More Reasons for Staying

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.