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Where it's at - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
tania
tania
Where it's at
Joey and I just had lunch together, as he finished work early today. We sat with our backs to a building, facing the train line, watching birds and sharing hot chips. It was good. :)

Just got an SMS from him - his bus home took him past Alkira, as always, but today there's something new there. Not only has there been a fence erected around the compound over the past couple of weeks, now there's a construction company banner too. I haven't uploaded my Alkira photos yet, but I'd like to do so before the weekend... I don't think Alkira will be around too much longer.

Tomorrow afternoon we're taking headshot photos for our friend Sarah Grey, who is going for an extras role in a Nicholas Cage movie shooting downunder. We're going to use the unfinished study for the shoot. It's surprising how useful an empty, white-walled room can be!

There's still no roof on the cat run, primarily because what I can do with a pencil is negatively balanced by what I can do with a staple gun. Having never gone through renovations before (as opposed to Joe, who never wants to go through them again), my ineptitude in this area is (mortifying) news to me. On the up-side, the cats don't seem capable of climbing the walls, though this could simply be because it hasn't occurred to them yet. We're letting them out into the run unsupervised a couple of times a day now, for ten minute to half an hour at a time. No escapees yet! I've been thinking it might be more practical, rather than roofing off the run, to just put a little inwards-pointing 'lip' (maybe corrugated iron or something like that) so that if they somehow do manage to reach the top, they can't get over the edge. I think some modern wildlife fences use this method.

My currently-developing long-term plans are shifting yet again. 'Til now the tentative idea has been to live with Richard for the next couple of years (if he can put up with us that long!), save like whoa, then buy a property somewhere and work on paying it off. There have been variations on that theme, like living with Richard longer and buying an investment flat instead, and letting the rent pay it off, blah blah, but a concern Joe and I both had was this: Where to buy?

Most Australian cities are very expensive now. They're also pretty alike. Joe doesn't want to settle permenantly in Brisbane and rightly enough, it's his hometown - if I'd stayed in mine (Caloundra) I'd probably be sick of it too. I don't particularly care for Melbourne and we both dislike Sydney. Hobart is supposed to be pretty, but provincial; the other major cities are basically big country towns.

So we thought about moving further afield, to another English-speaking country so that we wouldn't be at a disadvantage looking for jobs.

The US was out for a start - no offence, guys, but the pay is horrendous, I deeply dislike the rooted-in-religion politics and I don't want my kids running around in a place where there's such a high rate of violent crime. England was another possibility but the cold weather and cost of living put us off.

I know I've mentioned this briefly here before, but we've seriously been considering - and this is way, WAY off in the future - the possibility of Canada.

I've gotten along famously with every Canadian I've met, and apparently they're partial to Aussies over there in return. The fact that my coworker Johnny announced the other day that he was picking up and moving to Canada has been useful, because he's been able to pass on a lot of practical info - for example, how ridiculously easy it is to get a working visa.

I quite like cold weather (though I happily admit I've never encountered REAL cold, and reserve the right to change my tune at a later date) and researching it together, Joe and I have even miraculously been able to find areas that we BOTH like the sound of. The big cities like Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal are out because they're just as expensive as Brisbane, which defeats the purpose a little. Right now we're both keen on Nova Scotia, and houses in the area (and even in the major city there, Halifax) are far more affordable than those in Brisbane - basically half the price for what you get. Conversely, the Canadian dollar is worth slightly more than the Australian dollar, and wages are comparable, though perhaps a little less than I'm used to. All of this will require careful research and planning. Luckily we've got years...

Downsides:
- Lots of expense to heat the place in winter.
- Temperatures so low that my mum's Canadian boyfriend almost made the sign of the devil when he talked about it.
- Houses have basements for reals. Creepy!
- Difficulty and expense in visiting relatives
- Probable inability to take the cats with us?
- Legal difficulties in buying property without citizenship?

Upsides:
- Affordability of property
- Architectural style that is just so damn cute (except for... basements. *shudder*)
- Comparable wage levels
- Everybody will totes love our accents and whatnot.
- Healthy arts industry (with many animation studios, I hear)
- Reasonable cost of living
- Canada's society isn't batshit crazy, as a whole
- It's an adventure!

