When you move to another place, you are usually faced with the undesirable tasks of changing your address, getting a new license, registering your car and then just trying to get your bearings. So far in 2.5 days, we’ve moved our earthly possessions into the home (for now, this isn’t our permanent location,) got stocked with groceries (thanks Mom and Dad!) and set up bank accounts. When you move to and plan to work in another country, however, things get a little more interesting.
I think I can hear you saying, “Uh, you’re milking this ‘another country’ thing a little bit,” and I’ll have you know I think I’m milking it, too. Still, every time I think we can all be one happy North America, with the same credit cards and greek yogurt brands and such, I see that Canada is, indeed, another country. At the last possible moment, my husband’s new employer informed him he needed to apply for a Social Insurance Number (aka Social Security) in order to collect his paycheck or even get an email address. This probably should have been something we knew ahead of time, but sorry, we didn’t. So today became all about devoting what would likely be hours to sitting in a government office and hoping to be approved as fake Canadian citizens. After all, isn’t it really hard to get a US Social Security Number, unless you’re lucky enough to be born there, or have a lot of money to just buy your way through the process? (I’m just assuming that’s the easiest way to get one: bribes.)
I made my way begrudgingly to the Canadian Services offices this morning expecting a fight. We had already visited once the day before, running into exiting employees all too happy to inform us they were already closed for the day. May I also remind you I haven’t even seen downtown Halifax yet? Anyways, we walked in and were pleasantly greeted by an empty waiting room. The friendly receptionist took our names and told us someone would be along shortly. About 10 minutes later, a guy wearing a crumpled navy t-shirt and casual shorts walked over and welcomed us. Husband and I looked at each other with a smirk and I mouthed, “Casual Thursday?” Tee hee-hee. We sat down, me- coffee in hand, ready to get comfortable for a few hours or so. Friendly casual guy asked us about 3 questions each, printed out 2 papers, and there we had it, our very own Social Insurance Numbers. Boom. Like we’d been in Canada since day 1. Well okay, they expire next May, but we’ll be long gone by then! About 25 minutes total, including walking time, and it was finished.
Since we were already at the mall, (where as I mentioned previously, is the hub of the Canadian lifestyle,) we decided to take another stab at the insertion of a Canadian SIM card into my unlocked iPhone 4S. “That’s cake,” a mobile technician proclaimed to us the day before, at our last trip to the mall. We expected to choose a plan, get the new SIM, and be on our way. 3 hours later, we were finding out the following things about Canadian cell service:
- If you use more than a gig of data, 500 texts, or attempt to call anyone outside of Canada, there really aren’t many options for you.
- Canadians must be secret millionaires, because there is a 15% tax on everything you touch or even glance at.
- If you should happen to go over your alloted talk time or texts, the company will suspend your service and hunt you down like the dog you are.
- If you really, really want to get a phone but maybe are a reformed inmate, someone in witness protection, or two honest people from the Midwest without a Nova Scotian ID card, you can go ahead and get a prepaid phone that you purchase with a rental-style “deposit” of your own money.
Go to the Nova Scotian ID card office. Go to the mall.