Saturday, April 29, 2006

Get Off My Land

We live right across the street from a public school, grades 1-9. If it were only an elementary school, it wouldn't be a problem, because those kids are not big troublemakers. But by the time you're 14, you can be old enough to be a pain in the ass. And, unlike when I was at school, they're allowed to leave for lunch, and they all flock to the corner pizza place, leaving a trail of litter and cigarette butts that eventually blows into our yard. Actually, they're probably not cigarette butts, but roaches.

But to be fair, the kids were sent out this week to pick up some garbage around the town. I would have liked to tell them to come pick up their empty chip bags and styrofoam plates that blow into our drainage ditch, but I suppose that they did better work tidying up the town. I find it stunning that a little bit of trash on the ground gets people so incensed. There was a long editorial in the local monthly flyer about litter. If that's the worst of your concerns, you should probably go see what your kids are doing instead.

The dog's favorite walking route is up the street to the pizza joint, because he finds all kinds of pizza crusts and candy wrappers that make life interesting and tasty. In Taiwan, he was much more likely to find chicken or pork bones, so at least the pizza crusts don't have to be fished from his mouth once he gets them.

The kids mostly don't actually trespass on our property though. It's not a shortcut to get anywhere else. Except one kid who walks home right by the edge of our lot. You'd think a dog that used to see hundreds of people a day when he went for a walk would be more relaxed about it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hello again.

I thought I'd post a quick note since it's been about 9 months since I've done so, and because for some reason I still open my blog on the computers at work so it gets some traffic.
I am writing this from my house in Canada, where Tim and I, along with our energetic dog have settled in after a few months floundering around waiting to see what would come next. We made it here without too much trouble, immigration paperwork notwithstanding. After living with his folks for a while, we tricked the bank into giving us a tiny mortgage so we could buy a house in a small town. It's nice to still be able to walk to the store and the post office; I didn't think that was still possible in North America.

It's hard to live back in the West. We both took a huge pay cut--for some reason, people here aren't willing to pay big bucks to have white people sing "Shake My Sillies Out" with their 4 year olds all day long. And you have to have 2 cars, complete with all the hassles that entails. The insurance on one car for 6 months is more than we paid to buy both of our scooters in Taiwan. And the winter has been hard for us. It gets pretty cold here, even though all the locals said we got off easy this year. But after living in Taichung, Taiwan, where it was warm enough to go camping on motorcycles in February, we're still building fires and running the furnace here and it's almost May 1.

But on the bright side, I am a permanent resident of a country that's actually glad to have me, instead of a temporary resident of a country (yes, Taiwan is a country--sorry, China) that merely tolerated my presence. And we finally get to own our own land, which we'd be even more excited about if the yard weren't such a bog.

In fact, it's the bright side of things that has kept me from posting to this blog, in part. I have so much less to complain about, and a lot fewer crazy stories. For a job now, I work in a call center as a tech support rep for a major Canadian internet provider. What could be less exciting than that?

But here I am, and life is good, despite the reverse culture shock. To give you some idea of the place I live now: when we go to the town office, they don't ask for any ID, because they know who we are. We're the gay couple who live in the old Gertie Patterson place. How's that for a change?

I may continue to post again, since I'm in front of a computer all day lately, but blogging from work is likely to cause nothing but pain. We'll see.