Resurfacing for a Minute

I know it’s been a long time, but we only got Inter­net in the new place yes­ter­day. I’ll make a longer post this week­end, and hope­ful­ly should have some time to fill in the gaps from the past 10 days or so.

So here we are. Liv­ing in Van­cou­ver, Cana­da. Every­thing is very new and dif­fer­ent, and we are def­i­nite­ly in the ‘star­ry-eyed’ phase because the phys­i­cal beau­ty of this place is sim­ply stag­ger­ing. We’ve seen gleam­ing tow­ers set amongst moun­tains sur­round­ed on all sides by water. It’s all a bit much to take in, espe­cial­ly when we remind our­selves that this is going to be the land­scape of ‘home’. For­tu­nate­ly, lit­tle things (and not so lit­tle ones) keep us ground­ed. Like gro­cery shop­ping, run­ning errands, and clean­ing up the patio (Pam’s done that, most­ly). Get­ting WEP secu­ri­ty work­ing on my lap­top was anoth­er (appar­ent­ly if you leave your net­work wide open here there are far more savvy crooks who can break in and try to steal stuff off of your com­put­ers. I’m real­ly skep­ti­cal of this, but I did see that every oth­er Wifi net­work in the build­ing seemed to be tight as a drum). We’ve got tele­phone ser­vice, Inter­net (as men­tioned), and cable TV (although no TV to test the proof of that). We’ve both got cell phones, and the kitchen is up and work­ing fine, as is the laun­dry room. The bed­room still con­sists of much paper clut­ter and an air mat­tress, but it will do for now. On Sun­day we’ll try and do a video­con­fer­ence (iChat AV) with my parents.

Fireworks, a Moving Van and Metro-Survivalists

We went to the July 4th fire­works on the Charles Riv­er for the last time. Maybe it was my thoughts about our upcom­ing exo­dus and the descent of pub­lic life in the US to a crass cor­po­rate-spon­sored mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty, or per­haps it was just a deci­sion by some tacky TV pro­duc­er, but this year Boston’s fire­works show was marred by an obnox­ious World-Wide Wrestling-style announc­er over the speak­ers along the river­bank that the ‘BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR COMING TO YOU FROM BOOSTOOON, WILL BE RIGHT BACK AFTER THESE MESSAGES…’ At any rate, the last of our year­ly July 4th fire­works shows end­ed with a bang as well as a whim­per (at least in terms of a plea for good taste). I remem­ber past years that were big­ger, bet­ter, and more excit­ing, and were cer­tain­ly devoid of crass announc­ers that made you feel like you were at a Mon­ster Truck Ral­ly. All in all, our last night in our town was loud, col­or­ful, and def­i­nite­ly ‘Amer­i­can’ in all sens­es (good and bad) of the word.

The mov­ing van showed up the next morn­ing at around 9:30. There were three guys, with one of them clear­ly the leader (no, he did­n’t have a hair­cut like Moe Howard, thank good­ness). The whole emp­ty­ing out of our pos­ses­sions took about 4 hours, includ­ing the pack­ing of all of our dish­es, glass­es and art. I hope we don’t get too many casualties.

As for the bed (men­tioned in an ear­li­er post­ing), we drained it, dis­as­sem­bled it, and dragged the pieces out to the curb (with the help of the mov­ing guys) with a sign that read: “Free Waterbed”. We went inside our now emp­ty house, swept (or to be more accu­rate, swiffed) the stair­ways and ground floor, and took show­ers, since it was pret­ty hot. We then decid­ed to get some lunch at a near­by restau­rant before we left town. On our way out the door, we noticed that the bed was already gone. Esti­mat­ed elapsed time: 20 min­utes. In fact, we saw two guys in the Dante Alighieri park­ing lot load­ing the bed on top of their car. They had tak­en every­thing except the bag. Our neigh­bor not­ed that since it was now just a bag, it real­ly was just trash and should be tak­en out a few days lat­er, so we began to drag it back into our back yard with the rest of our trash that was to be tak­en care of by neigh­bors and our real­tor. As we were doing this, the bag sprung a leak and water gushed all over the pave­ment. The fif­teen-year esti­mat­ed life-span of our waterbed bag was indeed exact­ly fif­teen years, and lucky for us, it expired on sched­ule, on the pave­ment rather than our third floor bedroom.

