My life in upheaval, but in a good way


In February 2010, Jodi and I got married. In June, we spent our honeymoon in Minnesota, going to CONvergence in Minneapolis. (My wife is every bit as much a geek as me.)

Little did I know that that visit would plant the seeds for what’s been happening over the past few months in my life.

Over these three years, we’ve returned to Minnesota for most of our vacations, reconnecting with all the awesome people we met, branching out and meeting even more awesome people, and generally finding the city and the lifestyle there to our liking. We’ve grown extremely close with the Zvans, to the point where they were taking all their vacations here as well.

Meanwhile, Jodi has been getting the itch to go back to school, after spending several years working at a vineyard, making assistant vineyard manager. She wants to get her Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), during which time she couldn’t work, meaning I needed a better-paying job. But the IT industry in Nova Scotia was pretty well stagnant, and I couldn’t find a job to my liking that would pay me what it would take to put her through school.

Then a friend of a friend dropped a job into my lap practically custom-built for my exact skillset, and the salary associated with it is more than what Jodi and I make presently, combined.

The job is in Minnesota. And a second friend apparently works at the same place, paving my way into the company. I interviewed with them, and they were — in their words — “blown away”. They wasted little time in writing up the job offer. If we believed in a deity, this whole thing would be divine providence — the perfect job under the perfect circumstances falling in my lap, and I already have connections there. A job that’ll let me put Jodi through school, and we wouldn’t even take a lifestyle hit for it.

The only problem here is, I’d be moving to Minnesota. That’s not in Canada. It’s not a HUGE problem, but it presented a unique set of obstacles.

First, we hired a lawyer to go through the application process for a TN NAFTA visa. Sure, it’s possible to simply go to the border with the job offer in hand and get waved through, but we decided to go the “long way” to make damn sure we had all our ducks in a row. The last thing I want to have happen on such a monumental move is to be thrown out on our earS (SEE BELOW, SIMON).

Said lawyer started collecting all the papers necessary to file, then — despite suggesting to me that everything should be fine based on my resumé — blindsided us with one black mark on my history.

No, no, I didn’t commit a crime, nothing that juicy.

See, I had never officially graduated from university. That means that one of the prerequisites for the TN NAFTA visa — post-secondary education — was not fulfilled. Which means, in that state, the visa application would probably fail.

That was a Tuesday night. I wrote an email to my alma mater’s Dean of English that night. I also developed a backup plan, getting a computer certification on the side, just in case things didn’t go so well. I called the Dean the next morning, and sorted everything out on the spot — a story I told you about last month.

But our lawyer told me that that was insufficient for our purposes, that because the official letter said that I will be graduating this spring, not that I had graduated back in 2001 when I finished the degree, it wouldn’t pass muster.

So that night I bought two exam vouchers for CompTIA Linux+ certification. I borrowed a study guide from 2010, and did nothing but cram for the next several days. I took the first exam the next Monday, and the next exam the next Wednesday. I was fully certified very shortly thereafter.

My new job put together the last items while I waited impatiently for my certification, and when it finally came, I sent it along to the lawyer. I got her permission to both tell my present job that I was leaving (she was very protective of my present employment the whole time!), and to obtain the very last piece of evidence necessary before filing — the letter of recommendation from a supervisor in my current employment. They needed the original, with the original signature. I overnighted it to the lawyer and when it arrived, we finally filed for my visa application. I paid for the rush processing, too — otherwise the wait time might have been 30-45 days. Even on the fast-track TN NAFTA visas, there’s a glut of applicants, apparently.

This morning, my visa came through. I’ve been approved. We’re moving to Minnesota. Jodi will go to school, and I will be working in what promises to be an excellent work environment with people doing things I wholeheartedly endorse.

The last few weeks we’ve been doing whatever we can to prepare for this, whether we were approved or not. I’d already started documenting the hell out of my present job, and Jodi and I have been going through all our stuff — years of accumulated cruft that we’ve been long overdue in selling or throwing out. We were preparing for the best-case scenario, fully knowing that it could all get pulled out from underneath us if the application was turned down. We’d been packing that which we wouldn’t use immediately, and putting stuff up for sale on our local Craigs-List-alike. We’ve been avoiding telling anyone so we didn’t sour our chances, and so we didn’t get people unnecessarily riled up. I’ve let my blog suffer in the meantime, and there’s honestly no end in sight to how much upheaval there is left to get through before things will return to normalcy around the digital portions of my life.

But I can talk about it now, and you have no idea what kind of relief it is.

It’ll change precious little about what I blog, mind. I’m still very interested in how Harper’s trying (and in many ways succeeding!) to screw up our great nation. I’m still a Canadian citizen. I’ll just be living a few kilometers — err, I mean MILES — south of the border, instead of north. (Or rather, east, as was the case in Nova Scotia. We’ll be at pretty much the exact same latitude, only well landlocked and so prone to the weather extremes only buffered by the Great Lakes.)

