I’ve had 19 different mailing addresses in my life in four provinces and two states.
Six years ago this week my wife and I moved into our house in the suburbs of Atlanta which officially makes this the longest I’ve lived at one address in my life. Either I’m putting down roots here or it’s time to move again. the former sounds better than the latter.
Back in July I mentioned that as a Canadian living in the United States I would be helping out with he Globe and Mail’s US election coverage. Here are the two pieces to which I’ve contributed so far:
- Why I think Americans love college sports so much (I could have easily written several hundred more words on the subject, and I’m sure I overlooked several factors).
I’m not a policy wonk, and many of the topics the contributors are asked about are policy-oriented so I haven’t added much to the discussions, but as someone who is more or less an undecided voter, it’s been an interesting project to participate in.
From now until the American federal election in November the Globe and Mail (a national Canadian newspaper) is conducting a bit of an experiment. They’ve asked close to 50 Canadians living in the United States to contribute to an online community, sharing their thoughts on what is going on in the election in their parts of the country in order to help Canadians better understand the process and issues.
I am one of those 50 or so Canadians participating and so far it’s been a very interesting and thought-provoking experience (we’ve been discussing issues online in a Google Group for a few weeks even though the project just went live today).
And yes, I appreciate the irony of contributing to a newspaper website owned by the guy (David Thomson) who bought and moved the Thrashers. I don’t hold any have any hard feelings against him though- he just took advantage of a good business opportunity.
After six and a half years of living in Georgia (plus another two spent in North Carolina for grad school) I finally became a United States citizen today, along with 160 other immigrants from 63 countries who were part of the same ceremony in Atlanta.
I grew up in a part of Canada where people are generally suspicious of Americans and I don’t expect everyone to understand why I decided to apply for citizenship. I also have some Canadian friends who have lived in the US for longer than I have who haven’t applied and may not ever. I can understand that choice, but I thought I’d explain my decision here. I wanted to become an american citizen because:
- In all likelihood I’ll live in this country the rest of my life. It’s been good to me, giving me a wife, a son and another baby on the way, a career that I love, and a place to call home. I have been blessed while living in this country and it seems plain rude not want to be a citizen of it.
- I’ll always be from PEI, but I lived in roughly 20 different houses, dorms, and apartments in 10 different cities and towns before moving to Atlanta. We’ve owned our house for just shy of five years, making it the second-longest I’ve lived in any one residence. This is where I’ve put down roots. Atlanta is just as much home to me as PEI is.
- My son has dual citizenship by virtue of being born in the US and having a Canadian father and his sibling will also be a dual citizen. At some point they’ll be old enough to understand citizenship and I don’t know what I’d tell them if they asked why I never wanted to be an American like them. I simply wouldn’t have an answer.
- The right to vote is extremely important to me. Knowing I’m here for the long haul I want to play a role in determining who governs this country, this state, and this county.
For the record, the United States government does not recognize dual citizenship but the Canadian government does. In the eyes of the American government I’m only a US citizen but in the eyes of the Canadian government I’m both Canadian and American.
The ceremony itself was well done and included some remarks from a government official, a few short videos, a message from the president, the oath, the pledge of allegiance, recognition of the 63 countries represented by the new citizens, and it all capped off with this a video set to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA.
There was also an applicant wearing bright red pants, a bright blue blazer, white shirt, and white hat with a stars and stripes ribbon on it. Today was clearly a big deal for her, as it should have been.
It turns out this thing still work. It's been just short of a year since I've updated it. but I figured it was time to dust it off on this special day.
It was four years ago today that I successfully moved to Georgia from Ottawa (after a failed attempt on Sept. 17, 2005, but that's another story).
In the last four years I have:
- Landed my dream job
- Bought my first car
- Gotten engaged
- Gotten married
- Adopted a cat
- Bought a house
- Adopted a dog
- Bought my second car
- Gotten a green card
And now I'm going to be a father… in April.
Yup. It's been a busy and good four years.
Now that I’ve been in the country for almost two years and have had full medical insurance for well over a year I finally got around to actually going to an American doctor for the first time.
The office I went to had one doctor. She has a staff of at least three. There was nobody in the waiting room when I got there and only two people in it when I left (and they might have been together). As a new patient I filled out a few standard forms (that I would have filled out in Canada) and then waited just long enough to read half of a Newsweek article. Then I was escorted into an exam room where I had my temp and blood pressure taken. Five minutes later I met the doctor and 15 minutes after that I was done. I wasn’t rushed and I covered everything I wanted to cover. Total cost on top of my insurance- $25. I happily would have paid that in Ottawa if it meant bypassing the 90 minute wait in a crowded clinic.
I could get to like this whole private health care thing.
Every once in a while I forget how cool my job is. Then I make a business-related phone call and the person on the other end answers the phone with "National Hockey League. This is Angela."
In the past month I have talked to Sidney Crosby, stuck my tape recorder in Wayne Gretzky’s face, been teased by half a dozen NHL players (that’s what happens when they see you on Kiss cam with your wife) and interviewed a general manager. It’s been a good month at work. Three months from now things will be even better.
It’s been cold here lately. Not cold by Atlanta standards- just plain cold. Water has frozen.
Thursday morning it was -8 C with the windchill when I got to the office. It was -5 C in Charlottetown at the time. This morning it was -6 C when Meg walked the dog. I have my lining zipped into my leather coat and it’s been in for a week, which already beats the number of days it was zipped in last winter.
It had been about 15 months. I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’d ever gone in my life. 15 months without seeing the ocean.
That’s a long time for someone that grew up on an island. Growing up every
summer was spent at the beach on PEI and from grade six on I lived on the
Island, up until college. Then every summer was spent back home. Even when I
spent three years in Ottawa I made it home at least once a year.
My last visit to the ocean was Labour Day weekend, 2005 when I
was last home. At least that was it until Sunday when Meg and I stopped by
Ocean Lakes Campground in Myrtle Beach
to visit some family on the way home a wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. It
was a cold, windy, rainy afternoon and the ocean was restless- just the way it
should be the first weekend in December. As much as I love the calm, warm waters of the summer, the ocean isn’t really itself until it has cooled enough to chase everyone out of its waters, kind of like a host that enjoys guests, but never really relaxes until they’re gone.
Overheard in Blue Ridge, Georgia (an elderly lady to a gift shop clerk):
"And you who they’ve got teaching freshman philosophy down there? The same guy I had when I was there back in 1951 and that my boy had almost thirty years ago. He’s still a hard-headed atheist too. That’s the problem with a liberal arts education. They make these young kids go in and take a philosophy class from this atheist and he gets them all turned around. My grandson went in their, took that class and came out so confused we had to go take him to the preist to straighten him out. And our priest used to be a physicist, so he knows a thing or two."