Moving to Vancouver, BC

Posted in Canadian life at 9:39 pm by ducky

My husband and I are aboot to move to Canada, eh?It was very difficult to choose between the computer science programs at Stanford University University of British Columbia. Stanford has more prestige, we wouldn’t have to move, my husband wouldn’t have to quit his job, I’m already in the Stanford system, I know people there, and it would be cheaper. (Really. I’d finish faster, so the opportunity cost would be lower.)

However, UBC had some things going for it, some of which I recap in more detail my UBC trip report. I felt that I would have richer interactions with my fellow students at UBC. A secondary consideration is that we would like to see if we like living in Vancouver. While my student visa requires that I return, and while Jim wants to come back to the US afterwards, I’d like to live in Canada for at least a little while.

We have lots of family on both sides of the family now living in Bellingham, WA, which is about an hour south of Vancouver: my mother, Jim’s mother, Jim’s sister and family, my cousin and family, and two nephews going to Western Washington. That adds up to twelve people in five households.

I also am dismayed by the trajectory that the US is taking.

  • Americans seem to have completely lost the will to actually pay for the services that they demand, resulting in what I consider gross fiscal mismanagement.
  • I am concerned about the erosion of individual liberties that has been instituted by this administration.
  • I am concerned about the culture of fear that is being developed, and I’m becoming convinced that the fear-mongering is deliberate. (There’s an ad that the Department of Homeland Security runs on the Spanish-language radio station that I listen to that features a little boy at bedtime, asking his mother to leave the light on because he’s afraid of terrorist attacks.)
  • While I am certain that the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution will eventually lead to genuine equal protection under the law for my gay and lesbian friends, it’s a slow and frustrating fight in the US. Canada is much farther along.

A minor, tertiary point is that my mother has some health challenges. It was not the deciding factor, however; I’m in adequate denial that I think the aftermath of her surgery will be all over by the time I start classes.

Green College

My husband and I are thus leaving our small, cramped condo in Palo Alto for a spacious independent living facility in Canada. We will be outsourcing our kitchen, dining room, and living room to our dorm complex.Green College is kind of a graduate dorm with some extras (and a few larger rooms for couples).. They take seriously the idea of building community: you have to apply and convince them that you would contribute to the community. They sponsor lectures. They expect people to show up for breakfast and dinner. They intentionally designed the rooms to outsource the kitchen/living areas.

Oh, and it’s got a great location. (The dorm is actually up and to the left from the marker.) We are very much looking forward to the move.

“Is your husband going with you?”

I’ve been surprised at the number of people who have asked if my beloved husband was coming with me, even people who I would have thought would know just how totally, utterly stupid-crazy we are about each other. Yes, he’s coming with me. “What’s he going to do?” He has great plans to master Emperor Level in Civ 3 and learning how to fly at Boundary Bay airport. He might also get enthusiastic and study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Basically, he’s been at the same job for sixteen years, and just wants to goof off a little bit. After how well he’s treated me, I’m happy to assist him in that endeavor.


Mom has cancer, sort of

Posted in Random thoughts, Too Much Information at 9:56 pm by ducky

My mother has cancer. Sort of. On one of the three different oncologists that she visited, the one I escorted her to, was adamant that it was not cancer, it was neoplasty. Whatever.You’ve never heard of it. It’s called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, commonly known as “Jelly Belly” or PMP. (Read about Pseudomyxoma Peritonei at wikipedia — they do a better job than I would at explaining it.) It is very, very rare — only 300 to 1000 cases in the US per year — so frequently mis-diagnosed. It’s so rare that there are only about six doctors who specialize in PMP in the US.

For Mom, it might have been an accident that they found it. She had stabby pains on her left side that her local doctors diagnosed as diverticulitis. As part of that diagnosis, she got a CT scan which showed the mucous. Maybe the stabby pain was a node of mucous bursting, maybe it was diverticulitis, but it is certain that she was fortunate that her local doctors recognized it.

Mom looks fine. Mom feels fine. Being a cancer patient has not become a dominant part of her self-identity, and I actually rather doubt that it ever will, except for perhaps the period while she’s recuperating at home after her surgery later this summer.

I am in denial about it — not in denial that it exists, not in denial that it needs to get treated, not in denial that the surgery recovery is going to be massively uncomfortable, unpleasant, and inconvenient, but in denial that there could be any possible long-term prognosis besides “just fine”.

Denial is a very comfortable place to be, and I plan on staying here as long as possible.