Life Changes: I’m not playing around any more
I hinted at this last month, but here’s what’s happening in a nutshell:
- Leaving the United States
Moving to Australia or back toLiving in Canada permanently
- Taking a break and going to Hong Kong
Settle in, it’s going to be a long post, and be forewarned it’s mostly a rant about the U.S.
Leaving the United States
I am leaving the U.S. and I am not going to come back to work any time soon. Even for vacationing, I am not really sold that this is a country worth touring any longer. I’ve decided to at least see the Grand Canyon because it’s one of nature’s wonders, but otherwise, the U.S. no longer holds anything special for me. I originally left Canada for the U.S., thinking the weather would be better (and it is) and it would be more dynamic to work (and it is because of its sheer population), but I encountered the dirty underbelly of America that you can only discover while working there as a non-American. Bottom line: I’m learning how to cut my losses, so to speak, and choosing to leave. I could always find another contract or another job here to continue to live and stay, but I simply don’t want to. I was so gung-ho for this country, and I really thought it would be different, but the bloom is off the rose. No one could have told me anything to change my mind before I came here. I’m way too stubborn for that, and I had to learn the hard way.
TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANTS: LEGAL OR NOT
Legal or not, you aren’t American… and you are damn well reminded of that when you work for Americans. They treat illegal immigrants pretty badly, so I was lucky to be on the legal immigrant side. Everything in the U.S. government and in its structure, is all geared towards Americans (naturally), and I am not blaming them for favouring their own citizens, but I’m learning that Americans say one thing, but mean another. Everywhere, I hear about how much they need our skills in America, but in the end, they only want us if we’re willing to work under their rules as sub-class residents, which I consider to be a form of economic slavery. Let’s just say that I didn’t come to the U.S. a free person to willingly put myself into economic chains, so to speak. Everywhere we went, we saw illegal immigrants, and we couldn’t figure out why a country so tough on immigration (legal or not), would have so many of them clearly without papers. Then I researched into it a bit more, and realized that illegal immigration and unnamed, faceless workers are what’s keeping the country alive. The truth of it all, is the whole country seems to survive on some form of slavery, be it actual or economic.
The actual slavery, is prostitution, abuse of foreign nannies, illegal and legal immigrants working in the fields and locked up at night, picking tomatoes in the fields. It sounds like something out of some Law & Order episode, but it actually exists. I can’t tell you how many documentaries I saw on TV about all of the above. It’s really disgusting. I’m sure it happens in other countries as well as in Canada, but it seems a lot more rampant here. ……maybe because people also seem a lot less interested in the well-being of others, if they aren’t American. There seems to be a certain shielded attitude towards non-American citizens, illegal or not. I absolutely understand that illegal immigrants SHOULDN’T be in the country, but if they are, and have been working and contributing for the past 50 years with nary a peep from either side…. what is the fair thing to do? I am not claiming to know the answer or the magic solution, but there’s something very strange in the country’s lack of empathy for these situations.
The economic slavery, is partly in the form of healthcare that is wholly unaffordable for anyone who isn’t working for a company that offers it. In a company, you could be looking at about $150 a month, which is $1800 a year, but may or may not include dental or vision benefits. You could also work for a company who doesn’t offer healthcare, or offers less than what you might expect as basic healthcare. A freelancer however, pays about $1000/month net for basic healthcare, and for full-service healthcare, it’s $2000/month. This all works out to at least $12,000 – $24,000 or more, net a year in healthcare costs alone. NET!
…BUT IT COULD BE MUCH WORSE FOR YOU
If you are an illegal immigrant, forget even thinking about healthcare. That is the least of your worries. You don’t even have access to such services because you have to deal with a different kind of economic slavery. As an illegal immigrant, you directly support and pay into Social Security and Medicare for American citizens, without actually being able to claim that money when you go to retire.
Furthermore, if you’ve ever wondered HOW Americans can produce all-you-can-eat meals for $10 per person and still turn a profit, you should consider that there’s probably an army of illegal immigrants behind the scenes, working for less than $7.25 an hour (minimum wage), making up for the difference. If you truly wanted to make everyone pay a FAIR working wage, and have FAIR policies towards all people in terms of healthcare and social support, you’d end up with a country like Sweden, where everything is horribly expensive, because that’s the fair price for a just society that provides for each resident and/or citizen.
Photograph I took in Sweden
I remember visiting Stockholm and gasping at their prices, but in contrast, I’d rather live on less in Stockholm in such a society that is fair to everyone, than in the U.S. where everything is cheap, but is built on the enslavement of others. Slavery is built and fully integrated with supporting to the U.S. system, and it is everywhere if you pay attention and start asking rational questions about how things work. Everyone is supporting this either directly as business owners, or indirectly as consumers, willingly or unwillingly. Again… I’m not saying whether this is wrong or right, but for me it’s part of the reason why I’m not staying here. Interestingly enough, Bob Dylan just made a statement recently about how the slavery stigma has ruined America.
The veteran musician tells Rolling Stone that in America “people (are) at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color,” adding that “it will hold any nation back.” …he doubts the country can get rid of the shame because it was “founded on the backs of slaves.” He also says blacks know that some whites “didn’t want to give up slavery.”
