds, in addition to the dictates of our borders.  Wherever we go along this road, in one way or another, we are home....

  Still not quite sure what this means....Any guesses?
Hmmmm.  Paralyzingly dramatic scenery, universal healthcare, the metric system, multiculturalism, expensive gas and beef, extreme politeness, dry wit, "maple leaf" this and "provincial" that, streets named after British royals, widespread health-consciousness, postmodern "fusion" architecture, and a general relaxed, "we got this" vibe.... Might we be in Canada?  Sounds "aboot" right.