Anyone who has ever traveled to a foreign country knows how important their passport is to them. Losing it or having it stolen is a huge inconvenience, especially if it happens while you are traveling. Now, I’m in a situation where I’m not resident in the country where my passport is from, and I can’t get a passport in the country that I’m resident in. My recent concern was that my passport was due to expire.
Canadian passports expire every five years, so this is something that people need to deal with on a somewhat regular basis if they are the traveling type. And usually it is when you are preparing to take a trip that you look at your passport and see that you are expired or soon to expire. In my case, I was well aware of my passport expiry since I’d written the date on so many different forms over the years. That date was approaching and since I am resident abroad, I knew it was important for me to renew.
Renewing a Canadian passport from Bermuda
Fortunately, renewing a Canadian passport from Bermuda (or the US) is reasonably pain-free. A former coworker had gone through his renewal process a few months before and provided some excellent advice.
The first thing you want to do is go to the Passport Canada page for Canadians living in the US or Bermuda. If you qualify, your easiest option is the Simplified Renewal Form PPTC 054. This form is only a couple of pages and doesn’t need anything signed or done by a guarantor. The PDF document itself helps validate your data as you type it in and contains a lot of instructions to make sure that the application is complete. In some places, the form and website make it seem like the form is for the US only, but I assure your that as of the time of this writing, it also applies to Bermuda as well.
In particular, when entering your address in the form, the available options under
Prov./Ter./State didn’t include anything which would indicate Bermuda. In the end, I just filled in
Bermuda by hand after I printed the form. I also had to attach a sheet to supplement my two year address history, but that one is based on your personal situation.
I also found out that if you want to pay an extra $5, you can get a double length business passport. It has 48 pages for those people who end up collecting a lot of stamps or visas. Given that the passport fee is already $97, the extra five seems like a no-brainer. However, there is no option for this on the application form itself, I ended up attaching a cover letter which indicated my desire. Totally up to you. For payment you fill in the credit card authorization slip which is on the first page of the form.
The only other consideration is the photos. There seems to be only one place to get Canadian passport compliant photos done in Bermuda, at least according to my coworker. That is Mall Passport and Portrait Studio in Washington Mall (Hamilton). It costs $17 and is done while you wait. All said and done, it was a pretty smooth process.
More expensive is the cost of couriering the finished application, along with your old passport to the facility in Canada which handles the processing. This was around $50 for me. But considering I’m including my passport, it was well worth it. The address is on the form that you fill out. End to end, the process took me a bit over two weeks. Two weeks without a passport, but now that I have my new one, I’m breathing a bit easier. Since all flights from Bermuda are international, going anywhere (like back to Canada for a wedding in August) requires my passport. I’m glad the process was as straight forward as it was.
Permitted to work
In addition to needing a new passport, my initial one year work permit in Bermuda was also nearing completion, so the company started the process to get me a new one. This time it was a three year permit since it would seem that I am going to be living here for a bit longer. At one point that would have been daunting news, but now that I’m settled here, I couldn’t imagine leaving any time soon.
Bermuda immigration isn’t really all that easy to deal with. They need lots of information and even then, the decision as to whether someone gets a permit or not feels somewhat arbitrary. But even with a passport soon to expire, I was granted my three year permit. And of course we have since updated their records with a notarized copy of my new passport. But it is all sorted now.
So if you need me, I’m safely and legally in Bermuda for the next few years.
Just a piece of advice that I’m going to float out onto the Internet in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation as I was. Actually this was my second time and perhaps writing about it will make it easier in the future.
If you have an invoice from FedEx as a recipient (for duty or taxes or whatever) but you are now in a different country from which the package was received, there are two things to know:
- You can’t pay for it online. I think this is true even if you aren’t in a different country. But you can do it by phone.
- The contact number for FedEx may not direct you to a place where they can help you. At all.
