Sunday, August 13, 2017

An update on the move

We continue to settle into our new neighborhood.

The smoke from all the fires in BC blew out of the Vancouver area yesterday as the wind changed. Last night we had rain for the first time, and it was lovely.

The moving truck brought our stuff a few days ago and we are unpacking the important items. Since this is only a rental, we're not unpacking everything, but we are making good progress on getting things setup for regular use.

We have BC driver's licenses, and it appears we finally understand enough about car registration and insurance to deal with that this coming week. Both of those items were interesting but in different ways.

On the driver's license issue, we went to an ICBC office and the process of getting BC driver's licenses is simple: write down your new address, show them your passport, give them your old license and $31 (CAD), answer a couple of questions about driving, get your picture taken, and done. They give you a printed, temporary license on the spot and keep your old one. All too easy. The amusing thing is that we were told it could take up to two months for our new licenses to arrive in the mail, but they actually arrived in a week. Not bad.

Car registration and insurance is something else, however. There are two groups that seem to be at odds with each other. The federal government controls vehicle imports into Canada, and their people - the Border Services Agency - told us this was easy. Because we're here on my student visa, we're only temporarily importing the cars, so we're exempt from vehicle inspections and compliance requirements, just as if we drove them across the border as tourists. They issued us the paperwork and told us that was the case, and I confirmed it several times, with different Border Services people.

The insurance and registration side - handled by the ICBC (the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) - has a different story. When you find a competent insurance person (and a couple we tried early on were not competent, or were rude, or both) they tell you that we still have to get the vehicles inspected to register and insure them. And that inspection will be sure they pass the rules, which include a requirement for DRLs (Daytime Running Lights).

How to resolve those conflicting statements?

It appears that the Border Services people are right, but only about federal level vehicle inspections and requirements. We're exempt from those. But we are not exempt from BC level inspections and requirements.

So after a week of trying to figure it out, we are doing the inspections. The newer car passed with no problem. The older car doesn't have DRLs, but I did eventually find a local dealer that claims they can install them this coming Tuesday. Then we can get it inspected and assuming it passes - which it should - we can register and insure them both.

This is complicated by the fact that the insurance on the older car was going to run out a couple of days ago (I extended it at the last moment) and by the fact that registration on the older car ends at the end of August. So getting this done in a hurry was the plan, but we didn't manage to get it done quickly enough to beat the insurance ending. Oh well. This can be handled.

Given I am already registered for classes and orientation at the school I am attending, I suspect my dealings with bureaucratic world are done for a while. Anne is dealing with registering for provincial health insurance and work stuff, so she's in the thick of it still.

There are also interesting bits about getting mail from the US to Canada. We had one package of forwarded mail go into a black hole in the US for 10 days with (so far) no explanation. When it finally arrives (we hope in a couple of days) we might figure out what happened. Another forwarded package seems to be on the cusp of arriving in good time. And a birthday card sent for me is now 13 days into delivery and we have no clue where it is. So we're still working this mail thing out. Thankfully the person forwarding things for me in the US gets tracking numbers, and those have been helpful.

We're walking a lot - enough to lose some weight - and will be using transit the bulk of the time we need to move around, which is interesting and different from our US environment. School promises to be fun and I look forward to writing about it here.

That's about it for now. We wish all our friends and family only the best!