We drove out of town, stop­ping first at the cable com­pa­ny to drop off our cable modem. The dri­ve to Rox­bury Con­necti­cut was hot, but went by quick­ly. We spent a pleas­ant evening with my friends Rob and Lau­ra in the coun­try, and then con­tin­ued on to Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jer­sey, were we had din­ner, saw a movie, and stayed in the guest-room of my cousins. Final­ly, after traf­fic-filled, but rel­a­tive­ly smooth trip down the New Jer­sey Turn­pike and a bit more of Route 95, we arrived here at my par­en­t’s house in Bal­ti­more. Today we dropped the car off with a young woman who we met back in Con­necti­cut through my friends there, in George­town, DC. All con­tin­ues to go well and on sched­ule. We are def­i­nite­ly on our way.

Beyond the Day-to-day
I’m still excit­ed to be start­ing a new chap­ter, but I’m also sad to leave so many good things behind: Friends, col­leagues, and beau­ti­ful places (some in the city, some in the coun­try). As I was lis­ten­ing to the old chest­nuts peo­ple sang on July 4th like ‘This Land is Your Land’ and ‘Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful’, I thought for a moment or two what it will be like to remem­ber those as some­one who left them behind.

I’ve often talked about how this coun­try is not the coun­try that I grew up in. Where to begin with so many small things that add up to so much? The coun­try I grew up in was ‘The Good Guys’. Amer­i­ca was admired, and per­haps even envied by the rest of the world (I remem­ber how fun­ny it was that oth­er coun­tries, like those in east­ern Europe were so anx­ious to get blue jeans). I was con­stant­ly impressed by the sto­ries about Franklin, Jef­fer­son, Lin­coln, Roo­sevelt and JFK. Few lead­ers of oth­er coun­tries, with the pos­si­ble excep­tion of Ghan­di (as you might be able to tell from the quotes of him that I like to mem­o­rize), impressed me as much as those guys. I was proud of all the doc­u­ments that guar­an­teed free­dom of speech and the press. I was able to think thoughts like ‘That would nev­er hap­pen here’, unlike these days. I remem­ber how we thought that the sky was the lim­it, that opti­mism and entre­pre­neur­ial zeal would win every­body over, and gee-whiz, we’d all end up rich, but help each oth­er out on the way. Debt, like body fat, was some­thing we did­n’t accu­mu­late in huge quan­ti­ties, and although we did­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly do the right thing every time about the envi­ron­ment, we were get­ting a lit­tle bet­ter and one of these day’s we’d fix it — just give the sci­en­tists time to work it out. Maybe I’m over­stat­ing, but As Don­ald Fagen put it his song I.G.Y (which stood for Inter­na­tion­al Geo­phys­i­cal Year):

Stand­ing tough under stars and stripes
We can tell
This dream’s in sight
You’ve got to admit it
At this point in time that it’s clear
The future looks bright
On that train all graphite and glitter
Under­sea by rail
Nine­ty min­utes from New York to Paris
Well by sev­en­ty-six we’ll be A.O.K.

What a beau­ti­ful world this will be
What a glo­ri­ous time to be free

Get your tick­et to that wheel in space
While there’s time
The fix is in
You’ll be a wit­ness to that game of chance in the sky
You know we’ve got to win
Here at home we’ll play in the city
Pow­ered by the sun
Per­fect weath­er for a stream­lined world
There’ll be span­dex jack­ets one for everyone

What a beau­ti­ful world this will be
What a glo­ri­ous time to be free

On that train all graphite and glitter
Under­sea by rail
Nine­ty min­utes from New York to Paris
(More leisure for artists everywhere)
A just machine to make big decisions
Pro­grammed by fel­lows with com­pas­sion and vision
We’ll be clean when their work is done
We’ll be eter­nal­ly free yes and eter­nal­ly young

