Waiting on the Border

Ants in my pants. Pins and needles. Spilkes.   Whatever you want to call it, in English, Yiddish, or some other language altogether, I’ve got it bad.

I told myself not to obsess about the election today, but I have already turned the TV on once, knowing full well everybody would just be yammering away to fill empty air before any results are known.  At least I managed to make myself turn it off. But it is going to be a tough stretch of hours ahead.

It’s rather fitting, I think, that I am spending the day in Halifax, Nova Scotia,  and  sometime tonight the ship will cross the border between Canada and the United States.  Tomorrow I will be in Portland, Maine.  Whatever happens with the election,  I will be deposited back in the United States tomorrow to participate somehow in the consequences of today.

On this cruise, I have used the days in Canada to think through the prospects of living here. It isn’t idle fantasy.  I could do it as a Canadian citizen and that’s a big deal. But other than that I now have a Canadian passport that could prove handy in some parts of the world, it seems pretty clear  there is little point to citizenship unless I actually live in Canada.

I would have to establish residency in one of the provinces, and then stay put for six months,  to become eligible for Canadian health care, which is one of my main worries in my own country. After that initial residency, one  maintains health care coverage by actual physical residency in Canada half the year from then on.  It varies a little by province, and I haven’t actually asked any government authorities how they would handle the fact that my work as a cruise lecturer often  takes me away for longer than that.  Only Quebec Province, that I can see so far, doesn’t count absences of 21 days or less against the residency requirement.  Quebec, therefore would seem to be the answer to the question of where to live, but their winters are harsh, harsh, harsh, and I am a wimp from Southern  California.

The upshot is that I would have to be all in if I moved, because I would really be leaving the US behind. Since my country has become unrecognizable to me, and not in a good way,  I don’t think that would be terribly hard.   In some respects I would mind that less than leaving San Diego, since it is an awfully nice place to live and my roots are there.

I wonder if I would find myself taken  in by people in Canada if I left my network of friends  and started again alone in a new country.  When I interact with people I ask myself if it would be pleasant to have this person or that person in my neighborhood, and the answer has always been yes.  Nothing has been off-putting at all, and I have even gotten some tips about places with shorter and less horrendous  winters.

So here I sit, poised in Canada, on the verge of entering the US, wondering which one will feel like they foreign country in a day or two.  My most fervent wish is to get my country back.  I can only hope that starts to happen today. Then, all this wondering will be for nothing.