Case in point: you have an invoice from Canada (because you shipped yourself or your family something at Christmas from the US), but you are now back in Bermuda where you live. You click on the Canadian FedEx site thinking this is a good place to start. You find a contact number. It is toll free which might work from Bermuda, but may or may not actually be toll free. Calling this number connects you to a Caribbean/Bermuda contact centre. If you try to explain you have an invoice, the best case is you are transferred around for a while until you find someone who can help you. Worst case, you dead end on someone who can’t help you (or transfer you apparently).
The trick is as soon as someone answers (after 1 for English, and 0 for a human) is to ask for “Canadian billing” (or whatever country your invoice is from). Now you should be talking to someone who can actually help you. They may have to involve someone else but they actually know how to properly transfer a call. Have the invoice number and a credit card handy and you are good to go.
I don’t know how many of these invoices they serve, but this is my second inside of a year, so you would think that they would allow for online payment, since you can do most other things online. I guess I’ll have to enjoy my international scavenger hunt each time.
I just wanted to take this time to wish everyone who reads this a happy holidays and a hope for all the best in 2010.
It has been another interesting year for me, moving to Bermuda once again, hopefully this time for a bit longer, but only time will tell that story. At the moment I am home in Nova Scotia with my family, which makes me happy. I only get to see them once or twice a year, so I definitely enjoy these times.
I suspect that 2010 will be a busy one for myself, but enjoyable none-the-less.
Every year we celebrate the day of our birth.1 Well many people do. Others elect to deny the passage of time by not acknowledging this annual event. We also like to celebrate/recognize anniversaries of other notable events such as marriages (relationships in general) and tragedies. In fact we recognize the concept so widely that most languages have a specific word for it. Coming to English via Medieval Latin, anniversary signifies a yearly return. Interestingly enough modern usage is borrowing upon this concept in an increasingly liberal manner. For example, I think that “10 year anniversary” is a tad redundant and that “10th anniversary” makes more sense. However, I know that the former is perhaps even more pervasive.
It is the other usages which pose the problem. “Our two month anniversary”. “Our three week anniversary”. Almost everyone understands what is being said here. But there is a contradiction here. I can’t speak for such development in other languages (feel free to comment if you have an idea), but in English I can picture two possible lines of evolution in this situation. The first is that new words will form derived from anniversary. The second and ultimately more likely scenario is that anniversary will lose its annual connotation and will be properly modified with other words like in my examples above.
All of this is an elaborate and well-researched introduction to my main point: I am 10,000 days old today. So you can call it my 10,000 day anniversary (which is a bit odd sounding), or we can coin a new word and call it my 10,000th dayversary. I don’t really like the form of that word though. I don’t like the yv together, it isn’t a combination which happens in English, so perhaps we can borrow on the more melodic spanish translation of day and use diaversary. With the pronounciation as /dia/, not /daɪə/. The word we use shouldn’t distract from the significance of the day. I think society would be more interesting if we denoted age in days as a matter of course. If the drinking age was 7000 days instead of 19 years (in NS and other Canadian provinces). I can definitely appreciate the extra cognitive overhead this would impose, and realize that is the reason we use years. Even with years, it takes me a fair bit of time after a birthday before I can consistently recall my new “age” if asked.
If you would like to play with dates and see when your next significant diaversary is I recommend visiting timeanddate.com. In general it is a great site for the temporally inclined (or those who would like to be).
I realize that not every culture does this, but mine does. ↩
The season does officially last almost another month, but traditionally the end of August marks the end of the summer for many people. In Bermuda, where a lot of people study away, it means that people are getting ready to leave the island, and among my friends here (many of whom are locals) there is a feeling of finality. It is a much different feel than I experienced in Vancouver last summer.
I’ve been reminded more than once that I haven’t been updating my site with news. Normally that could indicate that there is no news. However, in this case there has been and I guess I will blame my alternative outlets as the culprit. I still do intend to integrate these other information sources into the site, but I’ve been having a lot of difficulty settling on certain aspects of the renovation. I guess it is a lot like building a new house, there are a lot of decisions to be made and I don’t want to rush it.
