October 14, 2008

Oh Canada! Oh Sh#t!




We thought we would start this blog to keep our friends and family up to speed on what's happening with our family here in Montreal! As you can imagine, it's an awkward time to be out of the US. We've already learned so much about the US from this side of the border. We of course have access to the same news and we all know how easy it is to keep up to speed via the Internet. 

Today is election day here in Canada -- if I have this correct, they can call an election whenever they want. There's more than two parties -- and of course there's an active Green Party here. We're not at all versed in Canadian politics -- we can barely keep track of the US elections. It is interesting though -- Danielle commented that she felt like the people in Canada almost know more about our politics then most people she knows. 

This post is called Oh Canada! Oh Sh$t! because it's a project in the works. Quebec, where we are, operates differently from the rest of Canada -- as we are finding. We are knee-deep into the Oh Sh$t part while closing on our new home here. There's all sorts of taxes we don't have in the US - like a sales tax on home and car insurance -- that was a real Oh Sh$t moment -- and then there's a Welcome to Canada tax -- basically a sales tax on the purchase of the home. However, as we know there's socialized medicine and lots of other benefits up here so we plan to take advantage of those. First off, we need to get a hold of the Canadian tax information to figure out what is a deduction -- there are a lot of them we hear.

As I write this post, Paul is waiting for the bank to open at 10 am in order to get what we need for our closing tomorrow. They truly have banker's hours here and people really do close down for lunch. We're finding ourselves saying "patience is a virtue" quite often. We realize now how immediate everything is in the US -- which can sometimes be good if you need it to be -- but things are a lot more rushed. It's not like that here -- so it will take some adjustment, but it's not a bad thing. We have yet to find a drive through bank -- you really do go in and talk to someone to deposit a check. When is the last time you went inside a bank to make a deposit or get cash? They do have ATMs, just not drive thru.

Danielle is picking up French in school by default since a couple of her classes are all in French. Louis is picking up words here and there and seems open to learning the language. Paul's high school French is coming in handy and he has to pick it up quickly at work. Kish's Spanish is not helping much -- it's an Oh Sh$t work in progress as well.

Paul and Louis attended the CFL game in Montreal on Monday -- Kish and Danielle spent some time driving around downtown and figuring out the places we want to re-visit. We were entertained in one neighborhood by a guy walking out of a coffee shop, in his bathrobe and flip flops and proceeding down the street with his coffee in one hand and dog on a leash in another -- fortunately his bathrobe was tied shut.

Speaking of dogs....there's been another dog delay for Duke. He should be arriving on Wednesday. Our friends the Brays have been watching him and Cheryl had an Oh Sh$t moment at Northwest cargo very early this morning. We think Duke may need therapy now -- he's been back and forth to the airport twice and has no idea what's going on. He has helped locate all the missing balls from the Bray house though.

The events of the last week provide us for enough material for a sit com. We've realized it's easier to get a family of four across the border then a car or dog.

1 comment:

Kurt said...

Hello Pisanis-
Greetings from the Kortes. Glad to hear everything is going well!!??
Fun to hear the various cultural treasures you are finding (the bank situation reminds me of the various issues we dealt with in Germany also- frustrating at the time but always brings a smile 10 years removed. I hope we get a chance to see you all over the holidays- I will visit your site often to hear updates.

Kurt

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