I wish I knew the exact date of that very first conversation. But who can ever know what casual words will later take on great meaning as the ones that Changed Our Life? So unfortunately, I don't know exactly when this happened. But by piecing things together, I think the conversation must have been in July 2003 - that is, one year ago. Wow, we have moved quickly! (That is typical of me once I make a decision that feels right.)
The talk. We were in the living room, watching the news. I don't know if it was the latest phony terror warning, or some new attack on basic freedoms, or the latest international embarrassment - I really can't say. But something made me sigh and repeat the old refrain of the American left: "Maybe we should move to Canada."
And Allan said, "Can we? I mean, could we? If we wanted to?" He said he had been thinking about it for a while (and I believe he had mentioned it casually, too): that if Moron was "re"elected, we should leave the country.
All of a sudden, we were listing what we knew about Toronto, and why it might be a good fit for us. More on that later.
Early in 2003, we had reached a major milestone. For the first time in our adult lives, we were completely out of debt. (Yay!!!) That summer, we had two sizeable (for us) checks due in from writing income. The plans had been to finally take a long-dreamed-of vacation: we were going dog-sledding in the Boundary Waters Area in far northern Minnesota. After spending June 2003 in the Catskills with the dogs (our own, that is), we were going to put down a deposit for a mushing trip in February '04. I had done the research and chosen a company, and we were fully intending to experience the wilderness with Arleigh Jorgensen and his team of Huskies. It would be the first time ever that we could pay for a trip in advance. (Hence our semi-permanent state of debt, I would always be paying off a trip).
Suddenly we were thinking, we've never been in this position before: we've never had money coming in that didn't have to go straight to our Visa bill. Any Big Life Change (BLC) takes money to get going - and here was some. This was An Opportunity.
On the weekends at work, I started reading up on emigrating to Canada. On Sunday nights, I'd report back and we'd discuss. From the beginning, it just felt right.