What a beau­ti­ful world this will be
What a glo­ri­ous time to be free

How has this changed? Well, it’s not only about hat­ing (yes, I must admit it, I hate) the man who sits in the Oval Office, as well as the craven Vice Pres­i­dent. It’s not only about how the coun­try is cloud­ed over with signs that read ‘Call 311 for sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty’ and TV Net­works that spew polit­i­cal pro­pa­gan­da that Prav­da would have been hap­py to print or broad­cast. It’s not only about more home­less on the street with no atten­tion paid to their plight, or the fact that chil­dren no longer learn music or art in many pub­lic schools, or that peo­ple seem to think that a mag­net­ic rib­bon on their gaso­line-gulp­ing SUV con­sti­tutes sup­port for the troops in a war that just goes on and on as far as the eye can see. It’s not only the grow­ing cul­ti­va­tion of reli­gious fanat­ics, both here (the Chris­tians) and abroad (the Mus­lims). It’s not only the fact that athe­ists are not even con­sid­ered cit­i­zens and sci­en­tists are seen once again as heretics for teach­ing the facts of evo­lu­tion. As far as I look on the hori­zon, I see decline for the US, social­ly, polit­i­cal­ly, intel­lec­tu­al­ly, eco­nom­i­cal­ly, and philo­soph­i­cal­ly, and that sad­dens me more.

At the end of the movie ‘Three Days of the Con­dor’, Max von Sydow, the Swiss hit man, sug­gests to Robert Red­ford that he should move to Europe because if he stays in the US, soon­er or lat­er he’ll get mur­dered. Red­ford says that he can’t, that he’d miss Amer­i­ca too much. I won­der how that line would be inter­pret­ed in a movie today?

My friend Rob said that he thought of me as a new sta­tis­tic: a Metro-Sur­vival­ist. Instead of stock­ing a cave in the moun­tains with bot­tled water, food and firearms, I flee to a city of more oppor­tu­ni­ties (or at least one that does­n’t seem to be on this down­ward slope). I point­ed out that this was often what led immi­grants to coun­tries for years, pota­to famine or what­ev­er else led to the move, so this real­ly isn’t any­thing new. What is new is that now it’s an Amer­i­can seek­ing his for­tune in anoth­er coun­try that just might be bet­ter, and that is the sad­dest thing of all.

The Piano has Left the Building/What I Will and Won’t Miss

The piano movers came yes­ter­day and took the piano. I put up the sequence of pic­tures I took on Flickr. So one more piece of our life is no longer in Lilac Court. I wish I’d played it more, but I’m glad that it’s going to stay in the fam­i­ly, so I won’t miss it quite as much.

Speak­ing of miss­ing things, I’ve start­ed to think about the things I’ll miss from here (besides friends, of course). Here are the things I’ll miss, the things I’ll be glad to leave behind, and the things I real­ly won’t care either way:

Things I’ll Miss

  1. The Red Sox - now that they are ‘win­ners’. Still, the whole sil­ly ‘curse’ thing was fun, but if I real­ly missed that, I’d move to Chica­go. I also liked the Patri­ots, although it’s hard for me to get all weepy about foot­ball. I will miss Super­Bowl Sun­day at my friend Andy’s house. It became an annu­al culi­nary and social event that we reg­u­lars looked for­ward to. Thanks, Andy.
  2. Cod. What a won­der­ful, tasty fish, so mild and com­fort­ing when baked with herb bread crumbs, but­ter and lemon. On the oth­er hand, from all the over-fish­ing that’s going on, I may not be the only one who’s going to be miss­ing this fish in the near future. While we’re talk­ing food here, I’ll also miss Emma’s Piz­za, a piz­za par­lor famous from glow­ing write­ups in Newsweek and Zagat, which had to good sense to relo­cate to a near­by cor­ner. Piz­za most peo­ple would dri­ve hours for, and I got to walk home with it before it got cold and wash it down from Micro­brew­ery beer, also from across the street. It rarely gets bet­ter than that.
  3. Speak­ing of food, I will also miss all the fab­u­lous Ice Cream, includ­ing Toscanini’s , Christi­na’s, Emack and Bolios, Steve’s, JP Licks, the White Moun­tain Cream­ery and all of the oth­er incred­i­ble dairy con­fec­tionar­ies we have here. Some have called Boston the Ice Cream cap­i­tal of the coun­try, maybe even the world. They’re right.
  4. Hay­mar­ket. I love farm­ers’ mar­kets and this one was so authen­tic and cheap, it’s the way some fam­i­lies make ends meet. Where else could you get a bushel of peach­es for $2.50 ? Nev­er mind that you had to throw out a third of them because they weren’t so good.
  5. Har­vard Davis Square. Har­vard Square used to be a place to hang out and just peo­ple-watch, as well as go to nice book­stores. There’s only one book­store left (of the same name), and my favorite was Wordsworth (ask some­one who’s been here a while and they’ll prob­a­bly shed a tear as well). Har­vard has now become pret­ty much a shop­ping mall and clus­ter of banks. What Har­vard Square used to be like is now, Davis Square (small, inde­pen­dent book stores, cafés, restau­rants, and the Somerville The­atre). Much livelier.
  6. Liv­ing in the Intel­lec­tu­al Capi­tol of North Amer­i­ca. No oth­er city, any­where, has as many col­leges as Cam­bridge, MA. Yes­ter­day was Har­vard Grad­u­a­tion. Every­where you looked you saw peo­ple in caps and gowns, flow­ers, hap­py par­ents, and lost dri­vers with out-of-town license plates. The week before it was MIT. Those are the big ones, and there are many small­er ones, many of which, on their own, could be the cen­ter­piece of a Uni­ver­si­ty town.
  7. Memo­r­i­al Dri­ve. Noth­ing more beau­ti­ful than a Sun­day in the late Sum­mer or Fall walk­ing along the Charles Riv­er. In the evening we’d take bread crusts to feed the ducks. Sad­ly, pol­lu­tion has since has caused them to leave.
  8. Speak­ing of Fall, the Fall col­ors were some­thing to ooh and ah about every year. I love that sea­son, and late Sep­tem­ber was always a treat.
  9. Being close to Ver­mont. The thing that prob­a­bly makes me the sad­dest about leav­ing the US is leav­ing Ver­mont, one of the coun­try’s sav­ing graces. I’ll also miss Tan­gle­wood and Dublin, New Hamp­shire. Where I got my music fix each sum­mer vis­it­ing The Walden School, a fan­tas­tic sum­mer pro­gram I attend­ed as a stu­dent eons ago, and taught as a fac­ul­ty mem­ber not much more recent than that.

