Thursday, October 14, 2010


Some things have turned out to be unexpected about our move to another country. Of course it's not that much other compared to the place we left but in some ways it's distinctly odd - or maybe it's me. Some things are better but not all.

For one thing banks are old fashioned and conservative enough to have a teller at every station. If you go to a branch bank in the US you're more likely to see a plastic plant with a sign in front that says 'next window please' but there is no other window.

Even if you haven't been officially accepted as a resident 'settler' yet (yes, still waiting for Immigration) the provincial government is still ready to provide free medical coverage. In the US without a good job you're left to pray you never get sick or trip on a broken sidewalk.

Books are very expensive and everything you can't eat is taxed at 13% in the Maritimes but the library lets you borrow 60 items at once. Maybe that's why there were hardly any books to be seen but there were lots of computer stations, magazines, cd's and dvd's and staff.

It takes a month to get a new credit card even if you have an excellent history. In the US people's infant children and dogs were still getting credit cards without asking.

It's much harder to order things online for delivery here and if you do get anything from the US, the import duties are high. In the US you can order pretty much anything at low prices with multiple delivery options.

Not that I'm planning to enroll but studying in Canada is affordable. Rates at American  public universities were almost one third higher than fees for Bachelor’s degrees in Canada, while US private university fees were more than double. Some Canadian degree programs are still just three years.

A KitKat candy bar costs $1.70 but today I bought a pashima scarf for $17.00.

The way I see it, if life insists on being a puzzle we may as well draw our own pictures. I'm still struggling with the art projects but I'm drawing and painting daily and hope to see some improvement soon. Practice might not make perfect but it can make better.



marja-leena said...

Lovely painting! Sounds like you are experiencing a few differences as to be expected when moving to another country, yet not too painful. Canada's population is much smaller than the US so books are more expensive here. And yes import duties are a deterrent, which is why I rarely order stuff from from outside. Wish you smooth sailing through all these changes, at least the culture and language are not too different, eh.

CDP said...

How much is an Aero bar? That was my favorite treat in Canada.

MRMacrum said...

What a great painting. Your drawings and paintings consistently bring a smile to my face. Not the sort of thing a grumpy old fart would like to admit. But they do.

"The way I see it, if life insists on being a puzzle we may as well draw our own pictures."


Lisa said...

I really enjoy seeing these contrasts between Canada and the U.S. I'm traveling and doing research vicariously through you.

I'm glad that you're back to drawing and painting. I suspect that it's like writing for me. Essential.

Gary said...

Thanks for the insights Susan. Sounds like a good place to see a doctor, buy candy, visit the library and wander and a little tougher place to order online, save money on shopping or get hit by a truck or bicyclist.

Not to mention the Atlantic accent you'll find in the rural areas ma dear.

Randal Graves said...

Wait. Some things cost more up there than here? We must invade and protect free trade, or something.

I always cringe when I see the Canadian price to tomes. 'tis expensive to be a Canuck bookworm.

susan said...

marja-leena - All in all it's just fine but I have been wondering why nafta and gatt didn't provide for a North American publishing agreement. I wonder exactly what good things they did provide for average people.

cdp - Welcome back. I thought you were still on hiatus but I will be by.

Aero's are also $1.70 at the corner market. Is it giving my age away to say I remember them at .10?

mrmacrum - Thanks. Sometimes I draw the peculiar pictures when I'm feeling a bit peevish.

lisa - The contrasts are mostly subtle until you notice little things like no contrails as a usual part of the skyscape.

You're right that drawing is an essential activity for me.

gary - Yes to all of those things except I happen to own more books in better condition than the library. Thank goodness there's an and Abe.

Looking forward to the wild seashore.

randal - I'm still ready to use that cannon if provoked.

I'm preparing myself for some e-book reading but outside the classics they still don't have a broad enough selection for my taste. amazon gets to keep me as a customer.

Sean Jeating said...

Yes, your painting is lovely, your comparisons are interesting.
Your title, however, your title ... let the corners of my mouth start a lovely expedition to the ear-lobes. Magnificent, Susan.

As for the tax of 13%: Is that the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST, i.e. 5% GST + 8% PST?)

If so, and if understood correctly, for a German this sounds nostalgic.
Currently our Value Added Tax (VAT) with some exceptions (7 percent) is 19 percent.
Mind you, that's but the VAT.

Let's assume, the price for one litre Diesel is 1,25 Euro.
1,25 minus 19% VAT = 1,01 Euro; of which approximateley another 50/60 (?) cent are ... tax!

In other words: Without tax one litre diesel (would) cost(s) around 40 Euro Cent.
And in Canada?

Ah, there is a tax return, when you need your car for reaching your working place (42 Cents per Kilometre/maximum: 12.600 Euro/per year)

Praised be the efficiency of bureaucracy.

And my ability to change from taciturnity to loquacity. :)

Therefore, just to make sure what was the main reason for this comment: Your title it was, Susan. If I were not sceptical about the use of superlatives I'd certainly write: I love it.

[And now: Shut up, Sean!]

Anonymous said...

$1.70 for an Aero? Shocking!

(A shorter economic analysis than Dear Sean's)

Stunning artwork too.

susan said...

sean - I wondered if anyone would pick up on the title that quite tickled me when I thought of it. I'm so glad you did but not a bit surprised considering your interest in the vagaries of modern languages.

Yes, the tax I mentioned is indeed the HST that's calculated in the Maritimes rather than the two separate ones. I have no disagreement with paying taxes that are used for the common good. I had a problem in the US paying income taxes to support wars of aggression.

Your bureaucracy sounds even more efficient than this one. I think Denmark may even go a few steps further and that's a good thing too.

andrew - I thought it was shocking too.

Thanks for the compliment about the painting.

La Belette Rouge said...

Even with the added costs it sounds like the value of life in Canada is worth the price. I am so happy you are settling and that you are so obviously inspired by your new home.J'taime la orangut.:-)

gfid said...

"In the US people's infant children and dogs were still getting credit cards without asking." .... happens here too..... years ago when the younger kids and i had a small honme soap makin business, in order to have a business account at the local bank, we had to have a 'board'. so youngest lad (age 10) was president. it wasn't long before credit card co's started sending him gold cards in the mail. i don't remember the circumstaces, but my daughter actually received credit card offers addressed to her cat. luv yer rangy tang.

susan said...

belette - I think it will be even though I must admit to some homesickness.

Merci beaucoup :-)

gfid - Well, that goes to show just how slight some differences are. Did you manage to cancel those cards before the kids ordered electronic gear and the cat bought a ten year supply of catnip toys?

Pagan Sphinx said...

"In the US without a good job you're left to pray you never get sick or trip on a broken sidewalk."

But if you trip on the sidewalk, you can always file a law suit. ;-) Now, that's American!

As much as I love NS, it would take me a long time to adjust, if I were in your place.I've recently realized that I'm not that young anymore. ;-) I was telling Ursula (who lives in Boston) that at this point, I don't think I could relocate to a city permanently.

I like the ape. Reminds me a bit of Jungle Book.

gfid said...

yes, cards destroyed. son disgusted, cat indifferent.

susan said...

pagan sphinx - Ah yes, if in doubt, litigate.

It's definitely going to take me some time to adjust and I know I'm going to miss the PNW come January. We both prefer smaller cities for living in and this one qualifies :-)

gfid - I can imagine.

jams o donnell said...

I love the painting Susan, delightful!I;m glad that the health care is sorted so nicely.