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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Oh Canada Eh? The Road to Canadian Residency

Are you an unmarried American and want to get away from TRUMP?  Get yourself a Canadian partner!

What has been a problem for many years is about to be solved by our government. Whenever a foreigner fell in love with a Canadian he/she had to wait for years for a permit to receive a residency permit. A “little” cash injection will cut down on wait times. Canadian Press has the news:

Feds to slash wait times for spouse sponsorship for permanent residency

OTTAWA – The length of time it takes for a Canadian to sponsor a spouse or partner for permanent residency is being cut dramatically.

canada-day

Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum says changes being put in place by his department will see wait times drop to just 12 months.

Currently, it can take about 26 months for a spouse already in Canada to receive permanent residency and an average of 18 months for those still abroad.

McCallum says a $25 million cash injection, a revamp of the application process and making more room in the immigration program for spousal sponsorship are among the changes having a major impact on reducing wait times.

The changes mean anyone with an application currently in the system will see a decision on their case by next December at the latest, while about 80 per cent of new applications will be processed within the 12-month timeline.

In 2017, about 64,000 spouses and dependents are expected to be admitted to Canada.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Lost Cheese And The Lost Lumber

The day starts with a bad surprise. I look out the window and I am seeing this:
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From blue sky and green lawns we went to snow and cold.
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But I have an agenda. At 9am a U.S.-truck with lumber is expected at the border. So I have to be there to pay NB sales tax. I am down there waiting in my van at 8:55am. 15minutes past nine there is still no truck. At 9:35 the customs officer comes out to inform me and another fellow that the truck wouldn’t come until 1pm.  Hello folks, what’s going on? So I go home. Between sitting idle and not knowing what to do I decide to carry in firewood and paint a couple of baseboards. Then I am watching as the paint dries. Shortly before 1pm I am on my way down to the border again. This time the truck is only 10 minutes late. And there appears to be another problem: The driver tells me that only a small part of my order is on the truck, the rest was not in stock?????  How can they take an order if the stuff isn’t in stock?  We move the few items he has over into my van and I leave. Now I am a tad ticked off.
When calling the company from home, they are all sorry but can’t do anything to fix the problem. So I cancel that part of the order. It has already been the 2. time the delivery failed as they should have brought it last Thursday but had forgotten all about it. Oh well…tomorrow I drive to St.Stephen and buy it in Canada.
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Returning from the customs, I stop by the post office for a mail pickup.  To my huge surprise I find a letter from UPS, therein containing a juicy invoice of 129 Bucks. Mistake?  Yes, probably I think. Studying it in depth I see that the bill is for handling and duty payment of a NORWEGIAN CHEESE!  By now it dawns on me that this is about the long lost cheese, our Norwegian friend had send from Columbus, OH when attending a course there in October. The cheese which has a value of around $30 Dollars, is taxed in at $98 duty tax plus 15%HST on top of that. You read that right: That’s tax on tax. And the rest is “brokerage and handling fees” for UPS.  With that total of $129 they have mastered to add 3 times the value of the cheese to it, and best of it all, we still haven’t seen no cheese. The cheese did arrive in Canada on November 03 and what the hell happened after that until today, a full month later, can be anybody’s guess.  It remains lost in the abyss of customs somewhere’s in the Canadian woods. So here I am doing the 2. call of the day, this time to UPS Canada headquarters in Toronto. I start by asking whether they are all well over there or in need of some professional help to overcome the obvious weakness with their brain functions. It is quiet for a while before the fellow inquires for details, which he receives pronto. Good thing, this guy must have just come back from a break and his mind is still eager to work. He realizes that something is askew here and suggests to send the matter over to the UPS customs handling department to get an “adjustment” of the invoice. Of course, he also realizes that I am quite unwilling to pay his bill and rather let the folks at UPS have that cheese (if still existing)  or send it out into cyber space. I mean we love Norwegian cheese, especially when it comes in 6pound blocks, but contributing a copious amount to the wealth of the Canadian Government for this, is kind of out of the question. Btw. food items are exempt from sales tax.
The UPS fellow assures us that we will be contacted tomorrow before 5pm with a solution.
brunost
So, I guess there will be a follow-up on this. Hang in there!

