- There are so many really big and dangerous pot holes in the roads...like more than you'd expect, and THAT's just crazy.
- Food is cheap, like really cheap. Grocery food, restaurant food = cheap. It is so easy to toss the arms and go get take-out, and it doesn't have to be crappy, greasy take-out...there is a plethora of good, tasty and healthy to go, and, thus, easy to get.
- Lots and lots of selection of organic food. I'm not totally sure how 'organic' it is, but it's there, label and all, cheap and abundant.
- Oh, and gas is cheap too. Depending on your loyalty card, you can get one Gallon for $3ish (no loyalty card = $3.49). Compared to Vancouver Island's one Gallon for $5.30ish, that's a steal.
- Hence, there are a lot of cars on the road and not many bike commuters.
- And drivers are fast and swervy and talk on their cell phones and/or text. (This was so shocking to me when we first arrived-all the texting drivers.)
- Another hence, all the bashed up cars.
- Which leads to insurance...you don't have to get full insurance here. Infact, in many cases you can't. Some insurance companies will only give you liability based on the car, the person, whatever; so, many cars (or people) aren't covered for self-caused crashes. But, many people also don't want to shell out the cash, so they just get the minimum (liability) anyways.
- Health care system? Yeah, I haven't figured that one out yet...but I do know that I like Canada's Universal system in that everybody (for the most part) has equal access to it.
- Oh, and the school system(s)! I checked out 4 schools before deciding (for good) on the one we're in now. Like home, there is public and private, but then there is the added 'Charter', which is kind of both. It is publicly funded but (mostly) privately run, so that's where you'll find the free Montessoris, Gifteds, Waldorfs, Religious and other schools that people have decided to open in retort to the public system. A lot of people are not happy with the public system. I wasn't. (Although, to be fair, many people are.) It was way too hardcore for me, way too competitive, and way too suck the fun out of life and turn your kids into little test taking robots. (That's how I felt anyway when I took the tour and spoke with the prospective teacher.) There is enough good gab on the system to fill an entire post so perhaps I'll leave this at this...Suffice it to say, we (read I with my poor husby rolling his eyes and waiting patiently for me to stop vacillating) choose Waldorf (which I couldn't at home because there is no Charter system and we would have to pay, so, Charter is good.)
It's funny how, when one is out of their element, everything is punctuated and interesting. I speak with people clinging to their every word, listening to stories with intent and purpose. Getting clues and hints. Not all the time, but alot of the time. You can learn so much about a system or a place just by paying attention to the chit chat, by being new and curious and open. Despite myself and my love for home, despite the anti-American criticism that has infiltrated over the years (from many sources and experiences-a whole other story), this place isn't so bad.
I'm sitting straight and listening up.