By way of introduction, we thought we’d write an “open IM chat” (as opposed to an open letter), both to hash out the big ideas behind this blog and to let you get to know us better. We kind of went on a bit. Turns out we had a lot more to say than we realized. Anyway, welcome to So Close and Yet So Far. Drop by whenever you’d like. We leave our doors unlocked in Canada. (In no way is that last sentence true.)
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Sean: Bon jour, monsieur.
Shea: Bon jour!
Sean: How’s things?
Shea: Merde… I had my volume way up on the monitors. You startled the crap out of me. But otherwise, I’m good.
Sean: Wait… you heard me typing?
Shea: Nope. Just the “beep” of a new message.
Shea: Then some guy just walked up behind me in my office and made me exclaim, “Shit!” … I think I need to drink fewer cafe au laits.
Sean: Possibly. Whereas I need to drink more of them. Still climbing out of the Monday grog swamp. So… maybe we should introduce ourselves.
Shea: Bon idée! I’m Shea Shackelford, and I recently moved to from Washington DC to Montréal to be with my gal.
Sean: I’m Sean Cole and I recently moved from Boston to Toronto to… well, for lots of reasons.
Shea: Primarily because you’re obsessed with Canada?
Sean: Yeah that’s a good start. I’m a reporter for public radio (in the states) and for a long time now I’ve been wanting to do more stories about Canada for American radio. ‘Cause, broadly speaking, I think Canada is important, and fascinating, and downright gorgeous, and I think it’s too often ignored by my country-folks. And when it’s not ignored, it’s ridiculed.
Shea: I’d agree with that… though I’d also offer that it’s often idealized/idolized by others in the US, too. And I guess the point is that this is all about people not understanding what Canada’s really like (or what Canadians are like… or the Quebecois … though that’s sort of another issue).
Sean: You’re absolutely right. The points, I think, are
a) Americans have a lot of misconceptions about Canada and
b) there are a lot of things Americans don’t know about Canada. And wouldn’t know unless they lived here. It’s a kind of specific experience. And, frankly, there isn’t any useful document or map for navigating your way here as an expat. There are forums but they’re more for one-off questions. i.e. “How do I forward my mail?” Which, it turns out, is one of the easiest parts of the move.