Making Canada Home

on Monday, January 28, 2008

I have mentioned previously that my husband and I hope to one day make Canada home. Why would we want emigrate from this beautiful country known as Italy to the frozen tundra of Canada? The first reason being the drastic gap between the cost of living and salaries. At the beginning of this year, even the prices have gone up for groceries, utilities etc. Thursday I went to the grocery store, spent 89 euros and basically had nothing to show for it. That was at a small discount store, not at one of the big expensive supermarket.

Did you know that 20 MILLION Italians are underpaid? That would be roughly a majority of th

e workforce, considering the population of Italy is around 60 million. That around 5.1 million households are considered poor or at risk of poverty. Then there's Italy's underground economy, which is estimated to have generated about 549 BILLION euros ($808.5 BILLION USD) in 2007.

The high taxes and receiving almost nothing back in return. Imagine paying at least 20-30%, if not more, in taxes and receive almost nothing. Public schools where the students have to pay for their text books, the streets (at least in our neighborhood) are something to be desired; a totally disorganized health system.

Why not just move back to the United States if you're so unhappy with life in Italy? For one, I am really unsatisfied how things in the States, politically speaking, have gone downhill. I know, they've been going downhill for sometime now. Nowadays it's all about cooperate America, not the PEOPLE that make up the country. The blue-collar that works their backside off every day, pays their taxes and what sort of thanks do they get back in return? A $200k mortgage, monthly credit card payments of at least $200, $350+ car payment a lousy health insurance policy (if they're lucky). All because corporations are looking out for themselves, raping their employees, treating then like robots.

What to we hope to obtain by moving to Canada? A better quality of life, wide open spaces, a more socialistic and open minded government and people. I can deal with cooler temperatures and snow. Remember I'm originally from South Dakota.

What are we doing at the moment to move to Canada? Right now save up (or try to should I say) some money in order to do so. In two weeks I'll be going to the States for two weeks on a business/vacation trip. I hope this will bring in a decent amount of cash to put in the sock drawer aka savings. Our/my savings goal - at least $12,000 Canadian.

Just because we have a strong desire/need/want to move to Canada does not mean that we are putting our lives on hold until moving day actually comes. Life goes on. I may or may not agree with many things here, but I just have to deal with it until moving day comes. We get out of the house on Sundays, weather and pocketbook permitting. We still go out for pizza or Chinese once a week, like we have for almost six years.

With this intention of emigrating to Canada I had to apply for rehabilitation, even if I wanted to visit Canada on a touristic visa. Back in November 1995 I was a bad girl and was arrested for a DWI (driving while intoxicated). That was my first and last time doing such a thing. I learned my lesson. Now I am the designated driver.

With this DWI it made me inadmissible for entry into Canada, even for touristic reasons. I had to send an application and supporting documentation to the Canadian Embassy in Rome proving that I have kept my nose clean since. I had to include my criminal record from the FBI, the state of South Dakota, the records from when I went to court for my DWI also showing that I paid my fine and sentence. I also had to include my criminal records from here in Italy (I have a clean slate here, not even a parking ticket). Once I gathered all of my documents, translated my Italian criminal records (and spent 70 euros to have those notarized by the Canadian consulate in Milan (who is now closed)), I sent everything off to the Canadian Embassy in Rome back in November 2006. The end of May 2007 I had not heard anything so I emailed the Canadian Embassy. I was notified that they had received my application for rehabilitation on May 5th. I know the Italian postal system is something to be desired, but come on! Shortly after that, I received two emails to let me know that they were processing my application. Less than a month later I received a glorious email, "You have been deemed rehabilitated." That really made my day, in addition they never charged me the $200 Canadian fee that is normally required. Maybe cause they figured so much time had passed, I was BARELY over the blood alcohol limit, and I've been a good girl since. Who knows. In the end, I'm considered rehabilitated in the eyes of the Canadian government which is all I was asking for.

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Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being "rehabilitated" lol. I do find some of the laws of Canada to be a little silly sometimes - especially making such a fuss over a DUI.

However, it must be a relief to know that you're now able to at least visit Canada and see if you like what you see here.

Good Luck with the moving situation!

Erik said...

O Canada!

Ann said...

O Canada, oh how I can't remember the rest of the national anthem..... Have time to learn them I guess..... In all honesty as dorky as it sounds, can't wait to actually hear the anthem, while living in Canada.

Troy said...

While Canada seems to always come out on top of "best place to live" statistics, I think that the Canadians just might have a very good media rep.

I've got loads of friends living in Canada, and very few if any work less than 50 to 60 hours a week. These are all professionals and their lives are an accurate reflection of the stereotype, "live to work".

True, their incomes are much higher than the ones that you quote on your posts about Italy, but do they really have the time to enjoy all of this money? 2 weeks a year holiday? A mythological socialized healthcare that ends up costing you $200 a month? A Prime Minister who seems to be the last known supporter of Bush in the world (I think even Berlusconi has distanced himself, no?) Has some interesting posts from the view of an expat Canadian.

