I picked the destination

In August, I moved from Montreal after almost 10 years to the small town of Telford, Pennsylvania, a little less than an hour north of Philadelphia.  It’s a beautiful little town.  Our home is nestled in a small development filled with couples with kids that are around the same age as Joseph and Julian.  Lots of prospective baby sitters in the next few years as well.  Within 10 minutes, we have pretty much everything we could be looking for in terms of local shopping, as well as several wonderful local pizza joints.

It’s a wonderful place.

I work at myYearbook.com, a wonderful social discovery site, in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  It’s a good hour commute in the morning, and a bit longer on the way back home.  The people that work there are incredibly smart, highly motivated, and know their field extremely well.  It’s wonderful working with them.  Every day is a learning experience.  It’s a wonderful place to grow and expand professionally.  Between the number of published authors and open source contributors, as well different technologies we are using, it’s hard for anyone not be learning something new every day.

But why did I move?

Joseph.  Born in November of 2008, he was pre-diagnosed with autism in the summer of 2010 at one-and-a-half years old.  For a year, my wife and I fought he Quebec government to get help for him.  Between both private and public care, he was constantly denied treatment.  Coming to Pennsylvania, the public care he receives as a child with autism is light years beyond what Quebec had to offer.  Before getting here, we’d gotten appointments.  Within the first month, he’d received more help for autism then he’d ever gotten in Quebec.  It was at the same time wonderful and sickening.  To know he was getting help, and to realize how many people are still suffering in Quebec.

My greatest hack was moving to Pennsylvania and getting my son help.  It was making that decision to move.  When you’ve lived in a place for 10 years, it’s hard to disrupt your life.  But one afternoon, after another major setback, I told my wife that I was going to move us to the US and get Joseph care.  It wasn’t a discussion.  It was a decision.  A few months later, we left Quebec hoping for the best.

There are times in your life you are given an opportunity, but those are far and few between.  Waiting on them is a mistake.  Instead, you need to make your own opportunities.  You need to make a decision.  There was a lot of work between deciding to move, and finally moving in to our new place.  I won’t say it was easy.  But it was easier than I thought it would be.  But still, it was a lot of work.  But the hardest part was finally admitting that the only person that could make this happen was my wife and me.  Making a decision.

We all make choices in our lives. They can be simple choices.  What to have for dinner?  What to name a variable?  What tree to use for this data set?  These are easy choices.  They are easy because we have control over them.

The decision to move, as big as it was, was easy to make when I understood I had to take control.  I couldn’t wait on a careless government.  Who could I trust, more than my wife and I, for my son’s well-being?  No one.

Since moving, Joseph has received a tremendous amount of real help tailored for his condition.  In November, when he turns 3, he goes in for more intensive treatment.  Everywhere doors are open.  The effort is on his treatment, not on finding treatment.

From the moment I made that decision until today, I never reflected on the difference of that decision as opposed to others I’ve made in my life. What, after all, truly made this decision different?

I made a choice about what I wanted.  After that was made, I simply had to make it happen.  Plot the course.  I didn’t make a choice to make a plan to reach an outcome.  I picked the destination.

People will tell you it’s not where we go but how we get there that matters.  And while I don’t disagree with the latter part, the destination had better matter, or else you’re just wandering aimlessly.  So what does all this mean?

Pick a destination.  Get there well.

How not to automatically detect location

We’re moving.  We are leaving Montreal, and moving to Telford, PA.  And it’s happening soon.  Very soon.  Luckily, we have most everything in order.  A place to move to, a job, utilities, TV, Internet, phone and movers.  We have most everything packed.  A lot of work moving, especially to a different country, but it’s exciting.

One thing I am finding difficult to overcome, however, is the internet.  More precisely, “smart” developers who decide to use my IP address as an indicator of what country I’m in and deny me the ability to even *look* at something.

My IP Address is not my nationality

Despite living in Canada for almost 10 years, I’m still American.  Do not assume that just because I have a Canadian IP address that I am Canadian.  Most web sites get this correct.  They display error messages talking about the location.  Some, however, make the extra leap and assume I am Canadian.  I am not.  While I don’t have anything against Canadians (my wife and kids are, after all), it just strikes me as odd.  And it’s wrong.

It’s even more wrong when the error message says the offer is only available to American’s or someone with an American address.  I am one, and I have one.

I want to read up on your service

Let’s be clear: I realize you don’t offer your service to people living in Canada.  You can even tell me that.  But redirecting links and preventing me from even reading the material is dumb.  I’m moving, and I’d like to read up on what you have to offer.  I know better than you where I am, why I’m at your site, and what I need from it.  It’s one thing from preventing me from actually making a purchase, it’s another thing entirely to block all the information on a service from me.

Even more annoying are the sites that redirect you, but then allow you to browse the sites anyway.  I have to try and search the site for the information I was originally directed to.  And that’s annoying.

Don’t shun me

Living in Canada, I’m fully aware of how the laws make certain things difficult.  Living in Quebec means I’m completely aware of how downright difficult it is to provide services here.  Quebec is in every exception for anything ever offered.  I mean, if I come across some special that is available in Canada, I need only read the small print to find the Quebec exception.

But that doesn’t mean you should go the extra step of blocking me from seeing an offer or getting updates on future offers.

Listen, I’m moving to a new area, a new country, a new way of doing things.  I want to do as much as I can before getting down there.  Stop trying to be “smart” and get all creative.  Do the bare minimum, warn me, prevent me from spending money: find.  I can accept that.  But stop preventing me from learning about your service.