Well, after being back in Canada for almost three months, I have come to the conclusion that all countries have their quirks and silly regulations. Being overseas for almost 8 years, and butting our heads against numerous road blocks, I think we had developed a rose-coloured-glasses view of our home and native land.
Well, just so you know, it AIN’T SO!
It was no trouble renting a place to live, sorting out bank accounts, and even finding a job. No problem renting a vehicle, getting used to actually understanding the people around you (most of the time). Not a hitch at all to re-activate our old health-care numbers. Nary a delay or question regarding clearing our goods through customs.
No – the big problem was driving – or rather the acquiring of licences and purchasing – or rather register – of vehicles.
Buying the truck was easy – have money, no problem. But we couldn’t register it without a valid Alberta drivers licence……… and you can only have one if you live here, which is why we had to begin at square one.
Bring all the papers to the registry office – including our apartment lease to prove that we do live here. OK – firstly, the photocopies of our Kuwaiti licences bear no weight at all – you need the physical card, which of course, we had relinquished in Oman. “We could get a letter of verification from the Department of Transportation in Kuwait – but we all know how long that would take – and then it would have to be signed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, and the Kuwait Embassy in Canada. No – not an option.
Next problem – we need our Norwegian licences translated – and they don’t have anyone on their approved list for Norwegian. Luckily, there is a Norwegian Consulate here in Calgary. It only took two weeks to get the translations – while our shiny new paid-for truck languished at the dealer ship.
OK – now David is OK to swap his licences (Omani and Norwegian) for an Alberta one, as without counting the Kuwait experience, he still had less than a three-gap in accepted experience…… he has his licence…. and his truck.
I was not so lucky. My Alberta licence expired a earlier, so I had to do both the written text, and the driving test as well. We had done an extensive driving test in Norway which I enjoyed thoroughly, so I wasn’t worried about that, but did havea few twinges of being stymied by trick questions on the written knowledge test.
Boy – was I wrong. The written test (done on a computer) was easy. And the driving test consisted of being treated like a 16-year-old moron for half an hour. I passed the test, and got my licence, but an still reeling from the demoralizing experience.
Non-the-less, we are here, and pretty well everything is now in place – and we are glad to be back near family again, in spite of Canada’s somewhat silly rules.