So What's My Story?

After 3 years of being a poor social worker (the work I loved, the pay I didn't), I decided it was time to go back to school and get my Master's! After weighing my options (school far away from home, or school in a different country that is only an 8-hour drive from home) I decided to try my luck in British Columbia, Canada.

For a year I lived in
Surrey, BC while attending Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. However, as the final component of my work toward my Masters degree in Criminology I have moved back to the states to complete an internship at an Independent Living Program for youth leaving the foster care system.

Here is the story of my adventures as a graduate student in a "foreign" country as well as my current work back in the states.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moving "Home"

Well, I'm back in the states and have moved into my new place in Oregon, but I thought I'd give you all a recap of my adventures in moving OUT of Canada... It was definitely not what I was expecting as the things I was anticipating to be troublesome (i.e. crossing the border) were not, and the things I thought would be easy (canceling my cable/Internet) were sooo NOT.

First things first, Jacob picked up the Penske rental truck just south of the border in Bellingham on Saturday afternoon. You cannot pick up a rental truck in Canada and return it somewhere in the U.S. Thankfully I had Jacob to help me with this, otherwise I would have had to take a bus across the border, pick up a truck and then drive it back across the border... ugh.

On Saturday Jacob and I did a little bit of packing and "staging" the apartment for the movers, who were coming bright and early on Sunday morning. We didn't have anyone to help us move out, so we decided to spring for movers rather than try to maneuver all the furniture out of the apartment, down the stairs, and puzzle pack it into the truck ourselves. Then we went out and had a nice dinner to celebrate our last night in Canada.

Sunday morning at 9 AM the movers showed up and got to work. They spoke very minimal English, which made the process somewhat difficult. Jacob and I felt kinda weird just sitting around while they moved everything, so, in order to help, and move the process along a bit (they were taking a little longer than I had financially anticipated) we started moving some of the easier to lift things down stairs for them.

During this time I took a break to return my cable and Internet stuff (modem, cable box, etc.). When I called about 2 weeks ago to schedule the cancellation of my services I was told that the local office in Surrey was open 7 days a week from 9-5. I SPECIFICALLY verified that they were open on Sundays. I was told that they were. Then, just to be clear, on Saturday I signed onto the cable's website and checked the hours again for the Surrey location. And, again, I say Sunday 9-5. So... on Sunday at about 10:30 I drove over there only to find a sign on the window that said "Sundays- CLOSED".

Not sure what to do at this point (as we were driving the truck over the border that night and I would not be available to return the stuff on Monday). I called the company, explained my situation and told them they had better change the listing of open hours on their website. They said they would pass that info along (lol.. yeah, we'll see), and then gave me the address of a UPS store in Burnaby where I could drop off the equipment (Burnaby is about a 30 minute drive from my then-apartment). I was told that this store was open from 12-5.

At about noon I set off for this UPS store. I called before I left to try to get better directions but I got the answering machine message, which said their open hours (and I verified 12-5 on Sundays), and the name of the shopping plaza they were in, but said that they were currently with a customer and to leave a message. As I had received the information I needed from the message, I did not leave one and set out on my way.

Half an hour later I show up at the UPS store and, lo and behold... the store is under renovation and closed!

SOOO not my day at this point. I tried calling the cable/internet company again, but the automated message said that they had an excessively high number of callers (probably other pissed off, misinformed customers) and to leave a message with my name and number and they would call back in the order that messages were left. So, I did. And I waited. And I got lunch. And I waited some more. And then I got really annoyed. And then I got a plan.

I hopped back into my car and drove back to the post office that is across the street from my then-apartment. Post offices are open on Sundays... go figure. I boxed up all the equipment and MAILED it back to the cable/Internet company with a rather long note expressing my disappointment in their services and my ordeal. Cost me about $12 in postage, over two hours of wasted time on moving day, and about 30 miles on the road. They had better damn well accept this! Bah!

So, that was out of my way. The mover's finished at a little after noon and Jacob finished loading the truck with the little things, then we started the cleaning process.

When I moved up to BC we were told that an apartment would be available for us on the 1st of Sept. And then we were told that it wouldn't be ready until the 8th. I made a stink about this as I needed to start classes and needed to have a place to live. So, they allowed to let me stay in a "loner" apartment for that week. I slept on the floor and had my computer and a collection of TV dinners to my name. The place was a sty. I don't even think that the carpets had been vacuumed after the last people moved out. It smelled funny and I was altogether grossed out and scared for our apartment (which, fortunately, was in a bit better condition than that one).

I take this side not to explain why we didn't clean to the best of our abilities. lol Don't get me wrong, we thoroughly cleaned things. The fridge looked fantastic after Jacob was done with it. But, we did NOT pay to have the carpets or mini blinds professionally cleaned as was "required" of us upon move out. Nor did I scrub walls, etc., etc. The place was clean. We left it looking very nice, but I"m going to be quite annoyed if we don't get the security deposit back. Especially since I KNOW that the apartment I stayed in temporarily was rented out that way as I had about an hour to move out of it into my new place before a Russian family was scheduled to move in.

By about 5 o'clock we were officially out of the apartment. I dropped off the keys in the office drop slot and we were on our way. We stopped for a quick DQ dinner and then headed for the border. This is what I was really concerned about. We've had such issues with the border in the past I didn't know what to expect. But they let us right through! They didn't even LOOK inside our truck! I was pretty shocked! By 6:30 we were at the gas station in Blaine, WA ready to REALLY start our drive home after saying our final goodbye to life in Canada.

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