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It has now been a week since I moved into my new apartment, and while there have been a couple of small issues, it is leagues better than my last place. And, while furnished, it lacked some things that you might want to have in your apartment, so yesterday was a day spent shopping. I went to three stores yesterday that I had never been to before. All of them sized on a scale that I didn’t realize existed in Bermuda. I was a bit surreal to go into a store that was easily as big as a big box Canadian Tire at home, and just as well equipped. More expensive perhaps, on certain items, but a small comfort nonetheless. And now the kitchen, along with my bathroom and bedroom feel a bit more like home. In a way that my first apartment never could. :)
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And as soon as I typed it, I now have that song from the Bare Naked Ladies in my head. Awesome. This is going to be a quick one even though it has been forever since I last posted. Damn micro blogging (aka. Twitter) has sated my need to update the world on what I’m doing, which is actually a good thing as it leaves this forum open for a more meaningful discourse.
But not today. Tonight rather I am trying not to allow my rage to bubble over. That’s right: rage. I was originally going to tweet about it, but I didn’t feel that was going to be effective enough. I want this to be properly indexed on the web. For those outside of my close contacts (which unfortunately doesn’t include as many people as it should) I am moving soon. Probably tomorrow, but on paper at the end of the month. If you take anything away from this post, it is: do not live in “Flores” 122 Harbour Road in Paget, Bermuda. Ever.
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The news of the week is that I took and passed the written test needed to obtain my driver’s license in Bermuda. Unfortunately it seems to be a busy time for the road tests because I wasn’t able to be scheduled until March 25. I guess with another month of practice, I’ll be that much more likely to pass the test when the time comes. I also bought rain pants this week seeing as how we have been having a fair bit of rainy weather. You can get quite wet on a scooter if you get caught in a downpour. Other than that, I’ve been working away. But I’ve written a bit on my thoughts of Bermuda, so far.
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Earlier this week, my brother spoke about how important it is to properly separate life, work and school from each other, especially in terms of mental and physical space. I will say that in theory that is a good idea. It is the same principle that should dissuade you from lying down to watch movies or study because it will make it hard to sleep even if you really tired. Your body gets confused.
However, my brother is in a situation which permits this possible separation if he desires it and is disciplined enough to pull it off. I want to respond to this, first by posing some practical questions and then by talking about some quite common real life situations. Separation is still possible, but the lines do need to blur a bit.
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It somehow feels like a lot longer but I’m only on my third week in Bermuda. I think the main reason it feels longer is because I’ve been sick. Only with the common cold mind you, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Now that is mostly behind me and I am starting to get settled in.
With most of my stuff unpacked and in a place, if not its place, my little cottage is starting to feel like a home. For a while I was sort of living out of boxes, thinking that maybe someone would change their mind and I would be moving somewhere else. But I’ve purchased my own helmet, and while I’m still renting a scooter, I’ve decided on buying one myself. I’m hoping to do my written test this week and then schedule my driving test as soon as possible so that I can legally drive any new scooter I get.
Work is busy and constant, which is fine as long as the weather stays cool and wet and I have no desire to get outside to take photos or otherwise. I will say that this February is not nearly as nice as it was last February. Granted anything can happen between now and this weekend, but I doubt I will be hitting up the beach like last year. But it shouldn’t be too long before those of us still acclimatized to Canada will find that it is beach weather.
I’m hoping that it will be that nice when my brothers come down to visit. If they are able to come and visit. Still need to sort out the logistics on that. But I am embracing my new island home a little more than I expected, and also reaching out and meeting people outside of work, so I think that things will turn out alright in this chapter of my life—assuming work doesn’t kill me.
If you have been affected by cancer (and who hasn’t in some way) I just wanted to mention a great opportunity to share your story and make a donation to support cancer research in Canada. It is called Why I Give and it is an initiative to not only allow people to make donations to a worthy cause but to tell their story of what inspires them to give. So if you lost a friend or family member to cancer you can tell their story in whatever way you want in hopes that it will in turn inspire others to donate.
