My impending move has spawned a lot of questions from readers and friends. I thought I'd take a few moments on this lazy Saturday afternoon to answer a few of them. I figured that writing a blog post might improve my mood since this morning I discovered my propane tank was under 5% and I won't have heat for the rest of the weekend. I should have checked sooner but I just didn't realize I was going through it that fast. Oh, bother!! I finally got the woodstove going and now I am just going to keep it going all weekend! So, here are my answers to some of the questions I've been asked...feel free to remind me if I've missed any...
1. What about law school?
Yes, a good question indeed. I was doing very well in law school. I had a GPA of 3.45 or so, and was plugging along nicely, with only about 2 semesters left. So what am I doing about finishing my law degree? The simple answer is, I'm not. Finishing, that is. Lest you throw your arms in the air and call me crazy, let me explain. I already have 3 degrees. This would have been my fourth. It's not as if I'm uneducated. The purpose of going to law school, for the most part, is to become a lawyer. I realized, over time, that my heart was not there. I was not passionate about becoming a lawyer. I was very interested in certain aspects of the law - notably animal law, patent law, and environmental law. I have been working as a patent agent for the past 9 years, which is essentially like being a lawyer but only being able to practice 1 form of law - patent law. Patent agents have to pass a separate exam to be registered to practice before the US Patent Office, and have to have a science or engineering degree. I enjoyed my job in patent law and thought that being an attorney would expand my skills into contracts and licensing and other aspects of the law. I determined that in fact, I did not really want the job that the attorneys in my office had. I did not want their lifestyle. I did not want their stress. I wanted something else from life. It was not a waste of time - I did learn a lot and I have a greater appreciation of the law. I learned new ways of thinking. I also learned that it's OK to walk away from something when your heart isn't in it. It took me a long time to realize that I didn't have to prove anything to anyone, least of all myself, by finishing the degree. Of course I could have done so, if I'd wanted to. I didn't want to. I'm perfectly happy with that decision.
2. I'm confused - are you going to Nova Scotia or are you going to Canada?
Huh? Oh....wait....this is a trick question! No, this was a real question, from several people, even if worded a bit differently. I quickly realized that a small geography lesson would be useful, especially for my non-Canadian readers. Canada is divided up into ten "provinces" and three "territories." These are essentially divisions like the states that make up the United States. Just like the US, Canada extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, and is actually the second largest country in the world, second only to Russia. Nova Scotia is one of the ten provinces of Canada. On the map below, it is the bright pink province waaay over on the right hand side. I will be roughly centrally located within the province of Nova Scotia.
Actually, numerous parts of Canada are warmer than Iowa, including Nova Scotia. Because Nova Scotia has the constant moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean, it is actually more temperate than Iowa. It never gets as cold in the winter, but it never gets as hot in the summer either. I'm pretty happy with that. I don't like it when it's really hot and humid. Here's a map showing the plant hardiness zones from the USDA. You can see that Iowa is pretty much a 4b to a 5a. I will be in an area that is a 5b to 6a. So, the bottom line is, I'm moving somewhere warmer, even though I'm moving north. Yay!
4. Is it difficult for you to get your animals (especially a goat) across the border into Canada?
YES!!! It has taken quite a bit of effort and research for me to determine how to deal with my animals. The easiest ones are the dog and my barn cat. They just need records to indicate that they are up-to-date on necessary "normal" shots, such as rabies and feline leukemia. The 2 angora rabbits need to go to the vet and have a general certificate of health to say that they have no signs of any communicable diseases. The goat (Lucky Nickel) and sheep (Kenzie) are far more complicated. They both needed to come from a farm that was certified "scrapie free" for 5 years. (If you don't know what scrapie is, read here) Since I had not had the animals or the farm for 5 years, that would not work. I learned that I could be granted an exception if they were female animals who were spayed (or neutered males). Since both Lucky Nickel and Kenzie are female, they both need to be spayed. I have been waiting for the weather to warm up a little before taking them for their operations. They also need to be tested for brucellosis and tuberculosis, but this has to be done within 30 days of transport, so I can't do that yet. Then at the border they will be inspected by the on-site vet and assessed for their paperwork. Llamas are even more complicated, which is why I decided not to take any with me.
5. Are you scared? I would never be able to do what you are doing...
I'm not scared. I'm cautious, but I'm organized, motivated, and careful. I also know that you only live once. I never want to look back with regret. I want to know that I've always lived life to the fullest, as much as I can. I am the kind of person who loves a challenge. I don't like it when life becomes mundane and routine, to a point that it nearly numbs the senses. I love to learn new things, to create new goals, to conquer new obstacles and to reap the rewards. I embrace life, and I want to be in the driver's seat of my life, not in the passenger seat. Sometimes it's good to do something that is full of unknown outcomes. It challenges your creativity, your resourcefulness, and your self-confidence. To that, I say....bring it on!! I would rather live my life by leaping into the unknown from time to time, than by wallowing in my comfort zone. Anybody can do what I'm doing - maybe not in the same way - but anyone can shake things up a little in their own life and make a new road for themselves. It just takes passion, energy, and a little bit of bravery. Go for it!
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