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Foreigner's Perspective on Canada and the US
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Tiger Beer]Colorado....It's always rated as one of the 'thinnest' and 'healthiest' on most polls.[/quote]

This startled me. At first, I thought you were saying they were poor.

Thanks for the tour guide of the Southwest.
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jg



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 1233
Location: Ralph Lauren Pueblo

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Would like to go to West but hate to drive!!!! Do people in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado et al stay home all the time unless they live inside a city? The warmer climate beckons however, so I hope to figure this out.

Quote:

China is a huge country and even more diverse


For someone well-traveled and familiar with many areas you are pretty naive. You seem to want wild generalizations about large areas, as well as hold many of your own.

One example:
You'd like to, on one hand, claim that China is more diverse than the US - how? Certainly not based on ethnicity. Religiously? Economically? Culture? Where in China are there communities of foreign immigrants who have set up de facto versions of their homeland? Chicago has the most Poles outside of Warsaw, Only the capital of Puerto Rico has more Boricua than New York. Koreans in LA, Colombians in Florida... I lived in China for several years, speak the language, and now work for a China-related firm here in the US. I agree China doesn't get enough credit for diversity but come on. Just how familar are you with China? There are more Japanese in Shanghai than anywhere else outside of Tokyo yet you'd be hard pressed to see any examples of Japanese culture/presence outside of restaurants and an expat school. The reasons for this are myriad, of course, but I would really like to hear you talk more on this subject.

And Canada is at least as diverse.

Better to ask about a specific city/neighborhood, instead of saying "Arizona". Its not so difficult to do a bit of web research to narrow it down to a more manageable area. Would you expect Phoenix to be like Flagstaff, or like Prescott? A good deal of the southern portion of the state is desert, and the border is wildly different from the artsy/monied areas of Sedona. I can tell you, having gone to college in New Mexico, that in the more rural areas there are some people who sit at home, and others who are really really outdoorsy.There are small towns and barrios where lots of people speak Spanish... and Native American communities with even more difference, wealthy, new-agey areas like Santa Fe have pockets of poverty and working class influence. Colorado, like Tiger Beer says, has a lot of ultra-fit outdoorsy/fitness enthusiasts, but there are also ordinary porkbutt Americans. People like me.Smile

Quote:
In all three places I had problems with professional services and had to seek redress. In NY, the people scream at you and curse you, but it is really easy to find people to defend you and go after the crooked merchant, often with good results. It's like everyone is looking for a good fight, and with so many lawyers and law students, they can be quite good at it.


Are you really saying that when you had a "problem with professional services" people usually resorted to screaming AND cursing? It happened often enough in all 3 places that you feel comfy with this statement? How many times did you need to secure a lawyer? Kind of bizarre.

Quote:
In a small village in Croatia, there is no garbage, everything gets used, even the breadcrumbs after dinner are conserved to throw to the chickens and anything else edible goes to the pigs. Plastic bottles are strung up in the fields on lines to shoo off the birds. My cousin was saying how everyone gets divorced in America. He would never get divorced...he COULD never get divorced. No one would let him. My other cousin IS divorced and NO ONE will shut up about it. Needless to say, I am considered a pariah.


The amount of food waste is usually a function of wealth, environment and of highly industrialized societies. If you want to understand what the difference between North America and other places is, there are better places to start than what pig/chicken owners in Croatia do with their leftovers. By the time most North Americans purchase pigs or chickens the poor animals have already had their last meal. Sad

Quote:

In America, people go on gasoline strikes to defend their rights to consume and pollute. Only a few months visit, I can't figure it out yet.


Gasoline strike? Whats that, and where was it? Based on your "right to consume and pollute" comment and some of the others, I'd say you aren't as much looking for insight into American culture as looking to attack it. Fair enough, but at least be sensible in your statements and honest about your intent.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

''I lived in China for several years, speak the language''

THE language!

Back to the subject, all of Dave's forum concerns advising about living and working in other countries, and the US and Canada are other countries to a lot of people. How can you not realise that??????????????

Canada appears to be diverse, in that one will find many immigrants from myriad countries of origin within its borders. HOWEVER, insofar as recent immigrants, there are an awful lot of engineers in their late 30s and early 40s, making them class-wise a highly heterogeneous bunch.

In a parallel sense, a friend of mine and I were joking about how Greenpoint, Brooklyn apears to be a wholly Polish neighbourhood -- but of a kind that would never exist in Poland. It's entirely working class, whereas in Europe, people lived all mixed together. Many people came from Poland with contractors who brought guileless Poles to New York to perform asbestos abatement in the 1980s and 1990s. I saw the Polish language advertisements and I was at hospital with many of them for respiratory problems.