If you are worried about revealing too much, there is even a means to tell your story anonymously. Please take a moment to head over and help see this worthy site take off.
(Full disclosure: my brother is one of the students who started this initiative. The donations and site however are very real.)
This is not meant to be a full exposé on my company Christmas dinner, as I don’t plan to be someone who airs dirty laundry, if you know what I mean. ;)
However I will post this photo of me receiving one of the random drawn door prizes. Despite the random draw, 4 out of 5 of the prizes went to IT guys. Almost suspicious. I also won the “Patience in the face of ever changing business direction” award which for those who know me, know that I have tolerated for far too long.
I’m just waiting for my cab to the airport now, so with that, I will wish you all a happy holiday season again. Cheers!
Things have been quite busy at work lately, with 14 or 15 hour days not being uncommon. I have finished up one particular project which was causing a lot of that, and I am now focusing my energy on another project which I find if not more interesting at the moment, certainly more enjoyable.
And there is a light—I’m not going to say at the end of the tunnel, but perhaps a crack in the side of the tunnel. I have booked a trip to Edmonton for a few days in November. I’m really looking forward both to the break from work, but more importantly visiting Mike, my friend from Dalhousie. I was also born in Edmonton and the only time that I’ve been back since I was less than a year old was for a week in 1991. Yea, I was nine and I certainly didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have. So this is my chance to soak it in. That soaking may well take place through a camera lens, but so be it. It may well take place in a series of restaurants and pubs as well, and so be that too. :)
So if I don’t post anything before I venture into the heart of coldness that is Edmonton, know that I’m still kicking, but also working away diligently.
I am talking literally high above the earth, as I have now moved into my 28th floor apartment which will be my home for the next couple of months anyway. It has taken me just under two hours of being here to get my Internet sorted out with the provider and to get things like my computer setup. I’m still very much not unpacked, which is what I plan to spend Saturday doing.
Many thanks go out to my aunt, uncle and cousin who helped me move all of my accumulated crap out of my cousin’s place and into this one. I seem to have managed to acquire more than I thought over the past couple of months. If I had spent more than one day packing I might have been able to go through some of the junk that I have and thrown out some of the stuff I don’t need any more. But two car loads were all that it took, and I suspect that with the right car, and careful packing, one car could carry it all. But we had to rush it since I managed to mess up the time I was supposed to meet the owner and get the keys.
The place itself is small, but modern and comfortable. As I may have mentioned, this place as a washer/dryer en-suite, which is a huge convenience. There is also a dishwasher, which I likely won’t use much, but would be nice if I was entertaining a couple of people and didn’t want to wash up myself. The pool and the amazing proximity to the Skytrain are the final two pros that make this place a good spot for me. It’s been a long evening though, and I have to go and spend the first night in my new bed. Photos of the apartment are forthcoming.
The real question is, which half? The organized part of my brain tells me that I have been collecting cards a suit at a time, and that I’m up to two at the moment. Probably clubs and spades at this point in time, because I’m lacking some hearts and diamonds at this point. But in reality it is likely a mixture given my somewhat hectic and random life recently, what with living in five different countries in the past three years.
So if I had to postulate, I would say that I’m holding:
A♣ 2♣ 3♣ 4♣ 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣ 9♣
2♠ 3♠ 5♠ 6♠ 7♠ 8♠ 9♠ 10♠
3♦ 5♦ 8♦
A♥ 3♥ 4♥ 6♥ 9♥ 10♥
There is a distinct lack of face cards, but I suspect that my upper years will bring more of those. Thanks to everyone who has extended their wishes to me today. I truly appreciate it.
Also, I apologize if your browser or system doesn’t support the character entity glyphs that I have used above.