It will be interesting to see if you miss life in Italy when you try what passes for Italian food over in Canada.

Arlene said...

Troy, we have come to accept that no place on earth is perfect - it's a painful truth. That said, the question "Why Canada?" begs the answer: the decency of the people and beauty of the land.
I have lived overseas - with the military no less - and the anti-US sentiment has been brewing for a few decades. Living in the UK as a young adult, I witnessed many full blown arguments between US GIs and the locals. There was a lot of arrogance being thrown around regarding who's country was better and "we saved your asses in WW2". In my head, I would respond with "but Europe had already been fighting for four years when the US entered the fray, we should have been able to very simply knock the Germans over and yet it took us another four years to do it and we haven't won a single conflict since." But some things you save for the memoirs, right?
I've traveled to Europe, Mexico, Canada and all over the US and I feel confident saying that Canada - BC in particular is one the greatest places on earth! Of course, it has it's problems - but when you look at it overall and compared to other countries, it's very hard to beat: by the "CIA Factbook", ranks Canada in the top ten for infant mortality and longevity. For cost of living/income ratio, it's very good. By comparison, the US falls into the middle rankings (the second thirty percent) out of 175 countries - far below Canada's rankings.
As far as prime ministers, politicians come and go; think about the other things that make Canada a great place to live.

Troy said...

You are too right when you say that no place on Earth is perfect. I've tried places as diverse as Yemen and Laos and find myself in Spain, happy most of the time.

My only question was that if the long working hours and high cost of living were difficult in Italy, I think that much the same or worse will be found in Canada. As for the cost of living/income ratio, how many hours are needed to make that income?

Canada could be one of the few places on earth that isn't a war zone where current generations live worse than their parents did. People in their 30's and 40's who slave away through 60hour workweeks must dream of their parent's 40 hour week as they watch their social programmes chipped away at little by little till there will be noting left.

Arlene said...

I love Spain too - wonderful, warm people with the right attitude when it comes to work - siesta in the middle of the day!!
Regarding the long hours - our generation worldwide will continue to work long hours and I think our retirement age will be extended to 75 because we are facing a massive worldwide demographic shift. Larger percentages of the population are aging and it's falling on our shoulders to carry the load. Combine that with a currently expanding population (which is expected to even off as people postpone child bearing). Unfortunately, I don't see that trend slowing in our lifetime and we will all be living as you put it "worse than our parents' generation" because of the drag on worldwide resources as our species sucks up everything in sight (and out of sight).
We need to think about the world and the way we live differently than we do now - according to one article I read on an Alaska airlines flight stated that as a species overall, we are consuming more annually than the planet can produce annually - this is why poverty is advancing everywhere and we are seeing species of animals disappear before our eyes. I even read something that suggested by 2025 - 2050, 2/3rds of the world's population will be homeless. We should be brainstorming on how to remedy this situation - sustainably. The days of our parents and grandparents are over - it's our time now, what are we going to do about it?
I know it's hard for us to accept that we might not have the "securities" of our parents/grandparents - I almost feel like it was promised to us - but we must see what is happening overall and be as grateful as we can be that we even have a home. Personally, I think we should be organizing our communities and teaching each other how to take care of each other on a basic level - grow our own food (this is a BIG one), learn how to repair our own homes, try to "get off the grid" as much as possible or at least supplement with alternative energy and water sources, learn to live a little bit closer to your neighbor.
I feel your stress; stress I have carried myself. Let's try to work together on a solution - unfortunately, it's probably a "not-for-profit" endeavor.
Your thoughts on this are welcome.
- Show quoted text -

Erik said...

Yes, people are working crazy American hours in many countries now...trying to keep up with some imaginary standard. Sure, I know people in the states that work 60 hours a week and have no quality of life. I know them in other countries, as well.

50% of the U.S. population makes less than 22k a year. The traps are the same for the poor (excluding the extremely impoverished) and the wealthy.

It all boils down to choices. Do I choose to borrow money so I have a shiny car and the consumeristic people around me go: "Ooooo. He must be better than me." ?

I could choose to buy a house that I don't have enough money for. (That's the standard right?) Commit to 30 years of indentured service so I can say I own something? During that 30 years, I wouldn't own it anyway. Heck, with the loan bailout...Our indentured service is now owned by the state.

The way to riches is not through debt.

Often, I see little difference between executive professionals executive servants. The only real difference is the color of their handcuffs.

May we all live full and happy lives and not fall prey to others expectations.

Ann said...

No place on earth is "perfect". I would much rather be working 50 to 60 hours a week to make ends meet compared to 15 hours a week and not able to find full-time work. Why Canada? Like Arlene says, a lot of it has to do with the decency of the people, the wide-open spaces. Being able to look out one's window and see green and space versus cement and rubbish.

Even here in Italy Italians have the "keeping up with the Jones'" syndrome. They are starting to become more like the Americans, but not to such an extent, of racking up the credit card debt, the mortgage and unable to make it to the end of the month. Yes there are people that aren't able to make it to the end of the month on their current salaries without any credit card debt or house payments.