Monday, June 28, 2010

I Take 2 Traffic Circles To Work - And Other Weird Stuff About Canada - Part II

I've been in Canada for about a year and a half now. There are still some things that I am not used to. Granted - I am still not used to this list of Canada's Issues: I Take 2 Traffic Circles To Work - And Other Weird Stuff About Canada - Part I. Well... I've learned how to navigate the traffic circles, milk in a bag still mystifies me, I love our electric fire on days I don't want to turn on the heater, "Zed" is still wrong, soda is still soda, I appreciate leaving the butter out... it's easier to spread that way, the money is still Monopoly money, and the spelling of different words is still wrong. But since that post, Canada has found new ways to stand out.

No Curbside Mailboxes - Unless you live in the country... most mail is delivered either to a box near your door (older homes) or to group mailboxes. I don't know why... but I'm really going to miss having my own mailbox. They also don't pick up from those mailboxes. I told Ian that I would love to have my own and be able to flip up the little flag to show that there is mail to go out. Ian just kind of looked at me weird and shook his head. You have to go to the post office to mail a letter. It makes me nostalgic for my old house. One could make the argument that the US Postal Service is going bankrupt and the Canadian Postal Service is not... so maybe they are doing something right. Whatever, still want my own curbside mailbox.

High School Sports - I realize that I live in a whole different country... but it's Canada... Come on! It's basically the same place. Apparently not when it comes to high school sports or should I say "Secondary School" sports - *eyeroll*. Since the NFL does not recruit here, not a lot of stock is put into high school football teams. It's not to say that they don't have them... but there is no local Friday night football game... no division rivals... NO COLORGUARD =[. It's a little sad for me that my kids won't have that. Being the ignorant American that I am... I just assumed it would be the same up here. It does vary school to school... I've looked up the school our kids will be going to and they have such oddball sports as Rugby, Badminton, and Field Hockey. Yay....... ?

Earthquakes are "fun" here - I just found this little gem out last week. While they happen once every blue moon, everyone seems to think they are just a whole lotta fun! A co-worker of mine actually pressed up against the window looking out while the building was swaying. Meanwhile, I'm standing there paralyzed in fear looking for the nearest doorway to stand in and another co-worker is wondering what we should do since we don't have a bathtub to get into. No, that's tornadoes, but thanks for playing the Survive a Disaster Game. Most people outside of California, Japan, Turkey, *insert other places that have semi-regular earthquakes* probably don't understand the terror that is an earthquake. Let me break this down for you - Crap that shouldn't move is moving. Not cool. If I push on our building it's not going to budge. But all of a sudden I'm standing on the 4th floor and the building is pretending like it's at a prom doing the slow dance... Not cool. Thankfully, if the scientists are right, I won't be experiencing another North of the Border earthquake any time soon. I'm just glad I wasn't at home when it happened. Hello sleepless nights!

The Canadian Mortgage Industry - Applying for a mortgage here in Canada has been a big eye opening experience. It wasn't hard for us exactly... It's proving more challenging only because of my current status in Canada (whole other post entirely). What's been really eye opening is how conservative it is. It is heavily regulated and they don't have 30-year pre-payable fixed loans. This last part was the most shocking thing that I have had to adjust to. In the States, that is what you go after. You want a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. Here, 5 year fixed is more common. There are some 30-year fixed loans but they are not pre-payable or at least not without a bunch of restrictions. From what everyone has told me (everyone being co-workers, family, banks and mortgage brokers) they are rare and not the best possible option you would want for your home mortgage. If you're bored and want something to read... I found this article pretty interesting - Why Canada Avoided a Mortgage Meltdown - Wall Street Journal.

Overall, it's not THAT much different from the US. We're just America's Hat. Love the weather though!

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