As I’ve mentioned, I take public transit to work. I actually it take everywhere I go, but work is my most routine destination. I have a small luxury that many of my fellow transit travelers don’t have. Most days for me, it really doesn’t matter what time I get into work. That is just the nature of IT work, especially since I will usually be there well past “quitting time” anyway.
Likewise I have no reason to rush home by a certain time. Because of this, I have a very relaxed attitude about waiting for buses, trains, etc. I’m a patient person, and I’ve been known to wait long periods just to add convenience to my life. The point of no return I’m alluding to isn’t some point at which I can’t make it back somewhere, but is more like the point, before which, I am not willing to run to catch a bus.
Not that I blame anyone who does run to catch a bus. I certainly have done it. I did it last night in fact. It tends to happen a bit more at night when the buses are less frequent and the waiting is a tad less savory. But for me, especially in the morning, where I have to walk along the street the bus travels for three blocks before reaching the stop, there is a point where if the bus rushes by me, mentally I know that I’m not going to make it. You would think that for a regular commute I would have my timing set such that I wouldn’t just miss a bus, but surprisingly it happens more often than not. I know when the bus is supposed to arrive, I just have trouble with that last couple of minutes, getting out of the door in time. Perhaps I need to train myself to target a different time that will allow me to spend less than 15 minutes waiting at the bus stop.
I have never really looked at myself as much of a music aficionado, but for some reason, I am very picky about my headphones. And my primary metric for evaluating them has always been comfort. I have had a number of different headphones throughout the years, some worked out, some didn’t.
Instead of simply saying that I bought a new pair of incredible headphones both from a comfort and audio clarity perspective, I am going to regale everyone with a trip down headphone memory lane.
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After living in Bermuda for four months and nine days, I am disconnecting my Internet connection today and packing up my belonging to fly off to Vancouver. It is a bittersweet departure, as I am both looking forward to the new adventure and challenges of living and working in Vancouver, but at the same time, I have managed to make a number of friends here in Bermuda, and I am sorry my time here has to end.
Thank you Bermuda, your friendly welcoming nature made the past months enjoyable. And thanks to my Bermuda coworkers who also made my arrival and transition easier.
On a slightly geekier note, today is Pi Day (3.14) and Albert Einstein’s birthday. Enjoy.
I’m not the type of person who is always going out on the town. At the moment anyway, I tend to just work and then head home, watch a bit of TV, waste some time online or chat with some friends and family. Sometimes I’ll really geek out and program something for my website. However, this past week was quite different.
It started Tuesday with a trip to the Bermuda attempt of an English pub, the Robin Hood. Nice place, and the food is good pub fare. And it is close to work. A few of us went there for drinks, which ended up lasting a few hours. And while we usually end up talking shop, it was a nice release from work, and the norm.
Wednesday brought a dinner out at Cafe Cairo. The atmosphere there was really quite unique, at least within Bermuda. As the name suggests, the place was ostensibly an Egyptian/Middle East restaurant, and while I have yet to visit that region in person, if I were to make a guess at what I might expect, this might have been close to one end of the stereotypical spectrum. My hummus starter was very tasty, and while my ravioli was also really good, there wasn’t much to it. I finished my meal in half the time as everyone else in my party and I was actually making a conscious effort to eat slowly because I knew I didn’t have much. And anything ordered between five and seven are 25% off.
Thursday was a busy day at work, which turned into a late evening at work. Fortunately I was able to get away in time to grab a take out sub and fries from Portofino and then meet a colleague from work and his visiting friend for a trip to Liberty Theatre to catch the late showing of Cloverfield. It was a very interesting film, which apparently ran quite a nice viral marketing campaign. I may post my thoughts on the movie as a separate post. Another late night walking home, another night of just crashing into bed.
