In terms of blogging, there is of course THIS Canadian: Redneck Princess
I was thinking more generally in this case. I’ve realized they’re all nice. They know what a fast lane is on a freeway, what indicators are for on a car, and how important it is that a grocery store carry a good range of chocolates. Don’t worry my dear American friends, this is the last of these confusing concepts about driving. 🙂
As I’ve mentioned before, the U.S. Government is one of the more useless entities on the planet and took their blessed time about awarding my family Green Cards. I was dumb enough not to walk over the boarder, but to actually try and follow the laws and things. I was also dumb enough to get involved with a law firm called Levine & Associates, with Samuel J. Levine being an especially useless immigration lawyer based on my extensive experience of working with this prick. And, yes, I regret that I have not enabled my blog for Google searches so other people can learn how much stress he caused in my life by messing up my processing TWICE thanks to legal errors on the part of his staff and himself. Sue me, buddy, the truth is always an absolute defense against a libel claim. (I have a friend who is a senior partner at a Washington law firm who is certain that I can make two separate claims against this lawyer and I intended to follow up when I have some time.)
Thanks to delays with Green Card processing and inaccurate advice from my useless immigration lawyer, back in late 2008 I was no longer certain I would get through the process on the third attempt. I had no plans to try for a fourth time. I was already annoyed and was going to leave the USA.
So, being me, I started considering myriad other options.
After some difficult family discussions, the tentative decision was to consider Canada as the backup plan. By a lucky chance, in mid-2010 Amélie was scheduled to finish high school, Brigitte was scheduled to finish middle school, and Charlotte was scheduled to finish elementary school. If we had to move, that was the time. So again, being me, I started planning ahead for this scenario.
We had already visited Toronto and Montreal and Ottawa. As Canada only has about 9,245 people in it, the only other big city left unscarred by a family visit was Vancouver (City motto: After a few years, you don’t notice the rain). And off I went, using some Air Miles. Later, to renew the E-3 U.S. work Visa, off we all went. Vancouver is a stunning city by any standard and has much milder weather than the other big cities (average population: 2,178).
Based on my difficult experience of moving to Dallas for almost two years in 1997, I realized that having an established credit rating and bank account would make the process smoother, increase my chances of being able to take out a mortgage on a house, etc.
In Vancouver, with the guidance of a realtor, I opened a post office box. Then I used that to open a bank account. Later, I opened a Canadian credit card account. We’re not talking money laundering here, just establishing a footprint. I still run some small transaction volumes through these to keep them active, but nothing significant.
I also applied and was accepted for permanent immigration to Canada. This happened in the time it took the U.S. Government to say, “Huh? What?” and to this day, I have been granted some extensions and my application is pending me filing some final paperwork. In short, my backup plan is still alive although I’m far less likely to use it now.
Since I started this planning, my life has only been smooth for a few months (June-August 2010…I kid you not) and so I have not relinquished anything. The hardest part has been renewing the post office box since they much prefer me to physically visit and sign stuff. For two successive years, they’ve let me do this remotely.
Canadians are so helpful and nice, this has been fairly easy. They have helped me work around my lack of a physical address. They have helped me extend my immigration application and my post office box. And they topped it all this week.
The lady who told me how much money to send from here to renew my box got it wrong. She forgot to add the local tax. So my check (cheque) was CAD $9.50 short. When I called back a few days ago, the manager apologized for the error and asked how I wanted to handle it since I was out of the country. I said I would send a second check for the balance. She felt bad they had screwed up and said she would pay right now on my behalf out of her own pocket if I would put a check in the mail to her when I had a chance. I can’t imagine someone in a USA post office doing that for me.
Awwww — how trusting, how kind! Who can’t love Canadians?