Summer Travel

We did it! We finished immigration, I am now a dual citizen to Canada and USA….. and….. we are out of Portland for the summer!!!

Earlier in a post I told about how we purchased a short school bus that turned out to be a little out of our league. Sold that, kept looking with a more educated perspective, and found a very nice little bus that has it’s quirks but runs nicely for us. It took almost a year to get the leaks figured out and dealt with, but as far as we can tell, it is pretty water tight now. The inside got cut out, insulated with board, and built out for our little family of five. It is a tight space, but well laid out, and utilizes pretty much every square inch of usable space. This is the rig we are currently “living” out of while traveling through lower B.C. Canada for the summer before returning to Portland in the fall.

We also started our own vlog on YouTube! It’s called Simple Life Adventure. Surprising name I know, right?! My mom has a weekly vlog she does about their slow travel lifestyle, and we thought it would be fun to do the same for our simple adventure life. It started with some really random stuff, then documented a bit of our bus conversion, though I have to admit that once we set a dead line, it was hard to get the camera out while crunching long days prepping the bus and simultaneously moving out of our house. Once we started traveling though, we thought we would have PLENTY of time to take footage and edit. Yeah right!!!! When they say making regular videos for YouTube is a job, they really mean it! Especially with three kids.

One morning while we were at a rest stop between Sproat Lake and Tofino, (on Vancouver Island) one of my little sister’s was able to help guide me (via FB’s messaging app) through the WordPress program to get our site from a blog with a WordPress.com ending, to just .com. Easy I know, but it was intimidating for me! We all have our skills, and that is not one of mine! Anyhoo, now that this is a .com website, I see that I have to update everything on it. Bear with me as I go through and try to get caught up on all of it….. while staying on top of our YouTube channel….. while planning the next stage of our trip…. while keeping our kids happy, healthy and safe….. while maintaining my sanity!

Short but sweet post for all of you. And I just want to say Thank You for subscribing here, and thank you for checking out our videos and subscribing to them also…. cause I know you will!

We appreciate you all very much.

P.S. Seth is actually the one who does most of the vid editing. I love you dear!!!!

In the Works!

My stomach was roiling with satisfaction and uncertainty. Anticipation and finality.

After compiling the final immigration package for my US Naturalization, I got Seth to look over everything, then took a deep breath and signed where needed.

The package got sealed.

I handed it to Seth, and he put it in his bag to mail off on his way to work.

The final step to process. The beginning of the end.

We could have moved anywhere in the US during this whole immigration stuff, but we like it here in Portland, and we wanted to show stability in our paperwork, so have stayed safe and comfortable. Now after almost 6 years, immigration is almost over. We will not be able to use it as an excuse to stay in our comfortable ruts. There will be nothing holding us down, and so there is the very feasible and needed choice to do the drastic, do the scary, leave our comforts, step into the unknown.

But not quite yet! Whew!!!

I just got the appointment notice for biometrics, which will be in two weeks, and then will still have to have an interview and civics test.

It is all very exciting. It is a hovering reminder that time moves quickly and there is only so much of it. Use it wisely. How am I preparing my family? We will move soon. Will we be ready?

Still so many questions.

 

The Issues Around Driving and Licenses

You go to take a step in one direction, but get told you can’t until you take steps in another one.

When I got my permanent residency, the lady who aproved me for it told me that I could now go get a state driver’s license. So earlier this week I went to the DMV to get a license, going prepared with everything I thought I would need, but the fellow at the front desk told me that now with a PR card I was eligible for a Social Security Number and thus could not get a driver’s license without first getting an SSN.

Back at home I searched the net to find out what I needed to do to get my SSN. In my searching, I printed out a form to fill out, and discovered that with the same form I could apply for a number for our daughter! So I filled everything out and the next day little Rinny and I rode Chester (my bicycle) across the river to the Social Security Department, where I first had to go through security twice because I had forgotten about a little knife that I keep in my purse/diaper bag. It was 1/4 inch too long, so I had to take it out to my bike then go in and through security again. On the other side, we found a row of seats with room for Marin to play while we waited. Oh my goodness, that little girl can sure make a racket with just her happy sweet voice! There were squawks and squeals and all sorts of high-pitched noises coming from her as she played with items from the bag.

At the gate/window Marin continued her cheerful one-sided bantering as I tried to hear what the thankfully good-natured fellow on the inside was asking me. He quickly understood the difference that Rinny and I were in, being from Canada, but I think he probably deals with immigrants quite often! Anyways, despite having thought that it was going to take a boringly long time to accomplish, the wait and the cheerful help at the window, coupled with having gone prepared with all possible necessary documents, came to a surprisingly quick culmination. Before I knew it we were walking out the door with receipts and the expectation of receiving our cards in the mail within a week!

Now back to the driver’s license…. well….. we still have to wait until the SSN cards come before I can pursue that any further. In the meantime, after having briefly perused through the driving manual they gave me, I’ve noticed more often than before the crazy drivers out there who through neglect to follow the rules of the road would cause collisions and crashed were it not for the awareness of the drivers around them (who are saving their own necks by yielding their right-of-way to the crazy person).

People out there! Drive safe! Suck up your pride and browse through a manual to brush up on the little things that you don’t even realize you have forgotten! Otherwise, you might end up being the one who gets the rude gesture from me on my bike. I’ll do it!

 

 

Well?! Well?! Where is it?!!!

I was cooking dinner when Seth came bouncing up the stairs, having just got back from work. There was no “I’m home”, “Hey honey” or “How was your day?” Just a “Well?!!!”

