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At the Filling Station

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We were sleeping on the floor, along with rolled-up and patted-down anything for a pillow.
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And by now, though still patient, we've made more than one Canadian business grin from ear to ear. Waiting for some coveted back-ordered items while teaching the emigration budget to my oldest, she has opted to spend basement-bedroom-construction money on her birthday celebration. It's a good thing she and her sister get along.

Filling up at the supermarket has become one of the costliest things to do. My children have voracious appetites and economy sizes tend to also grow in price. The resulting math in places that sell food in bulk or advertise lower-than-lower prices usually leaves this consumer scratching her head. School supplies, clothing and shoes are of similar cost in the U.S., and this girl is just as stubborn. Years ago, I nearly attended my sister's wedding barefoot. But the sales exist and I find them.

I did previously mention a laptop. We hate rebates, but because the salesperson went to great pains to reassure us-and it's Canada-we went along with it. As I write this, we're hoping the local electronics industry will come through with a wireless router. The number of times I've been fended off this computer for children's TV and games, and because the actual TV was only recently hooked up...yes, it might be possible to play too much kickball.

One thing that isn't as costly is filling the tank of a hybrid, although that can be said from pretty much anywhere. In general, putting gas in your car may be more expensive in Canada than, for example, in New York, but remember that it depends on where you're driving. In the suburbs...even starting-up immigrants can make ends meet. Again, a hybrid helps. Fees for the doctor at a clinic are reminiscent of what we paid a country doctor when I was a kid, and we're paying it only until our coverage kicks in. However, for those of you who need glasses to read this, they cost about the same here. I need help for distance and lost mine somewhere along our shopping path.

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If you're hungry for a pie, Canadian pizza is edible. But large is not, so it's puzzling to think of what small might be. For the health-conscious, you can easily get whole- or multi-grain. It's a decent stead and costs the same...as does alcohol. Though beer and wine are more widely available than liquor appears to be, there's one large, government-run store in a shopping center where everyone seems to go for their liquor needs. Taking control without total control-the Canadian way.

My wallet has since been cleared of U.S. currency, now a probable show-and-tell item. Spending hard-earned money is relatively easy for us under two types of circumstances-a true and direct need, whether practical or emotional and the money's final destination. When televised media in the U.S. was more responsible, we would be reminded on a daily basis, ruefully, where our money was going. There came a point where I couldn't listen anymore, though grateful for "reporting" with a purpose. And although Canada's system may not be the deity's, until someone can advise me to do otherwise, I will believe in its system of spending...as much as you can believe in any. Therefore, necessity and willing participation in Canadian commerce have become a facet of the just-by-living process and progress whereby our American emigration to Canadian immigration is instilled.
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Rachel emigrated to Canada in the summer of 2006.- She has an M.A. in Teaching ESOL, and her poetry, short stories and articles have appeared in print and online. Rachel is a member of Fair Vote Canada.

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