Both countries seem very concerned about assimilation and one-language policies. I was recently reading about English Plus, a group organising in response to the English Only movement, and whose tenets are that multilingualism would benefit American society. It is really surprising to me that foreign language education in both countries is not taken as seriously as maths or sciences, which of course may impact my prospects.

Well, my daughter is screaming at me to play with her, and being spoiled by the usual 10 hours of assimilation she experiences per day in Montreal, I am lazily missing my chance to provide her with the a multicultural balance. Personally, I am looking for commentary about about living and working as a language professional in the two countries mentioned above, and ultrapersonally I am looking for a spot within these two countries that has some clean air. So ciao for now.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Canada or USA? Reply with quote

Oh, Vanken, the distances are much too great to travel around with small child, and lodging in US and Canada is very expensive.

I have to laugh, because we often discuss this attitude in Canada: I'm not going to tell you, you have to find out for yourself. This is such a difference to other cultures. I have a feeling, however, that it is related to the low crime in Canada.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12050
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:45 pm    Post subject: The Southwest is the best Reply with quote

I've lived in both Colorado (Cortez, Four Corners area) and New Mexico (Santa Fe 2003 to the present.)
In my experience, many/most people who live here, inside a city or outside of one, don't "stay home all the time" simply because the great outdoors in New Mexico (and the Southwest in general) offers so many great alternatives: hiking, camping, rock-climbing, skiing, sightseeing, hunting (I never do it, but it's popular), fishing (Well, not so much in New Mexico; it's pretty arid here. But there IS some), visiting ancient ruins (in New Mexico, one of the most fascinating is Chaco Canyon, a World Heritage Site, where the ruins of the dwellings of the old Pueblo people, sometimes called the Anasazi, are):

http://www.nps.gov/history/worldheritage/chaco.htm

Santa Fe is, in my opinion, a great place to live/visit. It's small enough (about 75,000) to get around in easily, but big enough to supply everything one needs:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Santa-Fe-New-Mexico.html

I'm not so fond of Albuquerque - too big (population: over 800,000), too noisy, too many gangs, too much crime (According to FBI statistics, Albuquerque ranks 37th of the 100 largest cities in the country for violent crime per capita. Tthe metro area as a whole which includes Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrence and Valencia Counties ranks 22nd in the nation when compared to the country's 358 metropolitan areas.), but the rest of the state is just great.
I also loved my time in Colorado, in the small town (around 9000 people) of Cortez. There's just so many outside activities to do within a 50 mile radius: Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Hovenweep, Chaco, Aztec - the list goes on and on. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the world is here in the Southwest (that's why they so often feature it in those *&%$#@ SUV commercials.)
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Re: The Southwest is the best Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Some of the most beautiful scenery in the world is here in the Southwest (that's why they so often feature it in those *&%$#@ SUV commercials.)


It really looks like that? I assumed that they were computer generated. There must be enhancement because the colours are so vivid and the cars are impossibly perched. Anyhow, it looks beautiful.

Santa Fe is extremely expensive, but I've also heard that Albq is not expensive, but not so nice either. Rio Rancho?

BTW have you been to West Texas, Marfa, Del Rio, San Angelo, Mexican border? Harlingen and Angelo have detention centres where lawyers and interpreterswork pro bono, many children held there in separation of their parents. Probably paid ESL work there, too. Might be hard to live in surrounding conservative community.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12050
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Vanica,
Computer-generated? Well, maybe, but I can see scenery that looks as good or better not far from where I live. But I've always wondered how they get those *&%$#@ things up on top of those "no road" mesas.
This, after all, is "The Land of Enchantment" not "The Land of Enhancement."
Santa Fe can be extremely expensive, agreed. But would a semi-retired EFL/ESL teacher be living there if it were TOO expensive?
There's a fair amount of low to middle income housing in addition to all those McMansions up around Canyon Road.
Albuquerque's definitely cheaper (in more ways than one), but Rio Rancho's a good alternative, not as cheap as much of Albuquerque, not as expensive as much of Santa Fe.
I've only passed though the West Texas area - again, I'd say it's nice country, not very expensive at all to live in, but, as you mentioned, a pinko, Commie-loving, tree-hugging liberal might find the townspeople storming his house with torches and a long rope some dark and stormy night.
Here in Santa Fe we're in the majority.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your ideas, John. Can you tell me what are schools like in Santa Fe? For teaching and for one's own children.

Any tips for visiting Santa Fe? Fly to ABQ? Advisable to rent a car?

