Saturday, November 21, 2009

mystery solved

Okay, it's no big secret or anything but the other day I ran out of room talking about the reasons we're feeling ready to leave Portland. After that come the reasons why we're ready to leave the US. Maybe it's enough to say I arrived in this country during the Carter administration thinking now that Nixon was gone everything would be okay. Fooled me, eh? We're not rich but we can afford the rent and food somewhere else. (You didn't guess I was that old, did you?) What we can't afford is paying for medical insurance. Hmmm. Where to go?

To tell the truth I was very interested in Chile - nice climate, beautiful scenery, ancient architecture and friendly people all sounded pretty good. Numb, on the other hand, was leaning more towards Tahiti or its tiny neighbor, Moorea (a heart shaped island surrounded by a heart shaped reef). It looks lovely but I'm averse to living in the South Pacific with the oceans rising. You can keep moving to higher ground for just so long on a little island and I'm not convinced the talks in Copenhagen are going to change things.

So we decided to move to Canada. Okay, country chosen but where there?

Toronto is a large and comfortable city much like a version of LA North but I grew up there - so no. Vancouver and Victoria are beautiful and very modern but they're also very expensive - so no. Cities in central Canada like Calgary, Regina (as well as everywhere in the Far North) are all too too cold in winter and often in summer too - so no. Montreal and Quebec are wonderful cities but totally French speaking and neither of us is quite ready for that - no again. Where else? Finally. the answer struck us - Nova Scotia!

We spent 16 years in New England but neither of us have ever lived in Nova Scotia so it will be a new adventure. I did visit the Maritime provinces long ago and visions of blue green waves exploding into white spray against rocky shores has remained a powerful memory. I see dunes and gorse in my dreams. Then too we're pretty much settled on continuing to be urban dwellers but like older cities - places with enough old buildings that nobody would dare pull down to build a shopping mall or insurance office. It sounds a lot like Halifax which isn't that far from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Providence. I've promised our son not to make a nuisance of myself.

If all goes well that's where we'll be by the end of next summer. Why do I hedge that statement? It's simply because the documentation required by the Canadian government in regard to sponsoring someone is so complicated we decided to hire an attorney to help us through the process. No more, 'Hi, I just ran away from the US Army and I want to live here now' to which they used to say, 'Welcome, we feel the same way about your endless wars of aggression'.

There'll be more to tell you as time goes by and I'll even talk about many of the wonderful people I've known as well as the things I'll miss. For now I just wanted to clear a minor mystery.

At least I won't have to knit Crow a new umbrella for that winter. Besides, he loves dancing to Celtic music and knows Pema Chodren quite well :-)


linda said...

well, finally, I caught up with you and this post! you posted and then did what I always do, yanked it for awhile , usually because of horror over this and that I wrote but you, NEVER!

anyway, this all sounds lovely...gina has spoken often of this place is my recollection-and we know how exact that is! anyway, sounds lovely to be nearer a grown child and no health insurance, we are growing nearer and nearer to no longer either and it scares the hell out of me but...rather committed down here on this ranch, at least for now...but you, so fancy free and hippie still, you are probably moving in a VW van towing a little wooden trailer right? :)

OK, now that the mystery is over, I must nap, we aren't getting any younger...and all the stuff about your dear beaten-up aching mouth, unless I have lost my mind "completely" OR I dreamed it, you had written about it...ah ha, OK now I get it...well, sending healing energies anyway:) sounds ungodly and so expensive, that alone is probably what's driving you to Canada!!

marja-leena said...

I recall you mentioning Canada and Nova Scotia to me but wasn't sure if you were still serious about them, so now it's out, and welcome, Susan! I hope our government welcomes you without too many hassles.

It would be fun to "know" someone in Halifax if we ever get there for a visit. I was five when there last, coming off a ship as an immigrant. I don't remember the place.

Nancy said...

I'm so excited for you. I take it by your post that you will be nearer to your son as well. The nice thing about computers and blogging is that we won't have to say goodbye. Right??

As for the health insurance issue, I really don't blame you and I think Canada is a wonderful country. You will have so much fun exploring a new area, especially with time to do it.

Joss said...

Could Europe not tempt you? ;)

Sounds like an excellent plan for you. If I know anything about moving, there are bounds to be some hiccups along the way, but I hope all runs as smoothly as it can for you.

As you said, I'm sure to hear more of it in the coming months. :)

susan said...

linda - Ah well, it was just too much and it's gone now to be replaced by what's really on my mind. Gina has taken some beautiful photos of the area and we've spoken about this before. Perhaps we'll meet each other there some summer day.

I hope you've enjoyed a good nap.

marja-leena - Yes, it really is what we've been planning for a while now and I look forward to sitting by the sea and taking pictures of rock pools. You never know what you might find in one.

I'll be delighted to be a co-Canadian again, able to vote for a greener agenda, and able to 'host'
a friend from BC.

nancy - That's true. I'll be saying good-bye to lots of people here but not to my online friends who I hope will travel with us. We're both looking forward to free time while we're still relatively young and healthy.

joss - Did you know I'm English? My parents took me to Canada when I was six and I didn't become a Canadian citizen until shortly before moving here. We're tempted by Europe (both spent several years there before we met) but the good news is it's a much shorter journey from the east coast than it is from here. We can visit.

Seraphine said...

even with the oceans rising, it'll be thousands or millions of years before the pacific islands disappear. well past our lifetimes.
and i know what you are thinking- with global warming, halifax in 2020 will be like miami today- warm with lots of oranges and sandy beaches.
seriously, though, wherever you go, i wish you all happiness. life should always feel like a good adventure; and may it inspire you to continue creating your beautiful art.

jams o donnell said...

