Thursday night, and yet another step closer to becoming a Canadian.

Today was my long-awaited biometrics appointment at Service Canada. It was remarkably uneventful, aside from a fellow immigrant who was too cool (and angry) to stand in line. That security guard had the patience of a saint. After some perfunctory identity verification, the guy at Service Canada took my picture, got my fingerprints taken using a very sci-fi-looking device (like something you’d see in a 70s movie), and that was it. Remarkably uneventful for such a key event.

Online, my fellow wannabe-Canadians are a bit panicky about their timelines: earlier this year, the pandemic stopped all the immigration processing. They resumed in September – according to the Service Canada guy, they work evenings and weekends to process that backlog. That’s mighty impressive, and raises my opinion of Canada by yet another notch. (I know, I know, this country has some serious issues, but compared to the wannabe-dictatorship with mass shootings and caged children that I escaped in 2019, it’s pretty damn perfect.)

This was the last piece of the puzzle. Now I just need to hurry up and wait: at some point between now and early February, I’ll get my permanent residence, and all of this will have been worth it. So close. So very, very close…

In culinary adventures, I’ve decided to try and get more protein from actual food, as opposed to my amazing protein smoothie. (It’s got ~80 grams of protein, and I’m not entirely sure that’s such a good idea.) That resulted in some interesting dietary decisions. Yesterday, I gobbled up six cups of Greek yogurt. Today, I force-fed myself a pound of chicken while contemplating the life choices I’d made to end up at that point. Heh. And they lockdown life is boring.

The stock market is slowly but surely crashing after the Monday election/vaccine euphoria. The smartest thing to do would’ve been to sell my skyrocketing stocks on Monday. I did the second-smartest thing by selling some of them on Tuesday, followed by slowly (but surely) buying them back as they declined in price by 10% or more. That’s risky, since the tide could always turn and I could miss out on another mini-rally, but I accept the risk. Nonetheless, with all the upcoming vaccine announcements there’ll almost certainly be more one-day spikes and mini-rallies, especially once the distribution begins: any vaccination campaign, no matter how small or where, will have a profound psychological effect on the entire world.

In covid news, this chronicle of a covid outbreak in Maine is equal parts fascinating and horrifying. A wedding reception had 55 guests. One had covid. After 38 days, 176 others got infected because of that one person, and seven died. (None of the seven had been at the wedding, so they didn’t even get to enjoy the damn cake.) Of particular interest is the fact that people kept going to work once they started showing symptoms. That’s an almost uniquely American phenomenon at this point: a combination of stubbornness and lack of social net: they either didn’t want to skip work or couldn’t afford to. Perhaps both.

The Maine outbreak was remarkably well researched, but it was just one of many: a perfect postmortem of a typical cluster, of which there are so many… Weddings, funerals, birthday parties, all sorts of gatherings people want to have despite the odds. Diwali starts in two days, and will likely lead to even more clusters, even denser groups of people celebrating and sharing their germs… This is gonna be a long winter.