Pinko!!! Yes, this is a recurring problem in the US. The Dem-Rep division is supposed to be 49-51, but it feels like there are only isolated islands amidst an ocean of racists with guns. Here in Quebec, it's a French v English thing, but they're mostly all tree-hugging, plastic-bag banning, pro-choice, sames-sex marrying, it goes without saying. ROC, environmentalism doesn't seem to apply to the oil sands and there is anti-Native racism, still everyone is supposed to care about all peoples and the environment -- it was on my citizenship test!
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12050
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:44 am    Post subject: Holy Faith Reply with quote

Dear Vanica,
Ah, the schools. Well, the good news is that the lower grades are quite good, but the two high schools, Capital High and Santa Fe High, leave a lot to be desired, both for students and teachers.
Also good news is that all the private schools are very high-quality. And, of course, the community college, where I work, is very good (How could it not be, with me being there.)
Yup, you'd have to fly into Duke City (what Albuquerque's often called around here and there is a good shuttle service from the airport that you could use to make the hour-long trip up to Santa Fe. But sooner or later, you'd probably want to rent a car, anyway.
Well, I suspect that in the coming election, the split will be more like 54/46, Democrats/Republicans. Even some of the less rabid right-wingers are getting disgusted with Bush & Co. But actually a more realistic split, I'd say, would be 20% Republicans, 20% Democrats and 60% who don't really care that much and will go for whoever is the best liar/promiser.
Any more questions? Please don't hesitate to ask/
Regards,
John
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what people say here in Montreal, Kindergarten is wonderful, Primary is very good, but things start downhill during the middle years.

How is real estate right now in Santa Fe?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12050
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Vanica,
It's still rather high, but it does seem to be going down (due, perhaps, at least in part to the "credit/mortgage crisis.")
According to CNN Money, homes here have been overpriced by about 21%.
Here's a very recent article about that:

"Santa Fe's real-estate market is not the disaster it is elsewhere in the United States, but home sales have softened over the past year as credit requirements tighten and sales stall elsewhere. That leaves prospective buyers unable to close deals on Santa Fe property.

Buyers also face more requirements on loans as lenders require better credit scores, proof of income and higher down payments. But buyers with good credit are better off in another way median home prices declined in Santa Fe at the end of 2007, according to newly released numbers.

The median sales price in the city of Santa Fe fell 3.4 percent in October and 5 percent in November compared with the same months in 2006. The median sales price in the city stood at $350,000 in November. In 2006, the median price in November was $362,000."

for more, please go to the link below:

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:xj2WFaVGek4J:www.santafenewmexican.com/SantaFeNorthernNM/Housing_market_Slowdown_struggles+real+estate+in+Santa+Fe+NM+prices+are+going+down&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

Hope this helps.
Regards,
John
P.S. We used to own, but now we rent.
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
P.S. We used to own, but now we rent.


Oh, then you can pick up a good deal if one comes along!
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12050
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:07 pm    Post subject: The Money Pit Reply with quote

Dear Vanica,
Well, we ARE looking. But, to tell you the truth, renting has its advantages.
The house we owned had "bad pipes", and we spent literally thousands digging up the front yard and breaking into the walls when something leaked.
It's kind of nice NOT to have to worry about any of that now. The landlady here has been great. On those few occasions when something went wrong, it was fixed right away.
Ownership IS good - but it does have its drawbacks. So does renting - it's a question of what matters more to you.
Regards,
John
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Vanica



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Construction standards are not always so great in North America.




Construction standards in North America, to rent or to own! The problem with renting is when they don't come to fix, and the problem with owning is when they come to fix and present the bill. The building we used to rent in burned down and the house we used to own just lost a bunch of roof tiles and has two foundation cracks. In Europe, you move in and...that's it.
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 754
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Re: The Southwest is the best Reply with quote

Vanica wrote:
BTW have you been to West Texas, Marfa, Del Rio, San Angelo, Mexican border? Harlingen and Angelo have detention centres where lawyers and interpreterswork pro bono, many children held there in separation of their parents. Probably paid ESL work there, too. Might be hard to live in surrounding conservative community.

I've been to Harligen and that entire area. It's predominately Mexican-American with a lot of winter snowbirds (northerners) who come down in the winter.

Harlingen in particular feels like any small town in America, but nearly every single person you meet and see is of Mexican ethnicity. I see more non-hispanic white people walking around Seoul Korea than I did around Harlingen and Brownsville - not a bad thing, I kinda liked it. The towns there felt very laid-back and just regular small-townish like anywhere else in the U.S. Football mascots and high schools and shopping malls and all the regular fastfood and chain stores abound.
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