When stuck for a blog entry, the experts suggest a variety of inspirational devices, including the ever popular: A List.
So, without further ado, here are a few more reasons why I’m happy we moved here (besides the ones that brought us originally). Most of these were a pleasant surprise:
- Health Insurance: Even when paying for it privately, the cost is a fraction of what we paid back in the States, and coverage is better. After I get my work permit, I’ll get it for even less. I did know about this, but it sure does make a difference now.
- Corner Gas, a hilarious CBC sitcom that is set in Saskatchewan and is droller and has better acting than most US comedies I’ve seen lately. (Actually, I don’t think I’ve regularly watched a US sitcom on a regular basis since Seinfeld, if you don’t count The Simpsons.)
- While I’m talking about the CBC, I’m also a big fan of Music and Company with Tom Allen, Canada’s national morning classical music program. Allen is smart, funny, and without a doubt the best classical music DJ I’ve ever heard. He is never pompous, snooty or condescending, something I’d always found with all of those NPR and even worse, Classical-format stations (like WFLN in Philadelphia and WCRB in Boston), which were what I would would call ‘Snob Radio’. They played mostly Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky and probably served the purpose of providing stuffy sonic wallpaper for Doctors’ waiting rooms. Tom Allen makes each morning a little better, which is just about the best complement I can think of making to a total stranger.
- The Emily Carr School Annual Student Art Sale: While I’m not in the market this year, I can foresee getting something next year, as there was a ton of really good art at bargain prices.
- Dollar and Two Dollar coins: Finally, change is worth something again. And I really like the heft of the Toonie (Two Dollar coin nickname). Canadian paper money is in different colors for different denominations (imagine that!) and has little ridges for blind users. I seem to remember something about US bills having that too, but they don’t seem to be as easy to find as the Canadian ridges.
- Decent TV News: The CBC is much better than CNN, and the stories are not just about crime all the time. We’ve seen a few documentaries that are really excellent. We do get CNN and MSNBC here. I’m happy to say that Fox News is not carried by our cable company, but unfortunately I’ve seen it beaming their brand of jingoism and hate on the TVs in bars and restaurants.
- Better Educated People: Actually, the median level of education here feels higher. I’m not sure I can back that up with actual statistics (and I’ve not been able to find anything substantial yet), but I suspect that it is partly true . I experience that in all sorts of little details (clever headlines in the paper, more sophisticated TV commercials, chats about more than the weather with cashiers, waiters and barbers, and a host of other little things that eventually you begin to notice. This may be pervasive enough for a post of its own, but I’ll finish this list first). Anyway, no one ever says they want their MP or even their City Councilor to be someone they can imagine having a beer with.
- BC Hydro: Who’d ever guess that I’d actually like my electric company (which they call Hydro here). I find their web site pretty well designed, and it lets you check your bill before the paper one arrives. No surprise there, but it also includes a tool to determine your consumption trend. Electricity also costs a lot less than we used to pay in Boston. I fear that this bargain won’t continue much longer, but for the time being I’m glad we have it.
I’m sure it won’t be long before I have an equally long list of things from the US that I’m surprised I miss, but so far it’s mostly just food — Emma’s Pizza (no surprise there), cheap red wine that doesn’t taste like vinegar, whipped unsalted butter, Atlantic cod — Pacific cod has a much stronger fishy taste. For now, to use that phrase that kicked around for a while in the earlier part of this decade (and probably came from Caribbean patois): S’ all good.