Things I’ll be Glad to Leave Behind

  1. Logan Air­port. They should nev­er be for­giv­en for let­ting the ter­ror­ists on not one but two planes on 9/11. I would­n’t be so hard on them, but for the fact that it was lat­er revealed that the head of secu­ri­ty for the air­port at the time had got­ten that cushy job by being the Gov­er­nor’s chauf­feur. Favors for fam­i­ly and friends put the whole coun­try at risk. On a more triv­ial lev­el, the place is still filthy, ugly, dif­fi­cult to get around in, dif­fi­cult to land on, and an all-around dis­grace. The best thing they can do is to shut the whole thing down. Build an air­port off-shore on an arti­fi­cial island like the Chi­nese did (hey, why not anoth­er Big Dig!) I’m going to be thrilled not to have to return home via Logan. It’s a pity so many do.
  2. Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors. Now admit­ted­ly, I did vote for William Weld, but that was because the only alter­na­tive was a mani­ac named John Sil­ber, who was so dis­agree­able that I would have vot­ed in Ghengis Kahn over him. (Well, almost). Unfor­tu­nate­ly, after Weld (who was stopped in mid-career by none oth­er than that Nean­derthal, Jesse Helms), there have been a suc­ces­sion of GOP gov­er­nors in Mass­a­chu­setts (Cel­lu­ci and now Rom­ney), and each one has been just as bad
  3. Liv­ing in a User-Hos­tile City. Boston has an atti­tude: Sig­nage is for sissies; you should just know where you are, so don’t both­er ask­ing for direc­tions. That includes roads as well as the T (sub­way). If you’re with lug­gage and come in via AMTRAK at South Sta­tion, you’ll nev­er be able to find an ele­va­tor. Take if from me, I could­n’t, and I’ve lived here near­ly 20 years! I also prob­a­bly don’t need to men­tion that Boston dri­vers are known through­out the coun­try for being the among the most aggres­sive and rude. I sus­pect that I’ve picked up some of the dri­ving style and will have to work to tone it down.
  4. The Win­ters. In fact, the weath­er in gen­er­al is far from pleas­ant. Not only were win­ters very cold and snowy, but sum­mers were not that com­fort­able either. Boston also seems to lack any kind of a Spring, tem­per­a­ture-wise. You go from too cold to too hot in a day. I wish we could have got­ten more than 1 or 2 days of 72°F/22°C per year. It’s cur­rent­ly a steamy 79°F/26°C, and it’s only June!
  5. Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter. Well, no one likes that place. It is tru­ly one of most unat­trac­tive build­ings ever built. Every­body in Boston knows it’s hor­ri­ble, but in all the years I’ve lived here, not a soul has been able to get any con­cen­sus on what to do about it. What a waste of space and a lost opportunity!

