Tag Archives: Moving to Canada

The Big Bad

Today is the first day of a nine-day staycation for me. I have never taken a staycation, but I need one.  I need time to plan my sojourn in Oceania, time to enjoy solstice season while it lasts, and time to take a look at my finances to see if I can afford to move to another country.

More about that in a bit.

I had an epiphany this week.  As you know if you’ve been reading for a while, I have visited many of the world’s ancient sites.  Tikal, Petra, Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Delphi, etc.  I have sometimes come away feeling a comforting sense of connection to all of humanity.  Deep, huh?

More often, I’ve come away thinking, “Whoever built this magnificent site is long dead, and no one knows his name.”  In some cases I may have been able to learn a name if I had dug hard enough or if there was a plaque, but I’d forget it 10 minutes later.

I used to find that sort of sad.  The lesson?  Nothing we do matters in the long run.

But this week I suddenly found it comforting.

In a thousand years, Donald Trump will be a footnote, if not forgotten. Sure, maybe there will be millions of references to him in ancient news articles on servers somewhere, but only students of the classics will be interested.

Maybe he will even become a mythical beast.  Long into the future, a mather (because by then genders will have merged) will be reading a book … no.  Someday, a mather and its child will be immersed in a virtual reality bedtime story thanks to nanoparticle thin films, and little Apple (because old fashioned names will have come back into style by then) will squeal, “Mather, please can we be in the story about the Trump?!”

“Are you sure you won’t get too frightened again?” Mather will ask.

“Yes, I’m sure!”

“Which scenario do you want—The Trump Goes a’Doddering, or Trump and the Seven Dictators, or …”

“The one with the Space Force!” cries Apple.

“The one where we can strap him to a rocket and shoot him to the moon?”
“Yes! Yes! That one!”

“Okay, but remember, dear—it’s just a story. It’s not real.”

If only it weren’t. This regime is causing a lot of human suffering but in the long run, it will be consigned to “the dustbin of history” like others before it.

So in addition to planning a long trip to Australia, I’ve been researching ways to live outside the US.  A book called “Getting Out” has been really helpful.  It was published in 2012 so it’s somewhat dated, but it’s giving me lots of food for thought and helping me narrow down my choices.

I got this in the mail this week.

Europe?  How about America?  And being Jewish eliminates a half dozen of the 60 countries profiled in the book.  Caring about human rights, not being rich, being environmentally conscious, wanting access to health care, being able to get back to Minnesota within 24 hours, etc. all are helping me narrow it down.

I have two routes to acquire long-term visas:

  • Many countries have retirement visas. You don’t necessarily have to be anywhere near retirement age; you have to show that you meet some minimum threshold of income. The idea is, you won’t be taking a job away from a local resident and you’ll be spending money in the country on rent, food, etc.  The cost of living is multiples lower than that in the US.
  • Working remotely. As I did last summer in Britain, I can continue to work and be paid by my US employer if they allow it. Again, I wouldn’t be taking a local job and I’d be spending money locally.  The rules about this are much murkier, maybe because working remotely is still a new concept to rusty bureaucracies.

Frommer’s “easy” guide to Australia is 317 pages long.  I haven’t made much progress except I did start swimming lessons so I can get scuba certified.  Heidi has warned me however, about “stinger season near the reef and crocodile season in the centre.”

At least there won’t be any Trumps.

Donald Cometh, I Goeth

I woke up at 4:30 am this morning when my cousin messaged me to say, “It’s not looking good.”  I had asked him to let me know as soon as the election was called.  I figured I’d feel good and slightly relieved that Hillary was in, then roll over and go back to sleep.  Instead, his message had me wide awake and glued to the BBC for hours.

I won’t get into why I preferred Hillary over Donald.  My political leaning probably won’t come as a shock to you.  I keep thinking about how Minnesota elected as Governor a former “professional” wrestler named Jesse “The Body” Ventura about 10 years ago.  People were sick of lying, do-nothing politicians and he seemed like a refreshing change, representing the Independence Party. It turned out he was thin-skinned, got into fights with the media for doing their jobs, managed to insult every voter group, and accomplished nothing.

I’m still on Malta.  This morning I left the hotel before I knew the final election results but I felt numb and didn’t relish how I would feel once the shock wore off.

My first agenda item was a visit to the immigration office.

There is all sorts of stuff on social media about how we’ll all “just move to Canada.”  I find this rather maddening.  It’s sort of like how most Americans think Downton Abbey is a BBC production when it wasn’t.  We have certain fixed ideas about other countries that just aren’t accurate.

We think Canada is so nice that it would allow in 60 million Americans.  Sixty million depressed, angry Americans!  Canadians are nice, but not that nice.

Here’s the thing: Other countries don’t want foreigners taking their jobs any more than we do.  And you can’t just enter another country and start looking for work; they’ll want to see your work permit.  You may not even be able to cross the border without one.

I moved to the UK in 2005 on a student visa and after it expired I thought I’d just get a “regular” work visa.  I was quickly disappointed to learn that my chances of that were zero because I was applying for, essentially, writing jobs in the country of Shakespeare and Oxford and competing with English citizens and every qualified person from the EU and Commonwealth countries who wanted to move to the UK.

If I had gotten a job with an international company they might have sponsored me, but my career was in the nonprofit sector.  If I was fleeing war, I might have qualified as a refugee but fortunately that’s wasn’t the case.

I checked out moving to Canada about eight years ago and it was the same deal.  Unless you have a PhD in computer science or some other high-skill field, forget it.

The only country I can work in, no problem, is Israel.  That would not be without significant challenges; the politics there would probably drive me just as crazy.  To be honest, my biggest hesitation is that I feel too old to master a new language—one that’s only used in one country.  But it’s an option.

In preparing for this trip, I read that Malta had a “pay your way in” scheme. That is, if you bought a property here and had some amount of money in a Maltese bank account, you could become a citizen and work here.  I was just thinking about it as an adventure or maybe retirement option, but today it seemed more urgent.  Of course my 501K probably lost 5% overnight, so I figured I might have to wait til it rebounded.

So off I went.  I immediately got lost so asked a young man who appeared to be an immigrant if he knew where it was.  He was Ethiopian, and he informed me, “We are afraid of what Donald Trump will do.”  This would be the first of half a dozen times I heard the identical words from non Americans today.

At the Immigration Ministry, the man at the desk informed me, “No more payment scheme.  You want work permit, here are papers.”  Here they are, double sided.  So I’m back to square one.