Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Visas, Gas, Roundabouts, and Health Care

We got our visas today, or rather, we continued 'the process'. We'll be able to pick up our passports in one week with the visas in them, and then we can get tax cards and start getting paid. We had a 3.5 hour wait at the immigration office, fairly typical. Ting tar tid (things take time), as I'm told. It's a good thing I had my computer with me so the kids could watch movies while we waited. As it stood, we were all hungry, thirsty, and grumpy by the time we got out, but it could have been much worse!

A short visit to work today, then out for some errands to prepare for Maggie's birthday tomorrow. Our phones still aren't working -- they are registered but the online payment isn't functioning. A glitch or overseas credit card problems? I'm not totally frustrated yet, but I'm getting there.

Filled up gas, prices have dropped quite a bit. I paid the equivalent of $6.43 per gallon -- pretty good! If you figure we earn roughly twice what we do in the US (and prices here are roughly twice what we'd pay in the US, so it balances out pretty well), that's just a bit over $3/gallon, quite a bit less than what we paid in Canada.

What joy it is to zip around the ubiquitous roundabouts! Once upon a time they frightened me, how fast and fearlessly people entered them. But now, I'm one of the fast and fearless. Zip! Zip! Zip! No traffic lights necessary.

I think of how in the U.S. every time a roundabout goes up somewhere, the paper is flooded with complaints. They're dangerous. Trucks can't manuever. This isn't freakin' Europe! Why does everyone bad-mouth Europe whenever another country does something better than America?

That's when it hit me: a connection to the current healthcare debate in the U.S. I've been watching the debates with great interest, completely baffled by many people's reactions. It would be terrible to make healthcare available to everyone, wouldn't it? This isn't freakin' Europe!

Anyways, tonight I'm driving with the new principal of ThIS down to the airport to pick up an Australian couple who will be teaching with Pam this year.

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