Where I Won’t Care Either Way

  1. The Big Dig. It nev­er affect­ed us, and now that it’s done, depend­ing on who you ask, it was either a mar­vel of engi­neer­ing or a shame­ful piece of polit­i­cal pork (or both). I think it’s just a big tun­nel. And although the Bunker Hill/Leonard Zakim bridge is pret­ty, we’ve actu­al­ly nev­er dri­ven on it. Big Deal. What real­ly needs help are the roads above ground. The pot­holes out­num­ber the pigeons.
  2. Liv­ing Amongst Colo­nial His­to­ry. While I did once par­tic­i­pate in what I’d like to think was an impor­tant dig­i­tal media project around the Boston Free­dom Trail some years ago, I have to say that I’ve just had it with the city’s attempt to turn itself into Ye Olde Yan­kee Theme Parke. As the local gov­ern­ment and builders pre­serve one of the ugli­est build­ings in the city (the old City Jail) as part of a Med­ical Cen­ter build­ing project just across the riv­er, I’ve come to the real­iza­tion that too much rev­er­ence of the past can be almost as bad as not enough.
  3. The Boston Accent. Sure, it’s easy to make fun of, and I can cer­tain­ly do a ver­sion of it, but hav­ing that Boston ‘pahk your cahr’ sound nei­ther enhances nor detracts from peo­ples’ impres­sion of you. At worst you sound like an idiot. At best, (as Jon Stew­art of the Dai­ly Show has some­times said) you sound like May­or Quim­by from The Simp­sons. Who knows, I might get all teary-eyed when I hear one years from now, but thanks to the fact that NPR’s Car Talk is heard every­where from Con­stan­tino­ple to Tim­buk­tu, I don’t think that will happen.
  4. The Kennedys. Pam saw Ted Kennedy once at the air­port. I stood next to Bill Weld and Michael Dukakis (at dif­fer­ent times) on the T, but nev­er a Kennedy.
  5. The North End. This small Ital­ian neigh­bor­hood was sup­posed to be famous for great food. Frankly, I was dis­ap­point­ed more often than not. The sand­wich­es at Il Pani­no could be very good though.

Those are the lists I could think up in these last few days. There will be more that I dis­cov­er, and Ali­son Rose (who has left some nice com­ments here) has a run­ning appre­ci­a­tion in her blog of things New Eng­land, Every­thing’s SFNE. Here’s to only remem­ber­ing the good things, which mem­o­ry always does for us.

Boozeless

The movers gave us a tip: No liq­uids in the mov­ing van (if any­thing breaks or leaks it can ruin stuff). But espe­cial­ly, no alco­hol. I had heard about lim­its as to how much alco­hol you can take into Cana­da from the US. Appar­ent­ly even a lit­tle on a mov­ing van sends off red alarm bells amongst the cus­toms offi­cers. So, what do you do when you have about 6 weeks before you are going to move, and you have 2 well-stocked cab­i­nets of every­thing from vod­ka, gin, scotch (includ­ing about 3 bot­tles of good sin­gle malt), rum, tequi­la, vin­tage port, and about 2 dozen bot­tles of wine rang­ing from cheap stuff (or as they call it in Britain, plonk) to some very nice bordeaux?

You can’t very well drink it all!

That was my liv­er talk­ing. For­tu­nate­ly I have cousins who can store it for me, as well as get it down to Bal­ti­more to my par­ents, who can then take the stuff, maybe a half a dozen or so bot­tles at a time, to my broth­er in Seat­tle. From there, we can get it across the bor­der in small batch­es. At this rate we’ll have the con­tents of our liquor cab­i­net back in… 5 years! At any rate, we met my cousins in New­ton, where they hap­pened to be while one of them was in town for a busi­ness meet­ing. Moved box­es from car trunk to car trunk in pour­ing rain. Bye bye Grey Goose, Mak­er’s Mark and Blue Sapphire.

Hor­rif­ic weath­er today. High winds, rain, and cold (about 9 C, 48 F). I need a drink. Doh!

And, we’re back

I real­ly should just install Ecto, my blog­ging client on my lap­top, because I dis­like using the online (web) inter­face to post to my blogs. The result is that when I’ve been on the road I haven’t done much in the way of updat­ing this. And boy, has there been a lot to update!

