- Part one: finality and evolution
- Part two: positivity and motivation
- Part four: distance
- Part five: clarity and inevitability
A series of personal essays reflecting on moving to the other side of the world. There are no conclusions. Sorry. I’m working on it.
I’ve lived in Canada for 323 days now. Almost a full year. The street cars don’t amaze me like they did on day 3, and I no longer order double doubles at Tims like I learnt how to on day 22. I survived the winter and seem to have survived the summer, despite them being much much colder and much much hotter than I was used to. I bought emergency thermals in December and emergency shorts in July and I still carry my rain coat everywhere, just in case, like Britain taught me to.
323 days and we’ve reached, or returned to, equilibrium. I go to work, I come home. I see my friends and I eat too much pasta (my own fault for living in Little Italy). I plan to visit New York at short notice and I navigate the mall like a pro. I know the name of next doors cat and I talk to strangers about the subway delays.
323 days was all it took to reach a new equilibrium.
I visit my friends and they visit me. I show them Toronto and where I work and my apartment and we eat too much pasta together. I don’t show many people my apartment, but I like it and I’m glad I have it. 308 days of living here, by myself, in my apartment.
My friends are good and patient with me even though they don’t need to be. They don’t mind when I take ages to respond because they text me in their morning whilst I was still sleeping. They like hearing my stories and facts about Canada even though I know they’re boring. They bring me lucozade when they visit (eternally grateful). But the visits are a rarity and for most of the time life is just equilibrium, briefly punctuated by the fortnightly face times and the tweets about Brexit that you all have apparently decided to send me on the regular (seriously was there a sign up sheet where y’all decided a rota on this???).
The great Canadian adventure has turned into the great Canadian existence. I could be living in London, or Newport, or Newcastle to go to work, come home, and drink beers and see films and eat too much pasta. But I’m not, I changed that. Sometimes I think about the life that’s waiting for me at home, (the friends who have yet to achieve their true greatness, the relationships that never got off the ground, the opportunities in my career, the engagements and marriages and babies I’m missing) and I’m sad and ashamed.
I took this wonderful, amazing, great, once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m using it to work? And eat pasta? And watch more Netflix than I feel comfortable admitting?
I want to stay in Canada, I think I can stay, I hope I can stay. But if I leave then I won’t regret the time I’ve spent here.
I haven’t seen the mountains or met a bear or Drake and I don’t paint or write as much as the internet has made us believe we ought to (not all hobbies need to be monetized, not all interests need a public output). But at the end of the day when I can come home from a job I like, to a flat I like, and sit amongst my ikea furniture and dying plants and look around knowing all of this is mine? I’m very grateful to have stumbled (fallen) into this exact equilibrium.
Here’s to another 323 days of it.