We bought a car yesterday.
The tricky thing about buying a car (which was and has been a blow to my ego since I arrived in Texas for good) is that I did not have credit.
Ms. Responsible, Ms. Good Credit in Canada translated to Mrs. Zero Credit in Texas. Once you immigrate you see, you start from zero. That will also count for my driving record as far as insurance agencies go. I will be classified at the same rate as a 16 year old with no driving history.
These are the things that you don’t think about when you excitedly plan to join the love of your life in another country. Or how much your accent (or lack of an accent) will make you stick out, allowing every single Walmart girl to comment “Where YOU from anyhow?” in a loud voice making your face turn red while a line up of Americans behind you evaluate you like you are from another planet.
Let me specify a few things about adjusting to life in Texas. Just because I say that it is ‘different’ does not mean that I am devaluing it or putting it down. Not in the least. But for a new immigrant here is what it is like for me:
- The traffic lights are horizontal not vertical. This messes me up a little especially in the left turn lane.
- All the food labels are different. All of them. All the brands I grew up cooking with and loving, well… they aren’t here in Texas. So food shopping is an adventure as I learn all new brands through trial and error (and sometimes ‘yuck’).
- They drive faster here (this excites me actually).
- I find SOME Texan’s to be abrupt. This is mostly at gas stations and grocery stores, and of course the mecca of manners, Walmart.
- It is hot as hell here. Not exaggerating. It can be more than 33C at 9:00 a.m. in the morning. Kind of like opening your front door to an oven.
- It is not as affluent here. This is a good thing as far as house prices but different in terms of culture. Things are cheaper here but people make less money in general. That being said… Toronto house prices can kiss my butt. At least I CAN buy a house here. Sheesh…
- There are no sidewalks here (in our town). I like walking. I have to drive to a park to get a walk in and without a car, let’s say that I was climbing the walls unable to go for a nice long (and safe) power walk.
Strategic about everything, step one was the move. Step two was the wedding. Step three was a car (which was bumped for a month due to health costs for one of the twins). Step three (b) was a car (which was bumped a couple more weeks for another health care related bill) … yes I am missing free healthcare in Canada.
Step three (c) was buying a car yesterday. And since I had no credit and they were going to base it only on Kevin’s single income and his credit, we didn’t know if we’d be able to. But it worked out and my car payment for my 2012 Elantra Limited Edition is $343.60 per month. About what my old car payment was for (sniff) my red Jetta that went to an early grave thanks to the dumbass lady from Michigan who…
I digress. Frequently. Get used to it.
I have a car *smile*. This means I can:
- Drive to the grocery store anytime I want to create some fabulous meal for us during the week when he’s not home.
- Drive to the park to take the dogs midday when that writers wall hits me or I get fatigued from too much computer time.
- Get a gym membership.
- Look for writers groups. I will walk in with a sign on my forehead that reads “Hi I am Canadian and a loser with no friends in this State … would you like to be my friend? I make this really great banana bread… when not blowing up Pyrex dishes.”
I don’t hate Texas. I don’t think I will have a bad life here or a ‘horrible life’ at all. But lets be a little honest. I have been here since May 7th. It’s been 11 weeks! And when I say it is ‘different’ it is dramatically different from Toronto / Alliston and even the armpit that was my life borderside in Windsor Ontario (you know I did that simply to be away from my parents drama and affordably close to the domestic airport in Michigan right?)
Eleven weeks landed does not a Texan make. But I am working so hard to pay off the wedding quickly, pay for immigration (that was a hefty $1,100 bill this month), pay for health incidentals for Logan, run my business, integrate myself into his family and try… somehow to find the time and budget to maybe make myself a female acquaintance in the area to do stuff with.
And all the while I have been piling work and spending next to nothing, diverting everything to bills I haven’t particularly felt human. My Canadian clothes are too hot for a Texas summer and I’ve been asked a few times why I don’t go shopping.
“Well uh… I mean, my business is so busy I just don’t have the time.”
Why don’t I accept invitations from certain family members to do fun things?
“Well uh… we’re super strapped for cash given all the unexpected expenses we haven’t caught our breath yet.” <— That would be the honest response.
Instead I say “Well uh… I mean, my business is so busy I just don’t have the time.” Which isn’t entirely untrue just… easier somehow than saying:
WE ARE BUDGETED ON A STRATEGIC TRAJECTORY THAT GETS US ON TRACK IN A NEW HOUSE ASAP!
Trust me… I’d love to haul ass to the MAC store in Dallas and drop $150. All my make up was bought from CVS and that is just fine right now. I know how to spend, I simply CHOOSE other goals.
In a few months we hope to be in a new, larger rental house with a garage (so I can save the money on storage). Then Lori get’s to really have fun and start hunting for great pieces of furniture (I found a consignment store in McKinney with the dreamiest used stuff… Queen Anne chairs and over sized distressed leather couches (used high end posh stuff in great shape).
Nothing in my house will match. Nothing in my life does either. And maybe when people ask me to do things, or imply that I am not allowing myself to get used to Texas I will be bluntly honest with them.
I’m spending less than I have by paying more than I have to accelerate the process to where we are in a house we feel comfortable in for a few years. That’s my goal.
And then maybe that mysterious thing called cash savings can start to accumulate again. I had that once, before I decided to make my Mother’s problems my own. I’d like to get back there asap.
It’s too overwhelming to think of it all at once. I’m trying to take it one step forward at a time. And to be honest with you, I’m incredibly fucking proud of myself.
I haven’t given up once. And I really wanted to many times in the last year, but he was worth it. He still is.
And he is proud of me too.