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A Great Time to be in Alberta
A Great Time to be in AlbertaFebruary 4th, 2006 · stk
Sunny Days: Winter has been nearly non-existent this year. Notice the relative lack of snow on the ground? It was windy and chilly today, despite the sunshine. The Oop is bundled up snugly, though her nose is red.
Little did we know that when we moved from British Columbia to Alberta, half-way through 2004, we were timing our arrival perfectly. At the time, we were just happy that Rachel had been accepted into the after-degree nursing programs at both UofC and UofA. We chose Edmonton and have been happy with the decision (though we sometimes wonder if living in Calagary - which is four times closer to the Canadian Rockies than Edmonton - would have been a better choice for us).
Regardless, we can't complain.
Housing prices are reasonable here, as measured by Vancouver standards. We're renting an entire 3-bedroom house, complete with a finished basement, detached garage and a large, fenced yard (with a swing-set for Alex), at a price only a little more that what we paid for a cold, dark, 1-bedroom, basement suite in the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster.
Sure, the first winter was a shock for a California transplanted boy and Vancouver-raised girl (and to think that the neighbors remarked, "Oh no, it was mild winter." Are they crazy?) The difficulty of our first winter was undoubtedly exacerbated by having a 1-year-old Alex at home, all day. Because she wasn't yet walking well, going out-of-doors in minus degree weather wasn't a real possibility, so we experienced a tad bit of 'cabin-fever', as the winter bore on.
Of course, summers are absolutely glorious here and while we were gone for all of July last year, we'll be staying here, this summer. Rachel will be doing a 'practicum' at a local hospital, her last requirement before graduation. We're both looking forward to the summer ... great weather ... no more classes, term papers or final exams ... yay!
Our good fortune in Alberta continued, as we realized that we qualified for a Provencial child-care subsidy. As a full-time student, Rachel is a pauper. As a brand new transplant from the United States, trying to get a home business going, Scott's income doesn't put us in a high tax bracket. We took advantage of the program and we're glad we did. Alex LOVES the social interaction she gets at "school" and Scott has shifted focus from being "Mr. Mom" to Mr. Handy-man and a fledgeling web-developer.
Our good timing was also evident, as we were here to for Alberta's Centennial celebrations, not that we really partook. On centennial day, we rode our bikes to Fort Edmonton Park, because they were having an 'open house'. We celebrated by reflecting on Edmonton's roots, dating back to the 1800's, when it was a fur trapping, trading post, run by the Hudson's Bay Company. We had a fun time (till the end) and even wrote a journal entry about it.
And our good timing became very evident last week. It marked the end of January. Winter has been non-existent this year and spring is right around the corner. Yahoo! Then, buried in our normal bills and advertisement junk mail, were checks from the Alberta Provincial governemnt for $1200.00. Wow!