Canada has been treating us well and we are finally feeling ‘settled in’ after a long drawn out transition from Alaska. The Canadians have welcomed us with open arms and as a result we have already met so many wonderful people and made some great friends.
We’ve been here for almost 4 months now and it has been an eventful time so far. We try and get out and see something new as much as possible. One thing we love about the area is how you can drive an hour any direction and see some completely different terrain. Jeremy and I both agree, this move was a great decision and we are looking forward to making Alberta our home for at least the next three years.
While relocating to a new area can bring many changes to your life, we have had our share of change while adjusting to the ways of Canada. Read on to learn bits and pieces of our ‘Adjusting to Life in Canada’:
Adjustments There have been many things we have had to adjust to while living in here. From the different variety of groceries to socialized healthcare, there is much to learn.
Food – Lucky for us, we LOVE international cuisine and there is a galore of Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese restaurants to choose from. In addition, the grocers have a pretty good selection of international ingredients. I’ve come to love Canada’s Superstore for the price and the variety! They have a whole aisle devoted to international ingredients. We have definitely had to make some sacrifices when it comes to food though. If you love Mexican food as much as I do, this is NOT the place for you. There is one Mexican restaurant that I know of in the entire Red Deer area. We decided to try it out a couple of weeks ago and spent about $20 a plate for enchiladas! Not worth the money. We like to make tacos or enchiladas at home every now and again. Prepare to pay $3 for a small can of green chillies! The variety of Mexican ingredients in the stores is terrible. We may not enjoy margaritas and fajitas as much as we did in Alaska, but we are enjoying the other local and chain restaurants that the area has to offer.
Residency and Healthcare – I knew when we crossed the border from Idaho to B.C. we had our work cut out for us in order to gain residency and find ourselves ‘settled’ in Canada. 1. Retain work permit to live in Canada for three years 2.Apply for Social Insurance Number 3. Apply for Alberta Health Care 4. Find a family doctor…that is good and also taking new patients 5. Get Alberta Driver’s License 6. Get Out of Province Vehicle Inspection completed for new plates — have 10 days to complete all necessary repairs to meet requirements of Alberta law and pass inspection (my car was provided an estimate today of $1100 to complete the required changes…I have a 2005 Ford Escape)
…AND THE LIST GOES ON
Healthcare — Interesting topic of discussion. Canadians are VERY proud of their healthcare system and everyone I have talked to loves their family doctor and appreciates the benefits the system provides them. Everyone is floored what we pay for medical services in the states…insured or not. Our biggest challenge when we moved here was not finding a doctor, but finding a doctor that’s taking new patients. The availability is terrible and I haven’t yet figured out what people do if they can’t find a doctor they like? I even asked one office if there was a waiting list I could get on and she acted like I was the first person to ask that question!
After a couple tries and one really bad experience, I think we finally found a doctor. Dr. Kathy Unger in Lacombe, which is about 25 minutes from our house. She’s personable and thorough. She does it all too…from regular check-ups to pregnancies and deliveries. Apparently it can be somewhat cumbersome to find a family doc that can do pregnancies as well. So, IF we enter that stage while in Canada, at least I know we have a doctor we can trust.
Needless to say, our experience with healthcare in Alberta has been slow starting, but I feel like we are on the right track now. More details to come…
This is just a quick update from our new home in Canada. Hope all is well in the states! Love to all, Tina