Yes, we were on the road, back in Van­cou­ver for a final vis­it before the move, and Seat­tle to vis­it with my broth­er’s fam­i­ly (even though my broth­er was in Brazil for most of the vis­it, but I did get to vis­it with my Sis­ter-in-law and my niece) and for Pam to attend the STC (Soci­ety for Tech­ni­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions) 52nd Annu­al Con­fer­ence. While I was there, I also spent a day in the mar­velous Seat­tle Pub­lic Library, and I also did some win­dow-shop­ping at IKEA and Fryes for fur­ni­ture and elec­tron­ics that we’ll ‘need’ after the move.

But aside from all that, Mur­phy’s Law (which I remem­ber from old Lar­ry Niv­en books, could be expressed as in engi­neer­ing terms as “The Per­ver­si­ty of the Uni­verse tends toward a Max­i­mum”) deter­mined: Dur­ing the 6 or so hours that we would be rel­a­tive­ly dif­fi­cult to reach, i.e. while we were in flight — that would be the time when an offer to buy our house would come in. After fran­tic calls and mes­sages left on our cell phone accounts and var­i­ous voice mails, we man­aged to com­mu­ni­cate and accept­ed the offer. Also, although I don’t want to jinx any­thing or count any chick­ens before they are hatched, the prospect of me hav­ing employ­ment as we arrive in Van­cou­ver appears to be get­ting brighter. No details yet; there are still many hoops to jump through. Nev­er­the­less, I’m becom­ing more and more opti­mistic that the key items we’ll need to start a new life in Cana­da are lin­ing up.

Speak­ing of items need­ed to immi­grate, now is as good as any oth­er time to list the things we’ve need­ed to get in order to immi­grate to Cana­da, just in case any­one else out there is think­ing of the same thing (and I know you are, lib’rals!)

  1. First there are the forms to fill out. You’ll need to list every­where you’ve lived since you were 18, and every job you’ve ever had since you were 18. You’ll need let­ters of ref­er­ence from the jobs you’ve held in the last 5 years or so, ver­i­fy­ing your start dates, end dates, if applic­a­ble, your job title, and your salary.
  2. You’ll need a cur­rent pass­port and…
  3. An offi­cial copy of your birth certificate,
  4. An offi­cial copy of your mar­riage cer­tifi­cate if you’re married,
  5. Spe­cial ‘res­i­dent cut’ pass­port pho­tos, which have to have been tak­en in the last 6 months or so,
  6. Offi­cial FBI and State Dept.- accept­ed Fin­ger­prints. There are places that take them.
  7. Also, proof of 6 months worth of liv­ing expens­es (hope­ful­ly not a huge amount depend­ing on where you are moving)
  8. If you’ve ever lived abroad (like as a stu­dent), proof from the police depart­ment of that area that you have no record. I actu­al­ly still need to pro­vide this one.
  9. Did I men­tion you can’t have a police record? That includes your native coun­try as well, while you’re at it. You don’t have to pro­vide proof of it, but if you have any record, you’re pret­ty much out of the running.
  10. For a dri­ver’s license, it real­ly helps to get the last 7 years of your dri­ving record. Oth­er­wise you have to get a learn­er’s per­mit and then take the Cana­di­an Dri­ver’s test

That’s about it. We hired a lawyer to help us out, so that adds some, but hope­ful­ly it will help expe­dite our work. He’s already helped us head off some prob­lems when we did­n’t fill in the cor­rect ‘fam­i­ly’ mem­bers on that part of the form — turns out you need to include all of your imme­di­ate fam­i­ly, liv­ing or dead, and their cur­rent address­es (if alive). So if you have a sib­ling or par­ent who has a record with the State Dept., then you’ll prob­a­bly run into trou­ble was well.

So this was a good trip. We got lots of stuff done with nail­ing down the apart­ment that we’ll be buy­ing when we get there (it’s real­ly a con­do, but there’s no word for that in Cana­da — actu­al­ly, they call it a ‘stra­ta’, but that refers more to the res­i­dents who man­age the over­all prop­er­ty — kind of like a coop, I guess).

I’ll have more lat­er. Plan on upload­ing some pho­tos to Flickr, so that will prob­a­bly end up mak­ing an appear­ance here, too.