Monday, December 5, 2016

I Still Call It CHRISTMAS

 
I might be the last Mohican to call Christmas Christmas and not “Holidays” because it’s not some holiday but a Christian celebration of the birth of Christ. “Holidays” are at various times during the rest of the year. Holidays are in the summer or during a brief winter- or spring break.
1-DSC_0687The last bloom in our garden




My belief might be threatened by extinction, but I couldn’t care less. If I look through the media, or walk through town or even meet somebody and be greeted with “Happy Holidays”, I return it by wishing Merry Christmas. I am not saying that nobody is saying Merry Christmas anymore but public sector seems to have pretty much abandoned the old-fashioned form. I am getting a bit worried and annoyed when public schools are told to abandon Christmas and call it a “Holiday”, just
because there are also kids whose parents happen to have a different belief.
1-DSC_0694Everybody can have his or her very own religious or non-religious belief, but we live in a western country, with a culture cemented on Christian values and if that isn’t befitting other groups they stand free to teach their kids themselves or set up their own school.  And I have no problem with any other form of celebrations and beliefs IF THOSE STAY CLEAR FROM DICTATING THAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS CANNOT EXHIBIT CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS OR FOLLOW CHRISTIAN
CUSTOMS AND CELEBRATIONS.   When I went to school (long time ago) we had religion classes. As Germany is considered a country dominated by the Christian belief, we learned about the Old and New Testament. I enjoyed it, because it was like learning history. But even back then, there were a few students from other countries or other beliefs. These students were not obliged to attend the religion classes. Nope, they were given other tasks and could sit in a different classroom if they so desired. It was all voluntary and it was that easy. And when the first of Advent came, we were always beginning the week with Christmas Carols and the hallways of the school were adorned with wreaths with 4 real red candles. Oh my Goodness, that would warrant the fire dept. being in the school yard!
1-DSC_0675   Sunday 2. of Advent Photo by Bea
Our world has become much, much more complicated over the decades and I fear for my young nieces and their offspring as to what might be in store for them.
However, I reckon that Christmas will survive out my life time though. Here on Campobello we still have a Christmas Tree. And the one you see below is built of lobster traps. It’s the Island Way!
Campobello Trap Tree

Reposting: Tomorrow Is Saint Nicholas Day

American-Traveler: Tomorrow Is Saint Nicholas Day: One of my fondest memories from childhood is “Nikolaustag” (Saint Nicholas Day). And why is that? Well, there is the custom to put a sho...

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Story Of A Farmhouse

When the year 1903 rolled around Campobello Island was in the midst of an adventure. The population was around 1300 islanders and those who had no business in fishing could at least enjoy some sort of seasonal employment in the 3 big hotels and with the “Rusticators”, those summer people who owned quite substantial
“cottages”. in what was called the summer village.
While the Roosevelts and their friends were very rich people, most islanders lived much more down-to-earth lives.
Yet, there was enough income to build a house. A Nova Scotia ship-builder had just finished a house building project out on an open field north of the village of Welshpool. All the lumber had to be brought in by horse and wagon over a very bumpy and narrow trail leading over from the Welshpool cemetery. During the coming years the trail was extended and more houses were added alongside. The new house boasted 3 bedrooms, a living room, hallway, kitchen, but no bathroom. The water came from a well they had dug under the house.
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The beginnings….
A young couple moved in. Their livelihood came from farming and fishing. Once the house was finished they also got a small barn. A few farm animals lived there and provided milk, eggs and meat for their owners.
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Above: wide open fields and a single house marks the beginnings of a new residential street.

It was a good site for a little farm as they did not have to clear the land of trees. But the open surroundings also made for very cold winters.  House insulation had not yet been invented so the stove had to provide a lot of heat to warm the house during long winter days, when the northern storms were rattling the windows.
As the years were passing by changes occurred on Campobello. Many summer people did not come anymore. Their houses were left untended and many islanders lost their summer employment. However, farming and fishing was continuing like before and as our home owners got older, they felt the need for a place where they could relax after all their work. So they added a front porch to the house.
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The front porch added in the 1940s
screen-capture-12The owners in protection of a northerly wind in 1944.














Below: Our street in the early 50s
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Fast forwarding to 2009: After the house being empty for several years we found this place and started remodeling. The below pics show the state of the house in 2009.
IMG_3792 IMG_3793IMG_3795 IMG_3798

After over 60 years, the porch construction had rotted out and while we were at it, we extended the porch along the side of the house.

DSC_0005-mi ahinglemaster

Demolishing the porch and re-building

DSC_0018    Lunch on the construction site

athome (9)-mi

aug19 003          Shingeling the new entry

DSC_0014-mi

athome (1)   taking shape, but still missing a lot 

sept13 (2)-mi

Working at heights is always posing a challenge and I had to re-do the entire front of the gable. A make-shift scaffold was built which most likely would have freaked out any safety-official. And there was work to do at the dormers on the roof as well.

dormer (1)

Sept18

By the end of 2011 the house appearance had changed a lot.

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But some things never seem to change much. Campobello’s population is still earning their livelihood through fishing. (no more farming through) And seasonal employment is back again, this time for modern day tourism.

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