Monday, July 20, 2009

And now, a word from our sponsors

Amynah and I have only eleven more days here in Strasbourg, which is deeply sad, but also incredibly stressful. As some/most of you already know, we’re coming back to Canada (via Iceland) in August. Over August, I will drive from Halifax to Los Angeles via Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. That’s about 9,000 kilometers.

Stress number one: We need health insurance for that month. None of the three countries involved will cover us. As far a Canada’s concerned, we might as well be French. As far as the French are concerned, we might as well have lived in Canada – although the nice lady at the local social insurance office told me that I could be reimbursed for our drugs for a month. Considering that my fancy prescription headache pills cost me 28 cents a pack here, that’s probably worth the paperwork.

With some difficulty, I managed to find us coverage that will tide us over in Canada and the U.S. until Amynah’s work insurance kicks in, but it’s limited. I’ll just have to drive 50 km/h the whole way, just to be safe.

Stress number 2: The documents we need for our visas have only just been processed by Amynah's new employer. We were supposed to go to the U.S. embassy in Paris to finish up our application, but now it’s too late, so we will have to somehow arrange an appointment on the fly at one of the American consulates while we’re on the road in Canada. Good times!

Otherwise, we’re going through a similar process to what we had to do when we left: throwing stuff out, deciding what clothes we will be wearing for all of August and shipping the rest, attempting to sell that which we cannot ship. Purging is good for the soul, sure, but I would rather like to have things that I plan to keep at some point in my life.

Finally, we’re disengaging from France itself: bidding adieu and settling our bills with the tax folk, our bank, the local “prefecture” and the utility companies.

That’s not even to start on the people to whom we’re saying goodbye: many of our evenings of late have been occupied by farewell dinners with our friends and colleagues, and there will be many more to come. So far, so much like Montreal – except when we left Montreal, we vaguely expected to move back.

Unlike in Montreal, we’ve been having to say surprisingly moving goodbyes to other people around the city: “our” waitress at “our” café, the merchants at the farmer’s market, and our local baker among them. I’m going to write about some of these people over the next week, if only because I sense that while I’ve been enjoying the past four weeks of unbroken history lecturing, my blog statistics tell me you’re all a little less keen.

3 comments:

Amynah said...

Wah!

carol said...

Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit you and to experience your more intimate relationship with Strasbourg through your posts. I couldn't help but notice that Toronto was not on your list of travel stops, however... I can't blame you, but are you indeed skipping it?

Mark Reynolds said...

Glad you're enjoying the read. Toronto's not on the list, I'm afraid - details to follow in an email.