And that brings us to last night, Friday. After another crazy busy day at work which caused me to miss our weekly work “Happy Hour”, I joined a couple of guys from work for a night out. It was a quick decision as they walked by saying I should join. After the day I had, I just wanted to go to bed, but what the hell. It was mostly IT, as are a lot of my sojourns, but this time we were joined by a “user”. A new woman who arrived in Bermuda while I was in London. She will be moving back to Vancouver shortly after I head there. The Pickled Onion was our first stop, where we had a couple of rounds of drinks and a few appetizers. After that we hit up two more places, Fresco’s and Docksider’s Pub The Beach. It was a nice time and I got to experience some Bermuda nightlife in some of the places I walk by going home many nights. The others in my group, bolstered by the social lubrication and artificial stamina of alcohol, were heading into a club when I had to part ways, citing extreme exhaustion. That was exactly the case. A returned to the office to retrieve some of my things and then caught the last bus out of town, quelling some of my walking time.
All said, it was a great week, and I would like to extend my thanks to those colleagues and friends who extended their invitations to me. Cheers mates.
Some people may not call it a “disaster”, but in today’s digital world the loss of digital data, is in most people’s minds, a disaster. Loss of a carefully crafted music library is one thing, but what about family photos that can never be re-created, or the years of work invested in a dissertation? Obviously there is a need to safe guard this data.
The following is an account of my experience with my 15” Powerbook G4 failing 31 December, 2007. I awoke that morning not suspecting anything was wrong, looking forward to ushering in the new year, although not looking forward to ending my vacation. However, when I tapped my trackball to wake up the screen, I was greeted with… nothing. No response. Rebooting brought my computer back on, but things were not right. In addition to constant waiting for file system operations, some of my desktop scripts were yielding unusual results. Then finally it hung completely again and I was force to do a hard power-down. All subsequent attempts at booting resulted in the prohibitory sign (grey circle with a slash through it) appearing. It wouldn’t boot at all. My computer was dead.
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When I was on my way into the office today, I noted how nice and warm it was, especially after our bout of chilly weather this past week. Of course, as I’ve mentioned on countless occasions, anything here is warmer than at home in Canada this time of year. So to share a bit of the wintry goodness with everyone, I wanted to showcase a before and after photo of the seven-foot snowman that my brother built in December. As most people who have built a snowman can tell you, they don’t last forever, many not lasting more than a day or two before the forces of nature or neighbourhood kids bring it to a snowy grave.
However, a mound of snow the size of that snowman does have some staying power. But a day of rain will have a toll, and the after photo shows a redressing of the tiny bit of snow that was left after a mild and wet Christmas Eve. Not much left of Frosty there.
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Still dead. However, I have learned the following:
- Resetting the PRAM and the NVRAM did not help.
- I wasn’t able to boot from the CD or Hard drive even explicitly from Open Firmware.
- I cannot boot from a Macbook Pro in Target Disk mode, although I can see the drive in my options.
- The aforementioned MBP could not boot from my hard drive although it too could see it in the boot options.
- Mounting my target disk mode Powerbook to the MBP would allow it to mount. I could access it from the shell (Terminal) and was able to list the root folder.
- Navigating into the
/System/Library/CoreServices/folder, I verified that
- All folders under
/Users/were missing. That sucks.
So, after all that, I still don’t know what the problem is. I’ve stumped those I work with, and I can’t seem to find a similar problem on the Internet. I’m not sure a call to Apple Support is going to help, and since I’m out of warranty, it is likely to be costly. I’d like to extract my drive and try it in an enclosure, but 2.5 inch Firewire enclosures are not easy to come by in Bermuda.
If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
Just wanted to let everyone know that my laptop is currently not functioning. I am 95% certain it is a hard drive failure, but I am going to check and find out. The only thing that is keeping me from being certain is that I can’t seem to get it to boot from a DVD either. It will boot into the Apple Hardware Test, which tells me everything is fine, but it completely skips the test for my hard drive. The Hardware Profiler says that I have a hard drive, so it is recognizing it on the system, but when booting or scanning it seems to not be able to find it.
I’ll be looking into it over the next couple days, and hopefully will resolve it.
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