Dammit. My blog header’s gonna have to change, ain’t it? Yet one more way I’m a lousy canuck. LE SIGH

Comments

  1. Simon says

    Congrats! Where in Minnesota will you be?

    Also, you say (emphasis mine): “The last thing I want to have happen on such a monumental move is to be thrown out on our ear

  2. says

    New job pays health insurance for me, but I’ll have to pay for Jodi. Which means JODI might die. Unless I lose my job, then we both might die.

    Then again, yeah. Having “death panels” decide what treatment I do and do not get — that’s going to be a foreign experience. Here in Canada, with our socialized medicine, everyone gets care, not just those with money.

  3. Shannon says

    Congrats, I am quite pleased that it all worked out, knowing first hand the royal pain in the arse any visa work is I am extremely happy it went so smoothly for you. And soon you will live a little closer to Teri and I. About 1 hour less travel time….

  4. says

    I’m sorry to hear the bad news. It’s one thing to have to leave the greatest country in the world, but to have to go live south of the border? I’m not looking forward to breaking this news to everyone at the bonspiel…

  5. says

    Congratulations. But heck, another FTBlogger posting from Minnesota… just how much of the network needs to originate from there before you rename to become MNTBlogs? I hope the move goes well, but there’s no reason to change the blog title; isn’t it axiomatic that by not watching enough hockey, etc., and by moving to the US, the epithet still applies?

  6. says

    Yeah, I thought of that, Xanthe. So have some slimers at some point, who said they should nuke Minnesota. We do need more geographical diversity, instead of a Canuck migrating out of diversityville.

    But at least there’s a good chunk of posters in Chicagoland apparently.

  7. Apparently Not Erin says

    Curses! I mean congratulations…but curses! How the heck am I supposed to visit nearly everyone in one go if you’re not going to be there when I finally make it back?

    So assuming the rest falls into place, what’s the ETD? Will it be a quick move or will they give you some time?

  8. says

    We do need more geographical diversity, instead of a Canuck migrating out of diversityville.

    Thunder Bay is only 5 hours drive from Minneapolis if you want to blog from there occasionally.

  9. Ulysses says

    So you’re going to Baja Manitoba. Although looking at the map Minnesota is more Baja Western Ontario.

  10. garnetstar says

    My best congratulations.

    Now you and Jodi can experience our great constitutional freedoms, such as owning AR-15s with 30-round magazines. What fun that will be!

  11. janiceintoronto says

    So you’re defecting to the Great Satan? No more maple syrup for you.

    We’re taking your poutine away too.

    Well, OK then. You can keep the poutine since Minnesota is actually part of southern Ontario (even if they don’t know it).

  12. says

    Erin: looks like I’ll probably be jumping on a plane on Sunday, starting my new job on Monday (or possibly Tuesday — need to start getting situated and getting bank accounts and what-have-you).

    Yes, that soon. Jodi’s staying behind to deal with the remnants of our rooted life.

  13. says

    Wait, is this just part of a conspiracy to get all the atheist feminists in one place in order to more effectively control them?

    Regardless, congratulations.

  14. Apparently Not Erin says

    The good news is that you’ll now be less than 5 hours away by plane (with a stop-over) and I have a guest room. It’s booked in July but otherwise open almost all year.

  15. sinned34 says

    Well, you’re closer to BC, which is the best place in the world if you discount the amount of support for the CPC outside of the lower mainland.

    Also, thanks for making this all not news for me. I hate surprises.

  16. John Horstman says

    Congratulations, Jason! I mean, I’m so sorry about you having to slum it here in USA, though out of all the options, MN isn’t a bad state. Apparently NAFTA has finally done something good. :-)

  17. says

    Damn. I was going to get around to meeting you one of these days. Guess that won’t happen for a while. :(

    Good luck, though. I think you’re mildly crazy for going *from* Canada *to* America (as someone who took the plunge the other way), but I hope everything works out for you.

  18. Robert B. says

    Dammit, don’t start using our stupid units just because you’re changing your address. Come infect us with your foreign metric ways! Make jokes about how Minnesota barely hits 30 degrees in summer! (Unit conversion jokes are the nerdiest possible jokes, you’ll get geek points.)

  19. CAinCA says

    Congratulations on your adventure.

    I know I’m late to the discussion here, but I have one quick piece of advice… first thing tomorrow morning, go to your Canadian bank and apply for a US$ credit card. It was the best advice we were given before we made the move.

  20. frankathon says

    Look I’m really happy for you but I’m really sad that this is yet another case of the brain drain for Canada. We’ve lost yet another competant, educated person to the States… Fine we dont want you anyway :-P

  21. JohnnieCanuck says

    Well, that explains it. I refrained from nitpicking your spelling of ‘armour’ in yesterday’s post, but now it all becomes clear.

    I used to be just as lousy a Canuck as you claimed in your banner. Met all the criteria. Now you have taken it to the next level and I don’t think I will ever again manage to be a contender for the title. You are indeed the lousiest.

    Anyways, congratulations just the same. You going to be getting care packages from home, like fresh fiddleheads?

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