I've been in Halifax for just over 1 week, and in that time have decided to stay here, begun looking for a job, scored 3 interviews, acquired a car (a nice 2000 Volvo) and started looking at apartments (mostly on the Dartmouth side). I've also managed to not spend all my money I brought from Russia!
Not bad for one week! The job market in Halifax is actually very, very healthy. There are literally thousands of jobs and, when coupled with the very affordable housing prices, it makes living here seem like a no-brainer. The area is scenically beautiful; different than British Columbia, with it's soaring mountains and placid Pacific coastlines, but beautiful in it's own rugged, unspoiled north-Atlantic way. It's the people here that put Nova Scotia miles above British Columbia.
Friendliness is everywhere. People stop on the street and say "Hello". They make eye contact here and smile. They do it all with a laid-back, confident style. The people are extremely helpful. Just yesterday I was driving the new car with a temporary license in the window (waiting for new plates to be made) and a cop pulled me over. It was my first pull-over in 2 years! Anyways the cop, a young guy, approached the car behind the driver window (and I kept both hands on the wheel so he could see them) and then said "Sorry."!
He continued. "I didn't see your temp [temporary plate]. If I could have your license and registration and insurance, I'll just run a quick check and then you'll be on your way."
After a few minutes on the computer in his car, he came back and handed me a license, and then apologized profusely for pulling me over! I felt bad and said "Hey no problem."
In comparison, people in British Columbia, especially in Victoria, are stuck-up and snotty. Many don't bother leaving their province ("We live in the best place on earth. Why go anywhere else?"). Compared to Russia, Nova Scotia is absolutely refreshing. After all this time it's surprising that I hadn't put more thought into settling here.
Then there is, of course, the wonderful Maritime culture. I'm not talking about the grating, better-than-thou Celtic culture of Cape Breton, but the deep-routed historic culture of New England and the Maritimes.
In one week I've firmly established a beach -head, as it were, here in Halifax, and from here on out it's all easy sailing.
My dreams aren't really worthy of any Freudian psycho-babble analysis. Usually they involve beer, the occasional fuzzy slipper and a cheeseburger or two. Which is why it was so strange to have a more meaningful, realistic dream like the one I had two days ago.
In this dream I had left Russia, kissing Katya farewell in the doorway of her flat in Schyolkova and climbing into a taxi at 2:30 in the morning. Then I was on a flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia. 12 hours later I was in Canada's maritimes with my mother and we were (typical for my dreams) drinking Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale and eating bacon cheeseburgers.
Then I was sitting on a warm sofa (again, with a beer in my hand) in front of a gas fireplace watching Criminal Minds in HD on a large flat screen television in my mother's living room, while outside the nearby ocean boiled in a sudden windstorm that had blown in from the Atlantic.
After that my dream switched to driving across the impressively-large MacDonald bridge that spans the Halifax harbour between Halifax and Dartmouth. The naval yards were to my left and to my right were the tall glass buildings of Scotiabank and the Halifax Casino, lit up in the night and giving the city a feeling of grandeur. From the bridge we ended up on the highway all the way to the town of Enfield.
When I awoke, it all had seemed so vivid, and so real. The part about leaving Katya behind in Russia while I found employment and prepared for her to arrive in Canada was particularly painful. But when I looked around, I wasn't in Katya's bed with my wife warm and sleeping beside me. I was in my mother's spare room. I was in Halifax!
It wasn't a dream, although it still seems like it isn't real. Unlike the last time I came back for 5 weeks, in September, this time it is a permanent move. I was originally planning on heading to Victoria and starting work as an At-Sea-Observer, a job I didn't particularly want but was a means to an end. Due to family reasons, and the fact that I've always loved Halifax and Nova Scotia in particular, I decided to stay.
So my Mission to Moscow is actually over. It doesn't seem like it. I still expect to wake up back in Russia at any moment, but here I am in Canada. I feel at ease now, knowing I made the right decision in choosing Halifax.
This blog won't be finished yet, however. New adventures await me and it will be interesting to switch the focus from my perspective on living in Russia to Katya's perspective on living in Canada.
Here I am. My new and, hopefully, permanent home. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada!
Sometimes I get a lot of emails about this blog; most times I don't. Here's a sampling of the emails I have received:
"I'm going to Moscow next month on a business trip. Can you recommend any ways to meet Russian girls?"
"...you're a pussy. Why don't you have more pictures of Russian chics [sic] on your blog?"
"...if I were you, I would'nt have got married and would have been spending the last year banging Russian babes...."
"I take great offence at the portrayal of womyn on your blog. As a womyn myself, I believe that you represent the majority of men who are dull-witted, pig-headed chauvinists and the propoganda on your blog is nothing more than blablablabla...."
(I wonder how entries like "A Brief History of Mytischi" makes me chauvinist...the fact of the matter is that most of the emails I receive are concerning one specific entry, about a time I drank vodka with two Russian strippers. The fact that this femi-nazi is concentrating on this particular entry shows a certain amount of interest on her part, as it is this sexualized entry that she focuses on and not the more mundane life I've lived in Moscow, which makes up 99% of this blog.)
"At first I thought you were just another uninformed American, but after reading your blog I realized that you are an uninformed Canadian. You spew out garbage and misinformation as fact and you obviously know nothing about Russia. Your display of women is particularly disgusting."
(This was from a Mr. J. Malandjer, obviously a fanatical academic, and I would invite Mr. Malandjer to not only come to Russia and see for himself what I've been writing about, but to also act like a better-than-thou douchebag to my face.)
It is true: Russian women are generally stunning. Most of the fashion magazine models in the world are Russian, and most of the girls in Moscow could be fashion magazine models. They are filled with a mysteriously powerful femininity, charming flirtatiousness and have great fashion sense (at least in Moscow).
With so much interest, both positive and negative, concerning my blog and Russian women, I've decided to finally post what I've been seeing for the past couple of years, mainly, seriously hot, sexy, beautiful women (take that feminists and academics! Welcome to a man's blog!).