Well Bob, I’m of the belief slavery is still alive and well, just in a different, more subtle but malicious form.
U.S. POLITICS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT
Okay, so I never realized this until living in the U.S., but Canada is pretty reasonable. Boring, but reasonable and stable as a country. Only in the U.S., you have people in government like Todd Akin saying things like “legitimate rape” on TV, and people are actually publicly supporting his lunacy, or more ridiculousness like Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke (a student who asked about birth control), a ‘slut’ — he didn’t just do this offhandedly, he purposefully, deliberately, spent 3 hours a day on his show for a WEEK, calling her a prostitute.
It’s like saying the following:
What I think everyone may be forgetting, is that women are 50% of the population, and young women in particular are increasingly starting to earn more than their male counterparts. Essentially, for some Americans there is such a thing as good, acceptable rape versus bad, wrong rape… and that women who are responsible, and take birth control and expect such medical coverage from their employers (such as myself), are sluts. I can’t imagine any of those words and thoughts even being blurted out of anyone’s mouth in Canada on any public forum and surviving. I remember Kim Campbell back in the day, vying to be Prime Minister, making fun of Jean Chretien’s partial facial paralysis. Her career was instantly over without a whimper with such a fierce public lash back to her appalling ad, and Chretien was the clear winner. Aside from all this lunacy, you also have these parties on both sides spending millions of dollars (and corporations supporting them too), in campaigning to become the President of the U.S. Why don’t you take that money and take care of the residents of the U.S.? Did you know there are 16 million kids who are starving in the U.S.? Why are they talking about helping the rest of the world, when they can’t even take care of their own? It’s all so ridiculous, it can only happen in the U.S. (I am not saying the Democrats are 100% amazing either and I don’t necessarily agree with or support everything they do, but all the stupid comments can’t seem to stop flying out of Republican mouths.)
AMERICANS MAKE MONEY, BUT LIVE LOW QUALITY LIVES
Lastly, there are plenty of articles (I even heard it a number of times during political debates) on how there is a lot of money to be made in the U.S., but they just fail on meeting the basics of a good, solid society because there’s just too much money. They make lots of money as individuals, but they aren’t happy because the income disparity between citizens is too high, so it becomes a low quality, and POOR life for many.
Not to mention that they basically eat junk food and call it a meal. I know this isn’t 100% of Americans, but let’s face it.. they’re the fattest nation in the world for a reason, and it DIRECTLY affects their healthcare costs because they have to pop pills on a daily basis to stave off disease and delay death caused by their own lack of proper nutrition and eating habits. Chips, greasy hamburgers, mystery meat hotdogs and anything void of a vegetable or fruit resembling its former shape and glory, is not a meal that you can eat on a daily basis. Junk food and eating out is fine, but not 100% of the time. Drinking soda and other sugary fruit juices is fine, but not 100% of the time. It’s like there’s an allergy to eating real, natural food in the U.S. Everything has to be transformed, covered in oil, some sort of fat, or super salty and/or sugary. That is.. unless you’re willing to fork over $$$$$$$$ to go to really nice restaurants or buy organic, wholesome foods; but I’m willing to bet that the majority of America can’t afford that, nor can they understand why they’d eat a celery stick instead of a potato chip. It was kind of sad really. One of the richest countries in the world, has most of its people eating junk, rather than real food.
NO REGRETS, EXCEPT FOR THE SHOPPING
It isn’t as awesome as I remember it being or imagining it to be. Only the shopping is amazing here. Let it be said, that the United States is the #1 country in the world for shopping, both online and in-store because of their free shipping and free returns.
(Although I would rule out all U.S. pharmacies and eyeglass stores in this assessment, as I find they are FAR BETTER in Canada in terms of variety and stock. Go Shoppers!)
That’s it. Otherwise, I don’t regret anything — the move, the living here, the whole change in my life. I HAD to come here and be in the thick of things to realize all of these things. I’m just happy it didn’t take me 10 years before I realized all of this. I’m also very lucky that I’m able to leave, unlike many who live in this country and don’t have a better country to go back to. You have no idea how grateful I am to my parents not having moved to the U.S. instead.
Moving to Australia or staying in Canada?
So.. my next step? I left Canada, mainly because 6 months out of the year, it’s too cold to do anything. I know it sounds trivial to leave a country that is otherwise fine to work in just because of the weather, but this is not the way I want to live, hiding out in my apartment, whining about how cold it is. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can basically work anywhere I want in the world, so I want to make sure I make the best choice for myself before I commit. I thought long and hard about going to Australia. I’ve even spent $
1000 $600 in the process of doing it, but I’m pulling the plug on the whole thing. I’ve been thinking about it for the past 2 weeks, and I’m staying in Canada. For good this time. It’s really one of the best countries in the world, aside from the weather, and I’ll just have to STFU, and learn how to live through 6 months of a nasty winter without whining. I’ll just travel a lot.
Traveling for the year in the meantime
My map of Macau when I visited
So… I really want to go on one vacation. I’m really exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. I am going to Hong Kong for a month, getting everything set up and ready. Then I’m going to go full speed ahead in 2013 for working in Canada. Savings and higher net worth, here I come!