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Settling in Toronto

Now I wanted to write this post as I feel sometimes people assume that those who have gone ‘travelling’ or to live in another city/country are ‘living the dream’ constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad that Jamie and I decided to make the move to Canada but it isn’t always ‘living the dream’, there is some reality to it. As I mentioned in my ‘Views in Toronto’ post, Jamie found a job pretty quickly. He had an interview on the third day of us being here and then started the following week. For me, it wasn’t that easy. I will mention, Jamie had actually applied for his role while we were in Calgary and they got back to him the day before we came to Toronto so it was lucky we had our flight booked and heading that way. IMG_2807

As Jamie starts his first day, I am sat in the B&B room (a different one, we changed from Downtown Home Inn as they were fully booked so we couldn’t extend, boo) and I’m thinking to myself ‘shit, what do I do now?’ lol reality hit. I continue my job search, I had already applied for a few jobs as most nights we would have an hour or so looking/applying for jobs as well as looking for somewhere to live. But so far, no news. We had found a place to live though, we went to view it one evening after Jamie had finished work and I put the deposit down the following day unfortunately though we couldn’t move in until April 1st and it was still the beginning of March. It was a 1-bedroom basement apartment close to downtown (30 min subway ride) which at first we were unsure about as we don’t have basement apartments in the UK and didn’t like the idea of it. However, after living there now for the past year- I love it, it is just what we needed to kick off our lives here. Good price, good location and great landlord. Our landlord (bless him) asked us if we had a bed or a TV and we were like ‘no, we have our backpacks and that’s it’ lol and he said he will sort it out… we hope so lol.

Jamie’s first week went by, without me getting any phone calls or emails from potential employers. But on a brighter note, Jamie’s new boss offered us to live in his empty condo in Oakville where Jamie was working (until we could move into our basement apartment). So on the weekend, we ventured to Oakville with our backpacks, my pull along case, Jamie’s other backpack and 2 Ikea bags- we had brought ourselves our very own towel each and duvet cover and sheets (yay). This was a lot to carry to the subway, on the subway, to the train station, on the train, onto a bus and then a 10-minute walk to the condo. Looooool what you do when you’re travelling ey haha, I remember walking on the road nearly crying because I just wanted to get there and Jamie was like a mile ahead of me. By this point I hated carrying my backpack around. I despised it lol. But finally, we arrived.
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Oakville is such a lovely town, so many beautiful houses- definitely a place you would like to bring up your children and they can safely play on the street. Our condo was nice, it wasn’t furnished, it was just what his boss had left there from when they lived there but fortunately it was the essentials we needed. The supermarket was literally 3 minutes from the condo so it was a great for the next 3 weeks. It was only until Jamie went back to work on the Monday that I realized… there’s not a lot to do in Oakville. The gym was a good 30-minute walk and we hadn’t signed up yet as I didn’t have a job- so Joe Wicks on YouTube it was then. It was the second week that it really hit me, tell a lie- it hit me the first week but I still had Toronto to go and explore, our place to sort out, people in the B&B to talk too. When I was in Oakville, I was literally alone- it was sooo quite in the day, literally no-one was around.

This is when I started to become a little sad, I was getting frustrated that no-one had contacted me in regards to a job. I had literally applied to everything I wanted to do and didn’t. Because of my frustration and loss of determination I became lazy, I didn’t want to get out of bed, I had no energy and I was really missing home. I really did rely on my family and friends to pick me up, but sometimes it was a daily thing where I felt I needed to speak to someone to assure me we had done the right thing by moving here. Because of my mood, this also effected Jamie- he felt sorry for me and wanted to come home earlier to be with me but also needed to get the hours in to earn money.

Don’t think I want this post to turn into a depressing moan, I just want people to know that its normal to go through these feelings. I personally don’t think about the negative when I want to do something- I like to think of the positives and strive for what I want to do. Whereas Jamie sometimes think about the negative and worries about the ‘what ifs’. Jamie was very lucky to find a job so quick; which is great but don’t think because you haven’t found a job straight away there is no hope. I personally didn’t think about how long it would take me to get a job before I came travelling and looking back now, it took me just over a month.

I had applied to a job posting on a website that happened to be advertised through an employment agency and someone called me from the agency. Now I was new to the agency world but attended the interview and got to find out how agencies work. Unfortunately, the job that the agency put me forward too, decided to not move forward with my resume (CV) due to lack of administrative experience, but I decided to continue following up with my representative to see what else was available and luckily enough (I do think sometimes timing is key) the day I decided to call they had an internal role available and I’ve been there ever since.