Come on! Who says that as the first words out of their mouth? “Well?!!”

Well…. okay, my husband does!

Down stairs I had left the envelope that my permanent residency card had just arrived in, and that’s what he was wanting to know about.

“Well? Well? Where is it?!” he kept saying, until like a doufus the light finally came on in my brain.

My wallet was sitting on the end of the counter and just as I recognized what he was asking about and started to reach for it, he excitedly jumped over and snatched it before I could say anything, excitedly rifling through my cards until he found the new one. A big grin was plastered to his face!

The cards are pretty cool. They have everything a regular driver’s license has, plus a fingerprint, high-tech emblems that you can only see at the right angle, and the back pretty much has all the info again but in a crazy form that reminds me of old camera negatives. Pretty dang cool!

International Travel

Not quite one year ago Marin crossed from Canada into the United States. Now, she is back on her way up into Canada, but only for a couple hours. This is the first time that Seth has crossed any borders with her, and he bravely is doing it alone, as my immigration green card has not come in the mail yet. Yet another family adventure! So here I am in Blaine, sipping a spicy mocha, gazing out over the marina to the ocean beyond, letting the gentle ocean breaze play with my hair and bring the salty smell of kelp and sea water to my ocean-starved nose. Oh how I have missed the ocean!

Having grown up on the west coast of Canada, right by the water on Vancouver Island, living in Portland, Oregon slowly saps the wild freedom from me. Don’t get me wrong, Portland is absolutely amazing and SO bicycle friendly, but it does not have the wide and wild ocean views that stretch for as far as the curve of the earth where you can see a ship’s sails above the curve but the hull is hidden below. The wind and sunshine both invigorating and draining, going through extremes and teaching you to be eternally grateful for the pleasant weather days. Oh the wild coast of Canada and the state of Washington!

So here I am soaking up everything about the view while Seth drives north with our daughter into my country to pick up my dad and brother. Hopefully my uncle and grandmother will be there to see Marin. She has changed so much in one year! When we left, she was barely 2 months old, struggling to hold her own head up. Now she is walking all by herself, cautious yet adventurous, silly and sweet but sometimes demanding. As a mom, I get so much pleasure in watching her personality develop each day.

It has been a long drive up here, but Marin has handled it very well. She plays quietly with her toys, crying only when she needs a fresh diaper or when she is tired, both of which I can completely understand. I would cry too! But the longest length of tears was only 5 minutes. What a wonderful girl to travel with!

Assuming all things go well, we will have a perfectly fine drive back down to Oregon, and nothing interesting will happen.

Well, I’m not going to miss this wonderful opportunity! I’m off to go stick my toes in the sticky water of the sound. Maybe my skin will itch later from the salt. Yay!!!

Final Step For Immigration

I have such exciting news to share!

Seth and I had our immigration interview and all went well.

Morning came all too early, after a night that was way too late! We made sure everything was set and ready to go before we colapsed into bed, making the morning flow smooth despite the early hour. Marin woke up with us, and we took her over to our neighbours’ house to be looked after while we headed downtown on our bicycles. As most of you know, we do not own a car ourselves, so almost everything is done by bike. We took it steady and easy across the river, keeping a good pace without breaking a sweat. The excercise was wonderful for calming our nerves.

Security went well, with lighthearted guards helping to put us at ease. Then upstairs after checking in, we waited along with close to 30 other people, all there to be interviewed. All sitting stiff and slightly nervous. Rarely breaking a smile. Seth and I carried the jokes of the security guards up with us and continued to stay in good moods, which was met by a cheerful lady equally in a good mood ushering us through a maze of small office rooms to question us.

All in all the interview went very well, with clear comunication, questions and answers. Only when she was explaining the steps for us to take in order to remove the conditions on my card did some confusion enter with numbers and math going a little askew. But we all three were able to laugh at that!

Oh boy! Once we got out of the building, it was all I could do from whooping and hollering with joy in the middle of the city! Three hours later I still couldn’t wipe the smile off my face even though the muscles in my cheeks were sore.

We made it!

We are together as a family, the three of us, without any worry of being split apart. Such a heavy load off our minds now! It is a relief to have this all done with and now we can take joy together as a family without any clouds hovering over us!

Watching carefully as Marin climbs down the front steps all by herself.
Watching carefully as Marin climbs down the front steps all by herself.

It is a Wonderful Day!

You know how sometimes life seems to fly past you so fast you don’t know where it all went? On the other hand time can drag so slow it looks like the slugs out in the garden are getting a head start on next week’s projects.

The last month has been a strange mix of those feelings of the passing of time. Slow and fast, swift and sluggish. Working on immigration paperwork, it goes so slow and yet the days fly past so fast.

But we got it done!

Two days ago I mailed our package off and gave a big sigh of relief. Then I went home and spent the rest of the day working in the garden, getting things done that I have been putting off for a couple weeks now. It’s like a huge wall has gone down and left so many things open to do. Open to possibilities. When it is sunny I can go outside and get grounded in the garden. Rainy times I can catch up on house work.

It’s funny how taking out one dreadful task makes all other chores seem like pleasures and not chores at all! Now I actually WANT to clean up the basement!

Today is one of those special days I think. Marin and I got to talk to my mother on Skype down in Mexico, now the country music is turned up, the sun keeps popping it’s head out. The only down turn is that I have to find that danged USB that I lost the other day. Other than that, it is a wonderful day to be here in Portland! I am a happy woman with a beautiful happy baby on my lap.