O Canada, I Hardly Knew Ye

May 13th, 2010

Sarah and I are moving back to Seattle.  Sarah has followed a great opportunity in Seattle, and is now working for the EPA Library.  We’re heading back to the Emerald City in just 4 short days.  This brief post is addressed to Canada:

Canada, I’ll miss you.  Staid competence never looked so good.  While our stars-and-stripes flailed under the weight of subprime loans, your maple-leafed self  hummed along with a conservative competence the rest of the world can only envy.  Your unemployment rate is far lower, and your debt burden lighter, than us lowly Americans.  You may complain about Stephen Harper and the parliamentary eccentricities involved in that wonderful verb “proroguing”, but really you don’t know just how good you have it.  You legalized gay marriage with a shrug in 2005, while our cultural obstinance on the issue is as embedded as ever.  Your single-payer healthcare system treated me efficiently and thoroughly, and I greatly appreciated its administrative simplicity.  You are the size of America with the population of California, and the resulting breathing room is magical.

Vancouver, I’ll miss you too.  Your transit is frequent, fast, and intuitive.  Your neighborhoods, though sometimes disgustingly dripping with money, are simply amazing urban spaces.  You pull off the trick of density without making anyone feel crowded. Your diversity is both incredible and illusory:  While polyglot tongues are heard everywhere, it seems like no one is actually FROM here.  Vancouver is a place you move once you’ve already made it.  Someday maybe I’ll make it back.

I wish you’d look more kindly on us humble foreigners.  With nationality preference laws (the “labour market opinion”), you make it incredibly hard for us to find satisfying careers.  Thus I’ll walk back across the 49th parallel feeling a bit like an outsider.

Overall, Canada, thanks for a short but incredibly pleasant 4 months.  Compared to the chaotic dynamism, diversity, and dysfunctionality of my beloved USA, you’re honestly kind of boring.  But I’ve got to tell you, you’re better where it counts.

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  1. Julie
    May 13th, 2010 at 10:25
    Quote | #1

    Wow! Good luck with the changes and the move. I love how much you love Canada (and the US, too), and it’s been great seeing Vancouver through your eyes.

  2. Jhenifer @ TransLink
    May 18th, 2010 at 09:09
    Quote | #2

    Zach, we hardly knew ye either! I quite enjoyed your Vancouver/Seattle planning & transportation comparisons and was definitely looking forward to hearing more. But oh well—life always has other plans, doesn’t it? Best of luck with the move!

  3. Zach
    May 18th, 2010 at 09:26
    Quote | #3

    Thanks Jennifer! I will miss Vancouver greatly, though we may be back in a year or two. In the meantime, if TransLink needs any staffers… =)

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