Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I feel a little childish being so excited about this: We have our Permanent Resident cards in hand! They actually arrived in Vancouver two or three weeks ago, but last night we could touch and stare at them (which I have done a lot). I know that in the official process, this isn't really a milestone, but emotionally it really feels like one. It's hard evidence that we've achieved what we've been working on for almost three years.

The cards are amazing technologically; I've never seen so many and so high-tech features. There are engravings, holograms, micro-writing, overlapping text/design, redundancies and a mag strip that seems very different from the ones on our credit cards. The photo (oddly, in black and white ??) is copied on the back of the card twice -- once on the mag strip itself. The name and date of birth appear in multiple locations. Many items can only be seen when held at a certain angle. There's so much going on, like images of the flags of all 13 provinces/territories are on the mag strip! Anyway, the cards are way cool. Woo hoo!

We're running up to Vancouver for the day on Thursday to look at apartments and maybe even sign a lease. One building in particular is in a perfect location and it will allow our cats. It will be a whirlwind tour as we're both still working and just taking the day off. We'll spend more time on the train than in the city. If we make progress in finding housing, it will be well worth it.

I was very anxious about who would rent to us, given that we have no history in Canada. After speaking with the management of one of the buildings, I was relieved. She is able to run a U.S. credit check and our being F.O.B. (or F.O.T. in our case) didn't seem to phase her at all. I had gotten it into my head that somehow we'd really have to fight and plead; it seems more like they want to rent to good tenants than they're looking to reject people capriciously.

Still, we're going in prepared: copies of our U.S. credit reports, bank statements, information on how to verify our current employment and reference from our rental management company of the past ten years in Seattle. (We even dug up a letter from our last landlord in New Orleans, but I think that's a bit much -- and we're not really sure how to reach him any more or even if he's still kicking.) While it's difficult juggling between two cities, I feel so much more confident and secure looking at rentals while we still have jobs and a place to live.

One of the units we're hoping to look at is available July 1; that would work great. Still, if it looks like the right thing to do, we will sign a lease starting June 1 and live with the overlap. I'm not thrilled at paying rent on two places for the same month, but knowing we have a fixed home in Vancouver is worth it. (Repeat to self ten times.)

A week ago Saturday, I mailed the application for the (post B.A.) college program that will get me my Canadian teaching credentials; it starts July 7.

I spent a day calling movers. There are four categories: local company Seattle or Vancouver (1 & 2) and national affiliate U.S. or Canada (3 & 4). Even though I tried to weed them out before calling, some movers didn't want the job. (They hate crossing the border. One didn't say they wouldn't do it, they just gave me a really high quote to make me go away.) Also, there are three different approaches: same-day, next-day, and consolidated (multi-household) it-will-take-weeks. Cost estimates vary wildly, from what we expected to twice what we expected and maybe we should just ditch everything and start over.

As of now, the local Vancouver company wins hands down. Their quote was reasonable (what we expected, although he thought it would give me a heart attack), same-day move, and willing to meet us at the border for customs (in fact, very pleased that we're willing). Plus, I really do prefer to work with a locally-based operation as opposed to national affiliate and with a company whose home is where we're going (not where we're from -- in case there are any problems, it seems like it would be better). Once we have a destination address, we can book a move date and give a deposit. I was worried at giving the movers less than three months' notice -- but he was thrilled at the prospect of getting three weeks. (I guess a lot of folks are last minute?)

I don't know if you can read between the lines, but there's a lot of, um, freaking out you're not seeing (reading). I really had built things up in my mind and I think this can be an "I told you so" moment for L-girl: I think part of it was reading negative stories on the immigration lists. Once I got started (breathe, breathe) making calls and such, I realized the (Canadian) world was not out to get me. This move can happen and maybe without the trials of Hercules. (I think I'm mixing my metaphors and mythology). So, I'm calmer. That's a relative term. I still have the occasional panic attack in the wee AM hours.

Right now, I can't believe how fortunate we are. Horrible, terrible things are going on in the world, some (most?) human-caused, some not -- and we're healthy, educated U.S. citizens moving to Canada. I feel spoiled. And I want to work, albeit in some very small way, to help makes things better. I've been thinking about where I'd like to put my energy in that regard once we're settled Vancouverites. That's another post.

Thanks for reading.


Blogger West End Bob said...

What a great, positive post - You sound much calmer. Maybe the breathing exercises are working after all!

Choosing the local Vancouver mover sounds like the route to go, especially if their fees are what you were expecting. Good to have a local contact if there are any problems, but there won't be!

Looking forward to details on which building and location you settle on - Surely it will be within walking distance, as we walk all over The West End. Did Kevin mail your PR cards to you? Ours are still up there as CBSA informed me that they were not necessary for the border crossing as we have our VISAs.

I reserved our U-Haul trailer yesterday and the plan is to load and leave here the first week of June, so we should be settled in by the time you guys arrive.

Yee Haw ! ! ! !

11:34 AM, May 13, 2008  
Blogger West End Bob said...

Forgot to ask:

Please explain the F.O.B. and F.O.T. acronyms.

Can't figure them out other than Free on Board . . . .

6:36 PM, May 13, 2008  
Blogger L-girl said...

Childish, are you kidding me?? Congratulations!! It's so exciting holding those cards in your hand for the 1st time. Or the 100th time! I love my PR card and everything in represents.

Best of luck, we are all pulling for you.

2:03 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger L-girl said...

FOB = fresh off the boat

FOT = fresh off the... train? turnpike?

2:04 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger L-girl said...

I'm not thrilled at paying rent on two places for the same month, but knowing we have a fixed home in Vancouver is worth it. (Repeat to self ten times.)

We did that for one month. It was totally and completely worth it. If you have a security deposit on your old place, than cover it.

And I will NOT say I told you so. I'm just happy you've learned and relaxed a bit. Or a lot. :)

2:06 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger MSEH said...

So wonderful to hear from you!

Too funny about the acronyms. I'm thinking, hmm, Friends of Dorothy? No. FOB? FOT? Glad to see that explained! ;-)

2:05 PM, May 18, 2008  
Blogger gito said...

So happy you guys are in your way!! We are going to Vancouver this Summer! Maybe we'll see u there!!

4:01 AM, May 19, 2008  
Blogger Tom said...

I am so happy to read this all coming together. Just tackle one issue at a time. You will be amazed how quickly the stress goes away once you actually live in Vancouver.

7:46 AM, May 21, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home