Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Envelope from Buffalo

Saturday, Alan had to work, but we made plans to see X-Men III afterwards. I stopped by our p.o. box along the way to meet him downtown. And there it was: an envelope from Buffalo.

A bit heart-stopping.

No way would I open it without him, but the half-hour walk allowed time for supposition. This is really too early to hear anything, so why now? Too much of a coincidence of the timing with our requests to the State of Louisiana. It probably has something to do with that -- says the rational part of the brain.

But -- what if ... 1) They've looked at our application enough to reject us and decided it doesn't need to go further ... 2) They're working the queue faster because they've started sending applications to other consulates for processing and this is the request for the next step ...

So, I tell myself there are three categories this envelope could belong to: Neutral news, bad news or good news. Chances are it is the first.

Alan and friend wanted to make me wait until after the movie, but I opened the envelope over sweet potato fries (just found a source for this, one of my favorite things) during lunch.

At first I was confused: The contents of the envelope were what I had sent to Louisiana. There were the forms, the letters, the fingerprint cards, the un-cashed money orders -- but no results, nothing saying "no record." They did nothing. But how did this get from Louisiana to Buffalo and back to Seattle?

A more thorough search came up with two over-photocopied letters, one from Louisiana, which was buried, and one from the Canadian Consulate General. The letter from Louisiana was dated November 22, 2005:

We regret to inform you at this time that we are unable to respond to your request for a criminal background check for immigration and/or a work visa purposes. This matter has been referred to our legal advisors for clarification concerning the placement of responsibility according to Louisiana law for provision of this information. This issue should be resolved rapidly [Snort] and hopefully will enable us to respond in the future. Should you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to call ...

Rapidly? The letter was dated six months ago! And remember, this was our second request because they had refused to send it to us directly, but only to the consulate. This time we provided the address in Buffalo and our file number, along with a self-addressed envelope so they wouldn't screw it up. That's how everything got to Buffalo.

The folks in Buffalo opened this, said, "dopey Americans," added a photocopied letter with instructions about how to obtain FBI clearance, and mailed everything back to us.

Of course, we already have our FBI clearances and they're in our file. But I don't think anyone checked.

Other than confirming my feelings about Louisiana (my time there was mostly spent planning my escape), this episode did suggest an interesting piece of information: Buffalo doesn't seem to care about state clearances. That's been an ongoing debate in the Canadian immigration yahoo groups and most of us decide to play it safe and get them anyway. But maybe logic has prevailed and only the FBI clearance is needed, as it does cover all 50 states anyway.

The movie was good, by the way. I recommend it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Has It Really Been Three Months?

Wow. I couldn't believe it when I saw the date of my last post: Exactly three months ago.

Well, there's not much to report in our immigration saga. We don't really expect to hear anything again from CIC until about March of 2007. We did re-submit our requests for police clearances from the State of Louisiana, as they would not send them directly to us and we had to wait until we had a file number to send them directly to Buffalo.

We've been thinking about what concrete steps we can take while waiting for the CIC. I'm definitely looking around the apartment with a critical eye, beginning to classify items under one of the following categories: comes with, sell, give away, recycle, shred, trash. I'm hoping to learn eBay; selling stuff achieves two goals: fewer items to pack/schlep and more money for our relocation fund.

Now I realize it's not a done deal and I am somewhat superstitious about tempting fate and all. But I figure getting rid of stuff is always a worthy goal. I always feel so cleansed when I go through one of my purge cycles.

The other side of the story is putting the brakes on acquisition. We think twice about almost every purchase. Do we really need this now? Do we want to take this with us? Any non-consumable needs to be classified into one of the above categories and I'd rather not create more work.

I continue to get to know the place we hope will be our new home by watching CBC, reading books, and browsing online news. I keep up with the blogs (listed at right), even though I don't contribute much in the way of comments. The biggest story is that Nick and Mason (Life Without Borders) are pretty much on their way.

OK, the confession part of the blog. I'm terrible about writing anything. I have ideas in my head and I have the most awful time putting them on paper or screen. I think it may be some type of perfectionism. I really need to get over it. Despite the barren-ness of this blog, I really do have a lot to say -- some of it even articulate ...

I've been promising political rants. Part of the problem is that I don't know where to start. Sometimes I feel like I'm a lunatic because everything seems so crazy to me. I mean, most people seem fine with this reality, so I must be off. Another reason I don't say much is that I can't say things any better than others. There are some incredibly knowledgeable, intelligent, and even witty folks over at the "we move to canada" blog: I can't compete with that. I am so jealous of folks who speak up that have the courage of their convictions AND maintain a sense of humor. I just seem to end up in a righteous blather.

Anyway ... I've been telling folks that wanting to move to Canada is not just about the same-sex marriage issue; we feel that Canada has values closer to ours than does the U.S. And I DO want to expand on that. I guess I just need to dive in somewhere ...