January 20, 2010

minor setback

Well, good morning.

What's odd is that nothing important was missing. Maybe some change. Which, in a way, is more frustrating because, COME ON PUNKS, did you really need to smash a whole window for $2.73 in coins? REALLY??!!?? say Seth and Amy! Get a flashlight and do a sweep before breaking glass all willy nilly. That's what that one dude did a few years ago, while I was sitting in my Jeep, in the driveway, at 11pm. And he ran away, with no confrontations, so no hard feelings here.

Seriously though, this doesn't make me want to throw all my stuff in the trunk of our (now well-ventilated) car and bolt in the night. These things happen in poorly-lit alleys of urban neighborhoods. The last time this happened to a vehicle of mine, the hoodlum at least had some class- he or she broke the smallest window. (Although, he/she also stole my stereo so the whole deal was on a much more professional level.) But it happened in Grand Rapids, and I still have much love for Grand Rapids. It didn't ruin the neighborhood or the city for me. And Hamilton's not ruined for me now. I may clench my teeth a little harder now when I'm laying in bed panicking about money (or, more accurately, the speedy disappearing act it's performing on our wallets), but it's going to take more than that to get rid of me.

January 13, 2010


lunch: curry fried rice with pineapple and red bell pepper. Not quite the same as takeout from Moon Thai Express, but good nevertheless. I'd make it again. Also, I've determined that my life would just be empty without garlic and curry in it.first project: finishing up the curtains for all our well windows.

midafternoon cuppa: Raspberry chai from Kataluma Chai Co., a gift from Bryan's lovely aunt in Denver. Yuuummmmmmm.

second project: hanging a heavy mirror on the kitchen/dining wall. Pictured: a stud finding studs without a stud finder... ha.

We are not much help.

January 11, 2010

to and fro

(DISCLAIMER: I have never worked nor do I know anyone who works at a border crossing for any country, but it is certainly an important job with a myriad of details I'm not aware of. So, this post is not intended as any sort of criticism- just observations of the hoops everyone has to jump through, no matter what direction we're traveling.)

In the course of our trips across the border over and over and OVER (AND OVER for Bryan), it's funny what small details stick out. Bryan was chosen for random searches twice on the U.S. side, and U.S. border patrol (at least in our case) has consistently been no-nonsense, curt, and a bit baffled by Bryan's choice to study in Canada as opposed to at home. Crossing into Canada, generally the feel is a degree less tense and we've even been wished "good luck" in the moving process. I'm not trying to generalize, but the relatively friendly (and probably gentle in terms of immigration to any country) interactions on the Canadian end have been a serious blessing.

All that said, when you move in multiple small trips like we did, it makes the border crossing a pain in the ass. We had different guards/staff/whatever every time, re-re-explained ourselves, showed our lists of belongings that already came, were coming, or lingered somewhere in between. I kept getting the feeling that they didn't quite know what to do with us, or how to categorize us. But eventually after an assortment of paperwork and stamps and signatures, we had a rough idea of how to proceed by the end of our second trip.

The third trip is where the mini-moment of grace comes in. I was picturing every possible scenario in which we screwed up, since we were leaving a whole lot of stuff behind and we had our dog and booze with us. I was picturing Toby locked up in some concrete quarantined area, huge brown eyes leaking innocent dumb tears at me, when we rolled past the border and were directed to immigration. It was a busy time so we knew we'd be in line for a while to pantomime Act III of Temporary Resident Quest: The Team Dyer Story.

And then, glory be! We hand our slip to the uniformed guy. He tells us to take it inside. While we ask if it's okay if we leave our fully immunized and socially delightful dog in the car, another uniformed guy walks up and asks, "You guys are working here, right?" Bryan says he's studying, but yes, we're moving- and lo and behold, this particular guard was our audience for Act II. And he remembers us! How amazing is that? Our friendly ally waves us on, and we never even set foot outside the car. (And good lord I hope this story does not get him or anyone he works with in any sort of trouble. Because I know that none of my dear readers are politically powerful or SNITCHES or anything.)

I know that, of all the cross-cultural and international moves to make, the one from America to Canada is the absolute easiest and least disruptive. I am so, so aware of this. But still, this moment of connection and kindness was quick but hugely encouraging. Warmed my heart, that did.

January 9, 2010

call me convicted

My sweetheart of a mother-in-law just ordered this book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Don Miller, but once it arrived she decided she wouldn't have time to read it anytime soon and offered the first go-round to me. Which I accepted, because I a) am poor, b) am a fan of Don Miller and c) found myself in need of something decent but not too dense of a read, if you know what I'm saying. But not quite so light as one of my many "Trashy Romance Novellas" as my brother-in-law labeled every. one. of my nine boxes of books.

This was great. You should all go read it right now. The idea of our lives as stories with plots, driven characters, goals, and memorable moments totally appealed to the book nerd in me (i.e. pretty much 87% of me), but it's not just for the book nerds in the room.

There's a lot of talk of movies, and love and family and purpose and adventure, plus whoa is it convicting. In a way, everything he points out is so apparent and so new at the same time. It's a beautiful, epic way to look at life, in my humble opinion.

In other news, this is our last night in Michigan. Tomorrow the three of us transition to our lives as Temporary Residents of the Grand Nation of Canada. Here we gooooooo....

January 1, 2010

Am I glad to see YOU, 2010.

This particular New Years' is all kinds of symbolic. Never has the start of a new year meant so much change for me, right down to the first week. 2009 was a long, uncertain, draining time, and a total jerkface. But, 2010 involves a new haircut, a new program of study for Bryan (although this started last semester, technically), a new home, a new job (please, God, please!), and a new country, for crying out loud. Can't get much more fresh than that.

Not to say that this year doesn't already hold plenty of uncertainties, because it does. But even those are getting changed out for different and unexpected ones, so I'm not going to get picky now. Beggars can't be choosers, as they say. Things will be a little dicey until we have some actual income flowing that isn't borrowed from various institutions. And although we've only been here two nights, I have a feeling that steeper grocery prices is only the beginning of a whole new version of cutting back- something tricky for people who are already as frugal as we are. Let's hope Canadians do coupons!

We have to do our moving in rounds and shifts, so I won't truly feel settled until clothes are hung and books are on shelves and my dog is sniffing the whole place down. But moving on, we are. And it's a very good thing.