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Moving: Part 3 - Crossing the Border

This was the leg of the trip that we were the most apprehensive about. Would Canada really let me in the country? Would they make us unload the entire trailer? Would we be there for an entire day? We really didn't know what to expect.

We had done several things and made lots of phone calls before we left to make sure we had everything in order. As we packed, we made a list of everything that we taking with us. I numbered and labeled all of the boxes. We did as much paperwork and form filling out ahead of time as we could.

So, we left my parents place around 7:00 AM. We had decided to cross the border at Port Huron/Sarnia. We knew it was a busy one, but we also knew they would have the people there who knew how to process all of the things we needed to do. It is also only 3 hours from my parents, so if something went horribly wrong, I knew someone would come and get me.

We arrived at the border around 10:30. The first thing we needed to do was stop on the US side of the border and get a stamp on the titles of our vehicles that we were going to import into Canada. We knew where to park, and what building to go to, but when they designed this building, they decided to hide the door. We were walking around the building and must have been looking really lost or really suspicious because two border guards came out of a building and yelled at us asking what we were doing. Once we had explained ourselves and showed that the bag I was carrying was just full of our important documents, they told we had to go around the building the other way and then we would find the door.

Well, we found the door and walked into a tiny little office area that was full of people. We had to push through a group of sketchy looking teenagers and we were asked several times what we were doing here by border guards. Finally, we got to the guard in charge and he told us to wait in line behind this blue door. So, we open the door and find two other guys (who thankfully were non-threatening looking) waiting in a line in a very narrow hallway. There were no seats, so you had to stand and there were signs on the wall that said "Do not write or lean on the wall. Violators will be prosecuted." The last thing we wanted to do in this situation was make the bord guards angry, so we avoided the walls as much as possible, which was hard in the very narrow hallway.

It quickly became clear that this was the line for things that were of very low priority. The line grew from three people to 15 in the two hours we stood in this line. Yes, we were in line for two hours to get two stamps on the titles of our cars. And I am seven months pregnant. As more people came into the line, several said to me that I should go sit down in the lobby on the other side of the blue doors. Part of me (my feet) really wanted to. But another part of my (my life and safety) was afraid of both the border guards and the other people waiting in the lobby. So, I opted to just stay in line by Wilbert, but I did totally lean against the wall after a while.

We did have some entertainment through the window in the blue door. There was the French trucker from Quebec who locked his keys in the cab of his truck. There was the angry car salesman who had sold a card to someone in Canada and didn't realized all of the work that he needed to do in order to import the car and thought yelling at a border guard would help out. A word of advice: DO NOT yell at a border guard.

Finally after two hours a man waved us through the window and after a bit of interrogation, stamped our titles. After waiting in line for two hours for a process that took ten minutes, we were on our way again. We paid the toll, crossed the bridge and then got to the Canadian side. At the booth, we told the agent what were doing, and he filled out a little sheet and told us were to go. We pulled up, and the next set of guards looked at our sheet, filled out some stuff, and told us to go inside. Inside we had a very nice border guard process my immigration work, import our cars and import all of our stuff. It took about an hour total at the Canadian side and it was much more pleasant. We only waited about 10 minutes and the rest of the time is just how long that whole process took. We did not have to take a single thing out of the trailer, which was wonderful.

It was a nice welcome into Canada, especially after being stuck in the US border office for so long. The Canadian office was clean and well lit. They had chairs if I had wanted one. There was very little anger, shouting or yelling.

The rest of the trip was really uneventful. We made it Kingston the first day and Fredericton the next and we were on the farm by noon on Thursday, September 9th.

So, that is our moving story. The next post will begin the tour of our house that we are renting right now.

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