Good luck with your move. I hope you enjoyr your new location!

Pagan Sphinx said...

Nova Scotia would be at the top of my list for relocation one day, too. I don't think we could move there permanently because of health coverage and because it's too remote for all the kids (and grandkids one day) to visit regularly. But we're thinking seriously about spending summers there when we both have entire summers to spare. For right now, we like the small towns we've visited such as Parsboro, Wolfville and Canning. And now that we've found the faerie cottage and can travel lighter, I don't think we can ever skip a summer again, if we can help it.

I'm thrilled for you both. And yes, we may very well one day break bread together there!

All the love,

Liberality said...

I think if you have the chance to get the hell out of this forsaken country you ought to take it.

But I have to say that I'm really jealous that you can get the hell out of here and wish we could do so to. Yet I can't leave my kids and grandkids so I guess I'm stuck.

gfid said...

thrrrrrrilllllling!!!! i've been avoiding visiting the east coast because i'm relatively certain i'll never want to leave...... got a friend from New Brunswick who tells beautiful stories about her childhood in the maritimes.

and the music and art in Halifax!!!! lucky you!

Lisa said...

Now I want to learn about Halifax and Nova Scotia. I am very excited for you. I love an adventure.

CDP said...

That's very exciting. I've fantasized about living in the Maritimes ever since I was 9 and reading "Anne of Green Gables" for the first time.

susan said...

sera - That's what I like about you - always so positive :-) There's a nice art and music scene in Halifax.. and the Tall Ships in summer.

jams - Thanks but we'll be here a while yet.

pagan - Your photographs were very inspiring and the little towns sound fun to visit. Yes, maybe we'll see each other there some summer day by the sea.

liberality - I do have some guilt about my friends who have no choice in the matter. It will be different.

g-fid - I hope we're not going to have to learn sword dancing or tossing the caber :-) I know it's pretty but I'm still nervous about the winters. I'll have to keep extra brandy on hand for Crow and us :-)

lisa - I love adventures too and I promise to tell you all about this one :-)

cdp - I only went there once - in summer - but it was one of the prettiest areas I've ever seen.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
I guess your previous blog postings did indicate a general declining level of dissatisfaction and waning enthusiasm for a developing Portland, although, on a general level it looks like a nice spot. I guess one needs to be mindful, as you are, of not rushing off somewhere else which may have its own set of disadvantages lurking beneath a friendly exterior.
I understand Nova Scotia is appealing, but I think it’s a good idea to chew over the decisions for some time before making the final move which I trust will bring you new golden opportunities and a chance to reestablish where your roots lie.

Best wishes

Zee said...

Nova Scotia is a good choice. The Gulf stream comes up there (as long as it will last) so the winters are not as brutal.
Stay in touch, I might be looking for a small peace of land in Vinalhaven, Maine... once I figured out how to pay for it. You know, that island I am periodically bragging about. So that is not far from you. On a fine summer day I could even launch my 16' foot sail-boat and take the cruise up to your shores. Only problem, my sailing skills are very amateurish - but for you, I would cross an ocean (the pathetic afterthought to sound dramatic).
I wish you all well with your move. And my understanding is, that it is going to be a good one!

susan said...

lindsay - You reminded me of the old saying - 'Wherever you go, there you are'. It's true that what makes a place is what we bring to it. This hasn't been a hasty decision and we've been very comfortable in Portland. Nevertheless, we've been here a long time, cross country travel isn't getting easier (or cheaper) and among other things it will be nice to be a day's drive away from our son. Best wishes to you too and say 'Hi' to Gary and Anna for me.

zee - Nice to see you again. Yes, Jer and I love New England and this feels like a good time to return to a similar environment.

I do hope you get that sailboat in order. It would be nice to meet you some clear summer's day. Maybe I'll even be familiar enough with the area by then I could show you the sights. Thanks for the good wishes.

Seraphine said...

i want a mulligan. a do-over. if i only knew *then* what i know now.
i wouldn't change much, just one or two things.
i'd give away all of my regrets, i really don't want them anymore.
i would have waited on a certain bridge longer, in those years immediately after college, instead of being in a hurry to do something.

Randal Graves said...

What's this all aboot? I always knew you wanted to wake up at 4am to go fishing, eh.

Spadoman said...

Thanks for sharing. I was confused a bit when you had another post up, then it was gone. I was away only a day or two and now there are two posts up. That's what I get for not paying attention.
Hope things work out for what you seek, and in the time frame you are working towards.

susan said...

sera - If you subscribe to some versions of the multiverse theories an issue crops up that supposes infinite identical copies of any given universe. Maybe it will be a consolation to think that in one of them another you stood a little longer on that bridge. No regrets. All unfolds as it was meant to do.

randal - Fish? 4am? Maybe I'll have to reconsider.

spadoman - I thought I'd been lucky that nobody saw the other post but you're right, there was one which I removed. It was about having had work done on my teeth that I suddenly realized was neither uplifting or entertaining. Thanks for the good thoughts.

gfid said...

alcohol in lg quantities a MUST during Canadian winters... without antifreeze we perish.

susan said...

gfid - Oh dear, my drinking days are long gone. I'm just planning to bring a few extra blankets and some thick boots :-)

gfid said...

hot tea, thick wooly socks and beautiful scarves are acceptable alcohol substitiues

susan said...

gfid - I'll keep them in mind :-)

okjimm said...

I always heard PEI was nice. Years ago I did a project for a Canadian company from New Brunswick. I think they have been gobbled up by Aliant. Nice folks&stuff.