Category Archives: canada

Happy days are here again!

I can send and receive text messages! Yay! Yay! Yay!

Non-Filipinos may not understand precisely how important text
messaging is. Heck, even with a Net connection at the lab, I _still_
didn’t feel quite connected until I sent my first text message and got
back a reply.

Whee! Whee! Whee!

Canadian cellular providers all suck. Fido sucks less than the others
because it actually allows me to use my Nokia cellphone to text the
Philippines for CAD 0.20 (although the guy warned me that cell
providers in the Philippines might drop text during peak seasons like
Christmas).

Rogers is also a GSM provider, but they said they can only text to
around 10 countries. (Which doesn’t make sense, because Fido and
Rogers are practically the same company now…)

None of the providers will let me send e-mail from my phone. =(

But I’m so desperate for some kind of connectivity that I’ll settle
for text.

先日、パソコンショップでSIMMの掴み取りをやっていた。いくらなんでもマニアックすぎる。 SIMM had been grasped as much as possible in the personal computer shop the other day. It is too maniac.

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Milestone: first time to use a washing machine

I stood in front of the washing machine and carefully read the
instructions. I was no stranger to washing my clothes, preferring to
hand-wash things. This was the first time I was going to use a washing
machine, and only because I had sheets and towels that would have been
impossible to dry in our bathroom.

Darn. Why didn’t I still have Internet? I was tempted to run to a
cybercafe and look up instructions for machine-washing. Yes, silly
thing, but the Internet has everything. (Hey, I picked up tips for
handwashing off the Internet before.) Then I thought twice about
spending more time and money looking something like that up, and I
decided to go with… err… figuring things out.

It was with great trepidation that I measured the appropriate amount
of detergent, minding the sign on the wall that very sternly warned me
not to exceed the detergent manufacturer’s recommended amounts. I had
previously picked out the box from a bewildering array of powder and
liquid detergents because it was the only one that advertised
“Color-fast!” in bright, bold letters. (Yes, humans are suckers for
packaging.)

Still, I didn’t want to take any chances given my partiality for red
and orange tops, so I washed my white blouses separately.

Setting the washing machine to “Bright Colors” resulted in the cold
wash cycle that many of my clothes needed, and I figured that my
sheets and towels wouldn’t complain about not being washed in a hot
load. I sorely missed Internet access at that point, as I could have
quickly checked the Net to see whether I should have separated my
towels and sheets instead. (Note to self: must set up wireless…)

The rest of the wash was uneventful. I used my cellphone to remind me
to transfer my clothes to the dryer after half an hour, and pick them
pup after an hour after that. I whipped up a quick mushroom-and-cheese
omelette for lunch while waiting for my clothes to dry. Surprisingly
straightforward.

Keeping the no-ironing trick in mind, I folded the clothes as soon as
I took them out of the dryer. I was pleased to see that most of my
clothes seem to have survived the ordeal not much worse for wear,
although either the dryer or the washing machine had started fraying
the threads in my black socks and ever-so-nice striped red
long-sleeved blouse. I guess I should wash those separately, then.

I need to look up that demo on how to fold shirts. I remember seeing a
video of how to fold shirts correctly and efficiently. It’s one of
those lifehacks floating around. Hmm…

Casualties:

  • Black socks, one pair
  • Red long-sleeved blouse
  • White and green pajamas: tinted slightly reddish

Go ahead. Laugh. Remember, you were a newbie once…

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My banking needs

I need a Canada-based credit card for most of my purchases. I’ll keep
track of all of the purchases and pay it off in full each month. This
is more for convenience and credit history than actual credit. Also,
using a credit card for most of my transactions reduces the number of
debit transactions I’ll need to make at the ATM.

I need a savings account with Internet banking that either allows me
to auto-debit credit card payments at the end of each month or lets me
transfer the funds online. Most of my research grant will sit there.
If I can get high interest, all the better.

If not, I can maintain a current account with good ATM placement and
no withdrawal fees for my day-to-day cash expenses. I’m tracking cash
and credit separately, so I should be able to get an idea of how much
cash I’ll need each week.

So, what are my options?

The International Student Center‘s page on transferring funds to Canada lists the following banks as being close to the St. George campus.

