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.

A Day Trip to North Adams, MA

Natural Bridge in North Adams

Since we’ll be mov­ing far­ther away from friends and some rel­a­tives, we’re now tak­ing some time to vis­it with them. In this case, we met our friends Rob and Lau­ra in North Adams, a small mill town in the North West­ern cor­ner of Mass­a­chu­setts, near the bor­ders of New York and Ver­mont. North Adams’ claim to fame is the Mass­a­chu­setts Muse­um of Con­tem­po­rary Art (or Mass MoCA).

After meet­ing up at the muse­um for lunch and wan­der­ing around the place, we decid­ed that we had enough of aes­thet­ic stim­u­la­tion, and drove to the near­by Nat­ur­al Bridge to get some air and take in the ear­ly spring sun. Near the end of the day, we all went to Williams, MA, home to Williams Col­lege, which is, as you would expect, a love­ly small col­lege-town, where we had a nice Thai din­ner at a local restau­rant.

I’ve known Rob since my under­grad days (we were long-time room­mates), and it’s always great to see him. He’s an ama­teur actor and once again in a com­mu­ni­ty the­atre pro­duc­tion (play­ing the But­ler in a bed­room farce), so hope­ful­ly we’ll get to see them again in their home in Rox­bury Con­necti­cut. Lau­ra is an artist and we have a piece of hers in our liv­ing room/dining room. She’s also a fine singer and I did a lit­tle work on the web site for her harp and voice duo, Arpa-vocé last month.

It was a good day to be out and enjoy­ing the spring weath­er, espe­cial­ly with friends who I’m hop­ing will vis­it us after the move.

The Gates

Yes­ter­day, Pam and I took the Fung Wah bus from Boston to New York to take a look at The Gates, Chris­to and Jeanne-Claude’s instal­la­tion of 7,500 fab­ric-fes­tooned arch­ways along the path­ways of Cen­tral Park. We had a great time, even with the 4 hour ride there and back (although the price was right; $15 each way!). Have a look at all the pho­tos we took at Flickr.

I was struck by how such a sim­ple thing — fab­ric and steel arch­ways — changes the expe­ri­ence of the place. It was no longer a sim­ple walk in the park. Sud­den­ly, it’s as if the whole area were turned into an ant farm, with tun­nels going each and every direc­tion, con­verg­ing, and encir­cling. Add to that, the col­or, which was like an orange shout on the gray Feb­ru­ary land­scape. I wish that I could have sped through them on some sort of scoot­er or bicy­cle, pass­ing through the path­ways at top speed, expe­ri­enc­ing the ever-arriv­ing, ever-leav­ing at 30 or 40 mph. Still, even at a stroll’s pace, I enjoyed the trip and the instal­la­tion. A pity that it will only be around for such a short time. But then, after it’s gone, the ghost of those gates will prob­a­bly linger a lit­tle while, like the smell of saf­fron after the meal is over and the plates are put into the dish­wash­er.

writ­ten while lis­ten­ing to Brahms — String Quin­tet No. 2 in G Major, Op.111 (arranged for piano, 4 hands)- i. Alle­gro ma non trop­po from the album “Brahms — Four Hand Piano Music, Vol. 12” by Matthies, Kohn, Piano