My purpose of this post is to show you that sometimes it is an emotional rollercoaster when trying to find a job and settle in to a new country when you don’t know anyone, especially when you are unemployed. Jamie and I brought a certain amount of money travelling and wanted to limited ourselves to that amount hence we wanted to start working after our month of travelling. The strain of me not having a job for the second month meant Jamie was paying for the both of us. I am so thankful to Jamie for supporting me and us through that time as it wasn’t easy for either of us. I was also reluctant to tell my family and friends that I wasn’t very happy because we had spent 2 years planning to come here and then I was sad in only the second month. But telling them made me realise how much I love my family and the support they give me and also how much my friends were there for me. I will never take anyone for granted and make the effort to maintain my friendships back home as these people mean the world to me. I understand not everyone have others to talk to and if you are reading this post, believe me- you will get there. You may have your ups and downs but keep going and your time will come- my next post will give tips and hints on how to help you become employed (it will specifically be based on my experience in Canada, but you never know it may work elsewhere too).

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See you in my next one…

Jollietravels xxx

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Views in Toronto

So here we are, the last city we visited before settling down and looking for work, the end of a month’s travelling… we are in TORONTO!!! Funny thing is, we weren’t going to come to Toronto because to fly from Edmonton (which by the way I didn’t do a post on because it wasn’t worth it) was super expensive. It is actually really expensive to fly around Canada, it’s cheaper to fly to the States or equal to fly to other places in the world. IMG_2832
As soon as we walked around Toronto, I loved it! Jamie wasn’t so sure at first but soon came to realise that there is so much going on here!!! So much to do, and so much to see and my blog is going to showcase that… I think when people think of Canada, they think ‘cold’, ‘snow’, ‘bears’. I know that was a lot of the conversation topics we had when we told people we were moving here. But it’s so much more than that, Canada is actually super-hot in the summer!!! Hotter than I expected… I mean we was wearing clothes that we would wear on holiday, not what I would wear in the UK. And with the warm weather comes so much possibilities and opportunities… anyway I’m jumping ahead of myself. Let’s talk about when we got here… when it was still snowing lol.

We stayed in a B&B called Downtown Home Inn, which I recommend to anyone who comes to Toronto. We were a bit skeptical at first because there is no reception or anyone to greet you, they leave the key at the door and email you a code and BAM you’re in! The B&B is a cute town house converted into a B&B, the décor is lovely and the amenities have everything you need. Every cereal, bread, bagels, milk, orange juice, snacks, that’s all stocked daily. There are utensils so you can cook your own meals as well which was handy for us travelers. It is also nice to have a communal area to see and talk to other people, I used this as an opportunity to talk to Canadians/others and get to know about Canada as much as I could (Jamie thought I just ask too many questions lol). The location is great, you can walk to Yonge-Dundas square in about 15 minutes (if you’ve never been to Toronto, you may not know what Yonge-Dundas Sq is but no worries, we didn’t either- you can trust me though, it’s a good location).

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To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what Toronto had to offer except the CN tower which we didn’t want to go up yet as it was winter and there wouldn’t have been a clear view. But the B&B had lots of information on things to do so we basically explored the different neighbourhoods Toronto has to offer in our first 5 days (we booked 5 nights at the B&B). I’m not sure about other places (in the world, depending where you are reading from) but where we are from (Nottingham, UK) there was a town center where most people would go for shopping, restaurants, cinema and most social activities and you would just say ‘nipping to town’. It’s completely different here, there is no town center where everything is and all in walking distance- there is downtown Toronto which is split into different neighbourhoods in which you go to depending on what you are doing. Different neighbourhoods are known for and have different things (see map below).

We weren’t in Toronto very long until we decided we would settle here, it was a mix off we are this side of Canada anyway, it’s so expensive to go back west and we genuinely liked the city- but wasn’t sure what to expect. Jamie also had contact from an employer in Toronto who wanted to meet him so we went with it. Our second day in the city, we brought a local SIM (647 gang though, not 416), set up a bank account and prepared Jamie for his interview the following day. The third day, we had to venture to Oakville where the interview was- we thought Oakville was in Toronto but it turns out it isn’t lol. The location was on an industrial road (Jamie works in the trade) but we had no idea where we were and it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere. Whilst Jamie was in his interview there wasn’t much for me to do so I found a Tim Hortons (seen as they are everywhere) thinking yes, I’ll just sit here until he is done- well that wasn’t the case, as it was an industrial estate it was drive through only. So I got my peppermint tea, and stood on the side of the main road casually waiting for Jamie to finish lol. I was thankful that he didn’t take that long to woe them and was offered a job (woo). He was starting the following Monday.

I’m going to split the first month or so (of Toronto, whilst we were getting settled) into a 3-part series as it’s the best way I can think to do it and don’t want each blog post to be too long. The next post I’m going to do is a ‘real talk’ post, about my personal experience of finding a job in Toronto, settling in and about the ups and downs I/we went through. The final post, I want to write about the best way (that I recommend) to help you settle into a new city and find a job, whether it be Toronto or anywhere you have chosen to adventure too. It’s a big decision and step to make, that I know a lot of people want too or have done so I thought it would be helpful and insightful to see it from my point of view and hopefully helps others too. Also some tips and hints that I wish I knew before I came here but have learnt along the way. So stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.

Jollietravels xxx