The Toronto Dominion Bank

Bloor & Bay Branch

77 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1M2

The Bank of Nova Scotia

Bloor & Spadina Branch

332 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1W6

The Royal Bank of Canada

Harbord & Spadina Branch

648 Spadina

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 2H7

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Spadina & College Branch

268 College Street

Toronto, Ontario

M5T 1S1

The Bank of Montreal

Bloor & St. George Branch

262 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1V9

For President’s Choice:

LOBLAWS

12 St. Clair Ave E

Toronto, ON

Credit card (no annual fee, 18.5% interest rate)

PC Mastercard .
TD Canada Trust Green Visa Pre-authorized payment service from Canadian banks
Scotiabank Student Credit Cards Tiered moneyback promo calculated yearly. 0.25% for CAD 0 – CAD 1499.99, 0.5% for CAD 1500 to 2999.99, 1.0% for CAD 3000 and up
Royal Bank of Canada Student Visa Classic .
CIBC Classic Card for Students seems to require citizenship
Bank of Montreal Mosaik Mastercard .
Current account

President’s Choice No Fee Bank Account

- Free, unlimited Internet and phone transactions
– Free CIBC network transactions
– Free Interac direct payments
– Free chequing

TD Canada Trust Companion Savings Account

- Two free debits per month, CAD 1.25 fee / debit afterwards.
– Bill payments CAD 1.25 plus debit fee
– CAD 0 – CAD 4,999.99: 0.05% interest, CAD 5,000 and over: 0.25% interest

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

- Free transactions with minimum balance of CAD 2,000.
– Else, CAD 1.25 monthly fee covers 12 non-teller transactions. Extra at CAD 0.25 each (including Internet banking).
– Includes $500 credit limit on Scotiabank Classic Visa and no annual fee while student

Royal Bank of Canada Student Banking

- CAD 3.50 a month, 25 free debits, CAD 0.50 per additional debit
– Interac fee: CAD 1.50, PLUS: CAD 3.00

CIBC Student Advantage

- CAD 1000 minimum balance = no monthly fee for 0 to 10 transactions, CAD 0.30 for additional transactions(?)
– Reapply every year for student advantage

Savings account

President’s Choice Interest First Savings Account

- 2.15% interest (now 4% with balance of CAD 1000)
– Automatic savings plan

ING Direct

- 2.4% interest
– Four free Interac transactions per month, CAD 0.75 for succeeding transactions
– ATM at intersection of University Ave. and Adelaide St., free transactions

Scotiabank Money Master

- 2% interest
– Free transfer to other Scotiabank services. CAD 5.00 debit fee for others.

Decisions

I’ve decided to go with President’s Choice Financial because it’s a pretty good deal in terms of both offline and online banking. One of my labmates keeps her accounts there, and she’s quite happy with it. Good stuff. I’ll apply for a social insurance number (25 St Clair Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, M4T 3A4), and then open a current and savings account. If I can get a credit card off them too, yay.

私はパソコンを修理してもらいました。 I had my personal computer repaired.

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Bank account needs social insurance number needs employment contract

Sorting out my finances is harder than I thought. My funding won’t
kick in until September, although they’re still paying 12 months of
support. Good thing my parents made sure I was well-prepared. This is
certainly not something I could do on my own (without being royally
gouged by banks).

I biked up to St. Clair (uphill! on a one-speed bike! ack!) to apply
for a social insurance number, only to find out that I needed an
employment contract from the school or from an employer providing
services on campus. Without a social insurance number, I couldn’t
apply for a bank account. Oh well. I guess I’ll go again when I get
the contract.

Still, nothing can put a damper in my mood. I signed up for Bikeshare!
I can bike around Toronto! Wheee!

コンピュータに関する本を全部集めなさい。 Put all the books about computer together.

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Wahoo! Bikergal!

I’ve signed up with BikeShare, a
Community Bicycle Network
program that’s like a library for bikes. They plan to turn Toronto
into a little Amsterdam (err, the _bicycle_ aspect of Amsterdam, not
some of its other aspects! =) ). Good stuff! CAD 25.00 gets you a
season pass valid until sometime in December. You can borrow and
return a bike from any of the hubs in Toronto, and you can keep a bike
for up to 3 days. Very good stuff.

コンピュータの使い方も知らないのに、あんなに高いマシンを買って。宝の持ち腐れだよ。 What a waste to buy such an expensive machine even though he doesn’t even know how to use computers.

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Zero Gravity Circus

I biked over to 1300 Gerrard Street East to join the weekly Zero Gravity Circus practice (7 – 11, Wednesdays). These guys are way, way cool. They’re really set up for circus practice: long strips of cloth for acrobats, mats all over the place, and even a small stage. People juggled assorted things: balls, clubs, rings… A number of people practiced poi (they’re using really short strings, for some reason) and fire staves (sans fire), and there were even a couple of diabolo people. (Way, way, cool!)

The streetcar runs along Gerrard Street E, so it’s a pretty convenient location. Now I have a regular Wednesday evening thing…

彼はコンピューターに精通している。 He is acquainted with computers.

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