Are we moving back to the US?

Posted in Canadian life, Family, Politics at 1:45 pm by ducky

Several people have asked me, “So are you and Jim moving back to California now?”

The answer is “No, not yet.  Maybe never.”

I had six reasons to move to Canada:

  1. I was devastated that my fellow Americans could elect G.W. Bush for a second term.  That said to me that my fellow Americans and I were not at all on the same page, and that maybe I didn’t belong in the US.
  2. I was upset at how my government shredded civil liberties for both citizens (e.g., illegal wiretapping) and non-citizens (e.g., torture and abuse).
  3. I was unnerved by an almost willful neglect/disinterest in some major, fundamental structural problems in the US and Californian economies.  In particular, the US has been, as Lloyd Bentsen famously put it in a 1988 VP debate, been “writing hot checks” for a very long time: spending a lot but not paying enough in taxes to support those costs.
  4. UBC was more nurturing than Stanford, my other choice for grad school.
  5. We have lots of relatives close to Vancouver, just across the border in Bellingham.
  6. Canada’s health system is not tied to employment.  It is highly likely that we will, at some point, earning money but not be employed.  Living in Canada, that’s not a problem.  (Like right now.  I’m looking for work and Jim is consulting.)  Living in the US, that might be a problem.

The fact that my compatriots turned out in such droves for Obama lessens the feeling that I am out of step with the rest of America.  I was shocked and appalled by the divisive tactics used by the McCain/Palin campaign, but enormously heartened at the number of Republicans who have publicly voiced being likewise shocked and appalled.  So Obama’s election knocks off #1 pretty well.

I have finished my graduate degree, so #4 is off the list.

Our families are still in Bellingham.  We could move to Seattle and be slightly closer to our families, but California would be quite a bit farther away.  So #5 favours Vancouver or Seattle, but still disfavours California.

I think Obama will probably make #2 better.  Issuing an executive order banning torture at one minute past noon on Jan 20, 2009 would be a good start, but to see how he does on #2, I’ll have to see him govern.

Likewise, on #3,  I won’t know if he will make things better until I see him govern.  However, it’s not likely that he will be able to avoid “hot checks” in his term because of the horrible horrible financial problems.  He also can’t do much about California’s problems due to Prop 13.

There are more factors to consider now.

Ducky Watching Election Returns

Ducky Watching Election Returns

  1. I like many things about Canada and Vancouver.
    • I have friends here.  (It was really nice to watch the election last night surrounded by a bunch of friends!)
    • It is really cool to live in the heart of downtown.  We are able to walk to everything (so much so that we only use our car about twice per month).
    • I like, in theory, that there is skiing so close.  We have season passes this year to a mountain that we can see from our apartment.  It takes about 30 minutes to drive there.
    • By and large, Canadian government services have far better customer service than in California.  It takes me about twenty minutes to renew my Social Insurance Number (like a Social Security Number in the US).  It took me about fifteen minutes to move my driver’s license to BC.
  2. It is not a perfect fit.
    • In particular, I still have ambitions to change the world, while I think Vancouver puts more value on having fun.  I’m trying to get the “fun” attitude, but it’s swimming upstream for me.  (Hopefully the ski passes this winter will help!)  Silicon Valley is all about changing the world, and so that is a huge magnet attracting me south.
    • I don’t like maple syrup, I have never played hockey, and I thought Anne of Green Gables was a boring book.  I did not spend many years steeped in the Canadian cultural stew, absorbing the Canadian value system, shared experiences, and etiquette.  I will never be fully Canadian. (At the same time, the longer I stay in Canada, the less time I spend in the American cultural stew; the less American I become.)
  3. Somewhat to my surprise, I discovered that I still love my country.
  4. I am growing to love Canada.
  5. I haven’t found a job yet.

So.  Will I return to the ever return to the US?  To California?  I’m not sure.

1 Comment

  1. ducky said,

    November 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    I was mentioned in a story in The Province.