Saturday, April 30, 2011

Importing the car to Canada. FINALLY, it's done.

Last month, I presented to you a post about importing my car into Canada.  At that point, I had not obtained vehicle form 1 (the import form) because I was told I did not need it at the border.  In actuality, I DID need it, and so I had to take a trip all the way out to Pearson airport (on the other side of Toronto) to get it.  But now, the whole process is done, and my car is (almost) plated.

So, let's sum up, shall we?  For an American temporary resident in Canada, I needed the following things to import my little Toyota to Canada.  Things are listed in the order I got them.

-An Ontario driver's license.  This is pretty simple to get, and you only have to bring proof of residence.  I got it back in March, and I now have my real license instead of the paper one.  They confiscated my Pennsylvania license and gave me a copy in case I should ever need it.

-Vehicle form 1.  Very important and absolutely essential.  I went to the back entrance of Pearson and got it.  Because I am a temporary resident, all fees were waived, and I got a beautifully signed and stamped receipt and Vehicle Form 1 for a grand total of..... $0.  There were no RIV fees, no air cond fees, no gas mileage fees.

-Safety and emissions inspection.  To get the car plated in Ontario, it needs to pass the Drive Clean program.  Additionally, it needs to pass the safety requirements to get a Safety Standard Certificate.  Total cost should be around $100 for both of these.  Princess was a little lacking, so I needed some work done to pass safety (see below).

-Daytime running lights.  Ugh.  HUGE ripoff.  I have the option of turning Princess' lights off; hence, they needed to render that impossible, to the tune of over $200.  I asked them if I could just turn the knob to keep the lights on all the time, and they said no.  So now the lights are constantly running (except when the car is off, of course).  I don't like it, but it's essential for Canada.

-New brakes.  This was 100% my fault.  They told me in Pennsylvania last October that the brakes were rusting, but by the time I took Princess to get inspected, the brakes were totally rusted through.  New rotors and everything needed.  My total bill with the lights, safety, emissions, and brakes came up to about $700.  But now my little trooper is all fixed up and roadworthy.

-Title and registration.  I already had these.  I'd say they're essential to the process, but I think only the title is. Because I had my registration, they just took that.  I made copies of them beforehand because I didn't know what they would take and keep.  See below for what they did with them.

-Insurance.  Oh boy.  My insurance in Ontario is over 100% higher than it was in the U.S.  I got it through CAA, and I was walked through the process very professionally.  I also purchased roadside assistance.  My temporary insurance cards were emailed to me, so I could present proof of insurance.

I gathered allllllll these essential things up, trooped over to my local Service Ontario kiosk which is also a branch of the Ministry of Transportation, and obtained....

-My license plates!  Imagine me holding up my plates like Link holds up the Triforce.  That's how momentous this was.  The plates + registration for 1 year came out to about $90.  The Pennsylvania title was stamped "registered in Ontario" and given back to me.  The Service Ontario staff member helping out the guy who did all this for me said it was because "these things cost like $150 in the States, and we don't want them to have to get a new one."  This is the first time Ontario has expressed interest in saving me money.  However, my PA registration was confiscated, and I didn't get it back.  Instead, it was replaced with an Ontario registration, which doubles as a title essentially.  So I went in with all the stuff above, and I left minus my PA registration, but with an Ontario registration and front/back plates.

-Holes drilled in the front of Princess.  Poor Princess doesn't have a place for a front plate, only having been plated in Georgia and Pennsylvania, which do not require front plates.  I have to get holes drilled and bolts put in, but this should only be about $20.  This is the last thing I need to do before she becomes truly Canadian!

So yeah, the process is long and costly, and I'm so, so glad it's over.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Funny U.S. vs. Canadian words, part 2

By far, the most popular post on my blog so far (and the most searched) is Funny U.S. vs. Canadian words, part 1.  Those were pretty general, and I've learned some more.  The terms for things are just slightly different enough that I understand the words, but used in a context I'm not used to, I just get lost and have to ask for an explanation.  As a disclaimer, a lot of these are education-related (I do work at a university, after all), and many of them were observed from Ontario natives.  American English first, then Canadian equivalents.

"As-falt" = "Ash-falt."  Or, in the words of one Ontario native, "Ash-vault."  Asphalt, people!

Governor = premier.  Basically, the leader of a state = leader of a province.  For me, it's Dalton McGuinty.  Learnin' my politics!

Grades = marks.  Not incomprehensible, just a term you don't hear much in the U.S.

Napkin = serviette.  Ah, a French influence!

Nonprofit = not-for-profit.  I wouldn't have noticed it, but it looks so British!

"Pah-sta" = "Pasta."  I had no idea how to convey the Canadian pronounciation, but it's a flat a, like in "at."  I make great amounts of fun of them for this.

Powdered sugar = icing sugar.  It took me a minute to figure it out.

"Prah-cess" = "prohcess."  My way of saying process now sounds downright twangy.

Proctoring = invigilating.  In other words, watching university students take an exam.  Oh, wait, I mean WRITE an exam (see below).  One of the more boring jobs of a grad student, but it makes money.

Silverware/flatware = cutlery.  Oh, Americans, they think we are HILARIOUS for saying silverware, especially when we talk about plastic silverware.  I am guilty of this infraction.

Taking exams = writing exams.  This is a major point of confusion, because whenever someone tells me they wrote an exam, I think they created it.

Teacher workday = professional development/professional activity day.  Days that students get off so that teachers can catch up or do workshops.

xth grade = grade x.  For example, "The advanced school has them learning grade 11 math in grade 10."

Every day, I collect more funny Canadian words, so it's likely that there will be a part 3!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Accepting complements in science

Taking compliments to heart is something I need to learn to do.  People wouldn't go out of their way to tell you they felt a certain way if they didn't really feel that way, right? (Unless there's some deviousness afoot)

Case in point:  I gave a talk about the wonders of the nanoworld to a crowd of around 100 at Nerd Nite Toronto on Thursday night.  The talk went just as I wanted it to go, my ad-lib was ON, people laughed at my jokes, and I got lots of compliments afterwards. 

Me right before giving THE TALK.

I know it went well, but the one thing I can't help but dwell upon is the one question I couldn't answer.  This question was regarding alpha particle emission from gold nanoparticles/clusters.  We don't talk about nanoparticles in terms of nuclear reactions, and I embarrassingly didn't even remember that an alpha particle is basically a helium nucleus, so I froze a bit and really had no answer.  Upon talking to the asker later, I found out he was interested because of his job, but that still didn't make the question easier to answer.

I guess it keeps me human in science, though.  If you're just praised all the time and not faced with adversity, you're never going to grow.  The opposite is true as well.  I could give a talk on metal nanoparticles drunk and blind, but it could always be better.  Compliments tell me I'm on the right track, and roadblocks spur me to improve.