There's been talk of tengukun and little Rowan accompanying us. :)
24 have fought ~ fight the power!
Comments
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: July 10th, 2008 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I had no idea you were thinking of relocating THAT far. o.o
tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
If you're gonna do something, go whole hog, that's what I reckon. ;)
(Deleted comment)
tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Seriously?? That's fantastic! I'm not sure I'd bring all three - I'm debating whether it's kinder for them to be uprooted and stay with me, or lose me but stay with the kind of climate/lifestyle they're accustomed to. Also, I would need to decide if it was practical to take all three, or just one (if I weren't to take them all I'd have to leave a pair behind, because I would want them to remain with another familiar cat.)

Lots of food for thought there - thanks for the help. :)
master_haakon From: master_haakon Date: July 10th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Coming back the other way with cats, expect fun expensive times with quarantine though.....
From: niqaeli Date: July 10th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
...basements are creepy? *blinks* How so?

Where I grew up (the foothills of Appalachian mountains), they were very commonplace. Great for keeping the temperature pretty constant without resorting to, you know, artificial climate control. Where I live now, not so much, just because they're very expensive to build. There's a layer of rock that you have to blast through to build a basement or a pool.
tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
We don't have basements in personal dwellings in Australia - ever. The whole country is solid rock. So my sole experience with basements is via horror films, where the lightbulb always blows shortly before something horrible happens. ;)
samantha3383 From: samantha3383 Date: July 10th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
If you need a Cannuk to talk, my best friend is from Canada and has been her entire life. She could give ya some more info, from RL experience, if you need it.
tengukun From: tengukun Date: July 10th, 2008 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww, I love basements. They're only creepy when they're used for storage. When used as, say, a den, or even living space, they're quite cozy and conveniently maintain a relatively constant temperature year round. :) I lay stakes on the basement!

Oh, and Canada does have guns. Lots of them. Probably more per household than the U.S., actually. >_>;; For reasons that I'd care not debate right at this particular time, there's just a lot less shootings.

I've moved overseas with animals before, and they did just fine - but then, they were dogs. I understand cats aren't as adaptable to moving as dogs are, especially to entirely different climates. But I've never actually owned a cat... lived with plenty, but never actually had one as my own, so I don't know enough to say in that matter. What I do know is dogs love the cold, whereas most cats I've known will lay on a furnace in the dead of summer. You know your animals best. If you think they can handle the stress of the move, and the change in environment, then it's worth making the arrangements. If you think they'll be miserable and traumatized, then there's that to consider, too. :/
tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm concerned because Nami and Sawyer have both been a bit fussy since our recent move to Kenmore - they cry at our door for attention at night. I think this is partially because it's winter and cold right now (nowhere near as cold as Canada would be though!)

Right you are re: guns and Canada, I'd completely forgotten that. Yet it's something about the people - the ones I've met anyway - they seem more apt to crack out a beer than a rifle. *g*

Oh my god, YOU'LL be our basement monster! :D I'm honestly comforted; we'll leave you down there with a poker, you can fight the evil spirits off while maintaining a comfortable temperature, everyone's happy!
uniformgrey From: uniformgrey Date: July 10th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
You'll be in for a real ride if you ever make it to Nova Scotia - you'll have to get used to digging out your house LITERALLY in the winter.

And there are animation studios, more studios that do work for television etc along with gaming companies - its a matter of doing a good amount of research on them and determining what level of skill you have as to what is out there.

Also don't fool yourself on our housing market over here - its not all peaches and cream.
tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pretty much the cheapest detached houses you can get in Brisbane at the moment within an hour's-drive radius of the City are around $350,000. These are pretty much shitboxes too. I've seen $400,000 houses advertised as "Great First Home!" For who?? Richie Rich? ;P

The fact that I can find houses on real estate websites for NS that are under $200,000 is miraculous, and it's something that never happens in Brisbane anymore. Ever. Not even studio apartments are that cheap anymore.

Heehee, if I make it over there I am going to be a king wuss about the cold. ;P Good to know that it's promising for job ops, anyway. What'd be really handy is if I could find a website tailored towards Art/Design jobs in Canada but as I'm not familiar with Canada's "web territory" I can't get around as smoothly as I can in google.com.au, where I know All The Best Real Estate Sites, All The Best Job Sites, etc etc.
martes From: martes Date: July 10th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
To defend my homeland-- how dangerous it is (re. guns) depends very much on where you live. I've lived here my whole life and the only guns I've ever seen were ones owned by friends or at a firing range, nor have I been a victim of a violent crime. Just talk to a local and they can tell you the better areas to live. If you were to settle in LA, for example, I'd say to steer clear of Hollywood or South-Central, but the far bedroom communties like Thousand Oaks, Santa Clarita and Simi Valley are perfectly fine (if you don't mind driving, of course.)

