8 Things You (probably) Don’t Know About Me

I got tagged by new colleague Rob for this meme, which seems to me to be a good way to kick off my new(ish) blog on my new(ish) domain. It’s been interesting to read each of my new colleagues’ “8 Things” posts, starting with Maggie followed by Collin and Zoe. (note to self: learn how to make those little dots over the ‘e’…) Heather, unfortunately, does not yet have a blog and rumour has it that Penny might actually beat her to the blogosphere!

Ok, enough stalling… on with the 8 Things:

  1. My first career was as a security guard. I spent the first year kicking bums out of buildings at Yonge & Bloor… then spent most of the rest of the time kicking a whole different kind of bum out of Casinos – first in Windsor then Brantford. It’s not a career I’d recommend… if the job is exciting, the pay is horrible and the converse is also true. Finally realizing that…
  2. I graduated from university at age 30. No, I was not on the extended plan, and no, it is not at all rare for folks to go back to school. What’s a little different is that I went back as a full-time undergrad at age 26 – just shy of a decade younger than most of my classmates. In some programs (art history?), this would hardly be perceptible but I was a PoliSci major – the current events major. My perspective on life by then was significantly different than my classmates’. I had, for example, paid income tax! Speaking of education…
  3. I attended elementary school illegally for two years.I was an anglophone kid in Montreal’s West Island in the late 70’s and early 80’s when the language and education laws in Quebec got a little silly. Long story short, my parents were unable to prove that they met the requirements for education in English in Quebec. Interestingly, the Quebec government left anglophone administrators in charge of the English schools, apparently not considering what sympathies they might have for anglophone families caught between a rock and a hard place. The school essentially allowed me (and my sister) to attend without the proper authorization – no-one appeared notice. After two years of waiting for the language silliness to subside (it didn’t), we finally gave up and left Quebec like so many others. Landing smack-dab in the middle of franco-Ontario. Sigh. Speaking of family…
  4. I am the only non-US citizen in my immediate family. My wife Arminta was born and raised in Michigan. My daughters are US citizens by virtue of Arminta’s citizenship. They are also, obviously, Canadian citizens. To any normal logical person, this makes them dual-citizens, as in citizens of two countries. This, however is not something to be discussed at the US Customs & Immigration booth at the border. The US Department of State, you see, doesn’t believe in dual citizenship. Your with ’em or against ’em, I guess. So many times I’ve been tempted to say to a border guard: “Simply because you choose to not recognize a fact, does not cause it to cease being a fact.” Somehow, I don’t think that would go over terribly well. Speaking of my wife…
  5. I met my wife at summer camp. This one always gets an “Awww, that’s so swe-e-e-et” from, well, all kinds of people. We met before we were pre-teens, saw each other for one week once a year. Finally had a smooch when we were much older and were married a couple years later. When we were filling out the stacks of immigration paperwork for Arminta to come to Canada, we were pretty sure they’d deny our application on the grounds that we’d made up our story. We didn’t. Swear. This next one has nothing to with this one…
  6. I got my pilot’s licence at age 17. Courtesy of the Canadian Government, I spent 7 weeks in Guelph one summer with a dozen other 17 year-olds learning how to fly planes – real ones. Sound scary? You betchya! Here’s some math for ya: over 2000 combined viewings of Top Gun (a rough estimate) + inherent teen-aged sense of invincibility + real airplanes + GRAVITY and other assorted laws of physics = WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?. It’s amazing we weren’t all killed, really. This is total non-sequitur too…
  7. I’m a bit of a genealogy geek. I’ve been researching various branches of my family tree and have accumulated data on over 1200 of my relatives and ancestors. Which is actually not much compared to the work some other genealogy enthusiasts have done. What’s amazing to me is just how much of it can be done online – all of the available Canadian Censuses, for example, have a) published online by the Canadian Government and b) transcribed and indexed entirely by hobbyist researchers like me! My research can be found on my Carmichael Family Tree site. I’d give my left tree-branch to have access to letters like these! Speaking of ancestors…
  8. I’m eligible for a UK passport… under a special ancestry visa by virtue of my Grandmother’s birth in Scotland. It’s something that we’d like to take advantage of someday, but it requires a four-year commitment on a temporary visa before you fully qualify for citizenship… maybe someday. If we ever follow through, my kids would be triple-citizens… why am I thinking that won’t be any more impressive at US Customs?

Well, there you have it. I managed to get through all 8 Things. It’s harder than it sounds, especially if you try (like I did – and failed) to connect them all somehow. So who shall be tagged to continue the meme? Filbar, Chrass, Sugarrae, Seb, Josee.

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One Response to “8 Things You (probably) Don’t Know About Me”

  1. Wow, a pilot’s license at 17! I wasn’t allowed to drive until I was 18. Only in Canada I guess. In the states they just teach terrorists how to fly planes. :)