For the record, I’m home

You may not have known I was gone. That’s OK.

Some stats on this year’s October Canadian adventure:

  • 3600 km.
  • 7 states, 1 province.
  • 1 graduation.
  • 1 new border crossing point (Sarnia ON/Port Huron MI).
  • Dinner and assorted socializing with friends in Buffalo, Toronto, and London.
  • No recreational (nor any other) marijuana purchases.
  • 4L of assorted craft beers imported into the USA.
  • 19 books, 3 DVDs, 1 CD.

There may be more details later. Or there may not. I can be enigmatic like that…

Atlantic Canada adventure, part 2

I’m home. Flying back from Halifax only took fifteen hours longer than driving would have. I hate flying.

So I’ve now done the Maritimes. I’m glad I’ve been there and I enjoyed the trip, but a return trip is not a terribly high priority for me. The whole area is just too rural and lacks a lot of the urbanity and diversity I associate with Ontario and Québec, though there are still some interesting notes I’ll add to that long essay on suburban form in Canada I’ve been formulating for years now.

A few more random thoughts:

  • New Brunswick is the only “officially bilingual” province in Canada. Greater Moncton (and particularly) Dieppe was the only place I visited where it really seemed to “take.”
  • There are a lot of a highways that seem to have much more capacity than the traffic requires.
  • I found Halifax the most interesting place of all, probably because it’s the biggest city in the region and had some of the only decent bookstores I found.
  • Halifax also has one of the oddest street numbering systems I’ve ever encountered anywhere.
  • I’d like to read a spatial history of Saint John because I really don’t understand how it developed the way it did.
  • A&W’s “beyond meat” burger? Meh.

Atlantic Canada adventure, part 1

It’s very odd for me to be wearing shorts in Canada.

I’m usually here in October, and it’s usually a bit chilly for shorts. I had fantasized that the Maritimes would be chilly even in July, and it is cooler here than at home, but the daily highs are still much higher than the 25F maximum I was hoping for. Stupid heatwave…

Anyway, quick impressions of the eastern provinces so far:

  • New Brunswick is apparently the one place where St. Hubert and Swiss Chalet peacefully coexist. That may or may not be a metaphor for something.
  • I’m surprised at how small the main municipalities are, particularly Saint John. I realized I’d seen most of it after just a few hours last night. Halifax seems to have a bit more texture and size. I’ll be back there at the end of the week.
  • People here are very nice. Their driving behaviour, alas, does not reflect this fact.
  • I have not yet tried the new A&W plant-based burger. That may happen tomorrow.
  • The combination of being so far north and also being in the western part of the time zone means that it’s disturbingly light outside till well after 9PM.
  • Like everywhere in Canada, the public libraries (and librarians) are great!
  • Also like everywhere in Canada, the residents seems so happy to be here. There’s not that (growing) perpetual, simmering anger that we have in the US.
  • I eat too well when I’m travelling.

More to follow…

 

I’m going to Nova Scotia…

…and you probably aren’t.

I never thought my work would take me to Canada’s ocean playground. Surprises are nice. I’ve already envisioned a scenario where Chris Murphy from Sloan is home in Halifax visiting family, we meet downtown, he decides he likes boys, we fall in love, and I get another chance to immigrate to Canada and go on tour as a band wife.

Since that probably won’t really happen, I’m just going to be excited about hitting three new provinces in a part of Canada I might not otherwise have visited.

America first (alternate interpretation)

As some of you may know, I was awarded Canadian permanent resident status several years ago. My ex and I had applied before we parted ways; he was granted status on points and I was approved as his common-law spouse (marriage not being an option in the US at that point). As Canada actually operates under a sane and rational immigration policy, my status was not affected by the fact that we subsequently ceased to be a couple.

I eventually opted against emigrating. There were several reasons. I had a very good job which I really loved (still have it and still love it) and I was unable to find anything remotely comparable in Canada. I had family commitments here. I also had a firm belief that, no matter how bad things got, America would ultimately end up on the right track. I felt it was important to stay here and be part of the process, and to lead by example–as presumptuous as that may sound. For many of the same reasons, I have stayed in North Carolina as the political climate here has grown increasingly grim in the past few years.

My faith has really been shaken since the election in November. As I’ve watched the horrors that have unfolded over the past few weeks, I’ve questioned by decision not to abandon my country many times. But I don’t regret my decision. I still believe that America will ultimately do the right thing, and I believe this will happen because reasonable people (the majority of Americans) will stay here, will speak up, will resist at what ever level they are able, and will remain visible and vigilant against a paranoid and exclusionary minority led by a very noisy sociopath

We are currently entering one of the darkest periods in American history. If any good can come from this, it will be that reasonable Americans (again, the majority of us) will recognize how important it is to participate in our governance, whether by active protest, by financial support for theguardians of freedom for all, or even just by becoming more actively involved in the electoral process

Not everyone has to march, but everyone has to do something if we’re going to get out of this with our country intact.

Remembrance Day

(Apologies for another recycled social media post.)

I was sitting in a diner in Niagara Falls this morning having a late breakfast. The Remembrance Day ceremonies were playing on the TV, and when they came to the moment of silence, everyone in the restaurant, including the servers stopped in their tracks and silently looked up at the screen. 
It was not obnoxious or jingoistic, just a quiet and reflective display of respect. I found it quite moving. But it also made me worry that my fellow Americans might be losing the knack for such dignified displays, particularly in light of this week’s election.

But yeah, I’m still coming back…