Saturday, December 11, 2010
Just when we were sure our furniture would get trapped in a snowdrift in Calgary, there was the giant truck, taking up 8 metered parking spaces along the side of St. Laurent, our little blue car smiling at us from the back. Our new apartment is, as toby will be the first to tell you, on top of a yogurt shop. He tells this to anyone who appears to be listening, especially people that we meet on the bus. “where do you live? I live on top of the yogurt shop”. By on top of a yogurt shop, I mean that you ascend one steep, narrow flight of stairs to put you directly above said frozen treat purveyor, then up another two flights into our apartment. If you desired, you could then go up another flight and be in our bedroom or on our deck with a view of downtown. It is a lovely view and you might consider doing this unless you are one of the men carrying our furniture and boxes up from the truck, for example, the man who at the end of the day explained that he had the steel plates holding his recently broken spine together, in which case, I suspect that you might pass on the view because your legs have already turned into jello. And in fact, just so that they don’t have to contend with that last flight of stairs, we tell them to just stack all the boxes in the vast empty area that we don’t have enough furniture to fill right now anyway. As a side note, we bought a new dining table and sofa like a week before we moved. In our San Francisco apartment, they looked enormous and so we have had weeks of fitful sleep when we imagined all the money we wasted on furniture that would be too large to even fit up the stairs, let alone fit into our new place. Of course, the new place is large enough to have swallowed our previous apartment in one gulp, and thus the sofa and table appear tiny by comparison, so in the end, I feel that was not the most productive worrying that we’ve ever done. In any event, somehow, the movers managed to get everything up the stairs unscathed and so our apartment went from empty to full of boxes to full of empty boxes and piles of paper to full of stuff that we shouldn’t have moved all the way over here but we were too frantic before the move to properly clean out our closets so now we have a huge pile of junk for goodwill to almost presentable, just requiring a few more coat hooks. and with that, we’re finally home. And ready for some yogurt.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The grande biblioteque is both grand and bookfilled as its name would suggest. But I am mostly just sitting sleepily watching the glass elevators shuttle up and down. Toby and jon are in the kids section reading, I assume, books about or involving or with at least one picture of lions. As with most aspects of our new life in Canada, this is actually just a form of waiting. In this particular instance, we are waiting for lunchtime. But much of the past week has been spent waiting in lines, waiting and filling out forms, trying to distract toby while waiting, waiting on wait lists, or just generally waiting. It’s a strange limbo. We went to a party last night and everyone asked how we like living here so far, and mostly we smile and respond positively that we like it very much. Because we do, or at least, we think we do, and we certainly expect to. But of course, we don’t really know, because living in a hotel and working by standing in lines isn’t really what our life will be here, in fact with any luck it isn’t what our life will be next week, when we hope that the slow moving truck with its amiable but somewhat tooth-free driver and all of our belongings pulls up at our new apartment. But until then, we live in what may b the blandest vacation ever, swimming every evening in the hotel pool (for which we purchased heavily discounted bathing suits because ours are on that slow truck) and cooking some pasta on our single functioning burner, and waiting waiting for furniture and cell phones and credit cards and bank accounts and medicare and snow. But at least right now we can stop waiting for lunch time as it has finally arrived. cheers!
Just a few notes for those of you who might be considering a transcontinental move to a different country, for example, from san francisco to montreal.
1) carrying cats through the metal detector is not as terrible as you might expect if perchance you are lucky enough to be holding a surprisingly limp lulington. If, on the other hand, you are holding wendy, it is full of all the clawing, scratching, and bleeding that you had previously imagined. And maybe more.
2) speaking of cats, while soft carriers are lighter, easier to fit under the seat in front of you, and keep the people at customs from asking to see your paperwork because they don’t realize those bags are full of cats, they do little to protect the cats from rambunctious 3 year olds who are also quick to forget that they are not just luggage.
3) the flight from san francisco to toronto is REALLY long if no one takes a nap.
4) 1 hour and 15 minutes may or may not be long enough to get from one airplane, through customs, to a second airplane. We don’t know the answer to this because what we did learn is that 75 minutes isn’t anywhere near to enough time to get through immigration when you are actually moving to that country, especially when the immigration computer system is mysteriously down.
4a) when the immigration computer does go down and they have to fill out your work permit form by hand, be prepared for every office that you walk in to subsequent to that to eye you suspiciously because of your strange non-standard green work permit that has been haphazardly stapled into your passport.
5) while Jon disapproves of “found” toys for hygiene regions, I feel that once you wash off that plastic dinosaur that’s been sitting in the immigration waiting room for hours or perhaps even days, it becomes your best option for occupying an antsy 3-year old while the immigration official tries to fill out your work permit paperwork by hand.
6) it’s much easier to estimate the cost of all of your belongings on the spot when the customs agent asks if you have just gone against the all the rules of importing furniture to Canada and bought a bunch of furniture immediately prior to your departure.
7) it turns out that montreal is pretty far away. And after today, it feels even farther. Fortunately, beer is here to help.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
and just fyi, that picture is from a little trip we made to san mateo in august to escape the fog and eat some ramen. so now you're almost filled in on what we've been up to.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
However, in the midst of all this, we’ve also been applying for jobs. This has been problematic for me in two respects. First, is the fact that after 45 applications, I have not gotten any jobs. While this supports my contention that I would be better off as a baker, it does not do much to boost my own morale. Second, and perhaps more troubling is that jon has gotten some jobs, well, one so far. Which is great, or would be great except that it is in a place so strange, so frightening, so unbelievable that I almost can’t bring myself to mention it. That place, of course, is iowa. It presents me with a similar dilemma as one I confronted the other day when a friend of Toby’s came down with scabies. Because scabies is such a perfectly silly yet creepy name for a disease and at the same time, at least I had thought, such a sufficiently obscure disease that you can use it whenever you need to make light of some other sickness e.g. “if you go to fred’s house, watch out for scabies! Ha ha!” Now, I have to rethink my go-to joke disease, to something like, oh I don’t know, botulism or myxomatosis. See, it’s hard to find a good replacement for scabies. Iowa had been my scabies, as in “you live in Rwanda? Wow, well, at least you’re not living in iowa, am I right?!? Ha ha!” and yet now our living there is no longer impossible. In fact, it is quickly gaining traction in the realm of things that are possible. Faster than I can say scabies. And that is very scary. Very scary indeed. You see, after half a dozen moves over my lifetime, I have finally found a home here in San Francisco which, sadly, is the one place that I cannot continue to live without jon and I both making a drastic career change. And since we’ve never really had the chance to try out the career that we’ve been practicing towards for the past 14 years, I feel like we should give that one a try. Only thing is, we very well might have to give it a try in iowa. Anyway, as you can imagine, all this thinking about my future in some cornfield has left me without much energy for writing quick witticisms. In fact, I bet that you’re feeling like this is the point in the post where I would usually change the tone, start pointing out all the bright sides to the current predicament, how living in iowa will be a great opportunity to join an older ladies bowling league or learn about the intricacies of thunder-snow or watch more television, but I’m just not there yet. Someday I might be. But not today. So until then, here are some pictures of toby, may he never come down with a case of scabies, or iowa.