As for the religious nuts-- just ignore them. Most of us do.

tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
If the rest of the country ignored them too, I'd be comforted, but it frightens me that they appear to have so much power over there. That your 'left wing' candidate at the moment seems to need to insist, every five minutes, "I really am SUPER-Christian! I loooooove America! Look at me kissing my flag badge!" I really like the guy and it makes me wince to see him singing and dancing like that. Religion (and whether or not you wear a damn flag pin) should be non-issues in politics. Teaching Creationism "Intelligent Design" in schools shouldn't even be up for debate; anyone who has actually read the available research knows how ridiculous that is.

I'd feel a lot more comfortable living in a primarily secular country. A lot less stuff for me to get mad over. ;P
c_eagle From: c_eagle Date: July 10th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow! So you might be relocating closer ah?
oh!...and just wondering, from your perspective, what's batshit-crazy about Oz that ain't in Canada? :D

Edited at 2008-07-10 04:55 pm (UTC)
tania From: tania Date: July 10th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Oz isn't batshit-crazy at all - we're interested in Canada mostly because socially it's meant to be very similar to Australia. We're not fleeing the country, it's just that if we do move away from Brisbane, there's nowhere else in Australia that really grabs us both, so we'd like to consider moving someplace distant and new. :)
c_eagle From: c_eagle Date: July 11th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
No doubt this gets a thumbs-up vote from all us North American Continental friends! 8>
ge_mig_du From: ge_mig_du Date: July 10th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
SCHAWEEEET. I've just started saving to move to canada in about 2 years. nice to know I might get some family action over there! :D
tania From: tania Date: July 11th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Yaaay! Our friend hammond is probably going to move over there in about 2 years also! And that's probably the window we're looking at ourselves. Pretty awesome! Did you have any particular part of Canada in mind?
ge_mig_du From: ge_mig_du Date: July 11th, 2008 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Probably the Toronto area because that's where Erin is from (I'm sure Joe has told you about her?) I'll probably end up moving all over as per usual me!
ruggels From: ruggels Date: July 11th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Two Items.

The Crime Rate has been ridiculopusly over reported. it's asctualy a lot less violent than England for two reasons No public drunkenness, and no culture of public fighting, There is Viiolent crime but it is concentrated mostly in inner city, lo income areas and are concentrated mostly within the Minority Communities. I can provide figures of you would want. In general the media prioritizes violence, because it gets the most ratings, as they need eyeballs ro justify advertizement rates.

The "Religion in Politics" is regional. Stay to the coasts and you will have all the :eftist politics your heart desires incluiding high tax rates, street demonstrations and the occasional Labor action. In most cases the government is not that much in your way.In fact It could be considered an indifferent government.

However the biggest Item that I think would steer you away from the U.S. is that, you have to pay for you own health insurance. while the doctors are very good and the treatment cutting edge, they will charge a mint. Well they will charge a mint for anything.See "indifferent" above. The coubry was founded because of a dispute about high taxation rates and anyone seeing as advocating for higher taxes is view2ed unkindly.

So.. Yeah Canada. However I do enjoy my freedoms here.

Scott
tania From: tania Date: July 11th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
All very good points - and you're right, I didn't even consider the healthcare thing. That makes a big difference to me, I'm a supporter of socialised healthcare (I confess that's probably only because it's what I've grown up with, though; I've seen it working firsthand but I don't doubt that there are countries and situations it wouldn't work for.)

Another plus about Canada - I can visit (by CAR, I love long-distance road trips) the US, Mexico and, in the other direction, Alaska! As someone who lives in an island country I find this idea massively exciting!

By the way, I love that headshot of you - did you take that yourself or did you get it done by a photographer?
ruggels From: ruggels Date: July 15th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Pro photographer fgriend of mine. He's also the Film Director I know, making the Boobs and bullets film. He's a real sweetheart and can make anyone look good.

Scott
ungulata From: ungulata Date: July 12th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Property

I'm a landed immigrant in Canada. I own property. The only difference between landed immigrant status and citizenship is that I can't vote or run for office. Health care, property, driver's license... no difference.
tania From: tania Date: July 13th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Property

That's really good to know - thanks for the info. :)
24 have fought ~ fight the power!