Hello and welcome back!
My first morning went as planned.
I went and got my Social Insurance Number from the Canada Service Centre (Took 15 minutes due to being a early bird arrival)
I then headed across the street to a Bank and opened up an account (TD Bank gave me 6 months free banking – I have since heard that BMO will give you one year free banking)
Then I headed to the Mall across the street again and bought a sim card from ‘Koodo’ (This stings as the prices of mobile telephony hear far outprices the UK – I mean what the hell is a “Data Limit”!?!)
SO after this was all done within 1hr 30min I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself and I headed off around the city.
I soon met up with a Canadian guy that a very close friend back home set me up with on a Bro-date. We met and he showed me around down town, The CN tower and showed me a few of his favourite bars:
Later that evening, I was invited out by my good friends Fiance to have a few beers with her and friends.
The canadians sure love to drink and within a couple hours we were drunk playing pool in another Bar.
Before I knew it, it was Friday – I had been here 2 nights and 2 days.
My last night in the Hotel was upon me and I started to feel a little bit nervous that I was now having to face living with people I don’t know in a country I had only just really started to learn about.
My last night in the Hotel was eased by a few beers in the local Pub (Imperial Pub, Dundas Street West).
I had messaged the AirBNB host to see if it would be possible to check in around 11:30 to at least drop my large suitcase in – He had no issue with this and said the house would be Empty and he would leave the key somewhere.
I woke up the next day and the time began to fly by to my 11am Checkout.
Once i had settled my bill I booked an Uber and made my way to the Air BNB House.
As we pulled away from the busy City streets and down in to a residential street only 15 minutes along the road (Roads here run for miles!) I felt a very homely feel.
I scurried up the porch steps and found the key was exactly where he said it would be – I entered slowly and cautiously though just incase someone was home.
The house was indeed empty so i headed upstairs to my room as guided by the Host via his last message.
The room was exactly as described and pictured. I felt great relief in dropping my suitcase off and luckily my very close friend back home had set me up with another Canadian guy (Who I had actually met back in Bristol).
We were heading to the Blue Jays game, which was very exciting for me as I had never watched a game of Baseball.
The whole event was overwhelming, the stadium was enormous and had the CN Tower looking over it and everyone.
The weather was great and I was feeling a good ‘high’ from the atmosphere.
The Game was over and the Blue Jays had won (They lost the night previous and the day following, so I think they must have really tried for me 😛 )
I headed back to the Airbnb house exhausted from the Beer and Heat.
Slowly… I opened the door and could see/hear the TV on.
As I peaked around the corner I was greeted by the host Blake and his Wife Sophie, They were friendly and I felt a big relief of concern. We shared a short conversation about who I was and what I would be doing up until I depart at the end of the week.
I then apologised for my clear tiredness and headed up for a good nights rest.
The next morning (Sunday) I woke to the sound of more footsteps than just 2 people. I led awake trying to work out who these other people could be.
When I headed downstairs to go out for the day I bumped in to a very trendy dressed guy who was very happy to introduce himself to me. I then headed out to get some air and see more of the city.
This day seemed a little wasted. I had walked the same streets and mall that I had already done the previous 3 days. It was beginning to feel like I had now seen and done Toronto… This was not a good thing.
I had been looking online for places to live and jobs for work since Thursday (6th August).
Rooms for rent come on a Facebook group (Bunz Home) I am part of but if you don’t jump on them quick enough they are being swamped with messages of intrest.
I took to Craigslist and found a room for rent in August that was right around the block from where my Hotel had been, so I naturally felt a calming sensation at the thought of being able to live near that Hotel because it was nice and well located.
I thought my luck was in when the person leasing the room responded and asked if I wanted to view it that very afternoon… I jumped at the chance and at 3pm I walked to the house.
As I approached it there were a few homeless guys, people who were clearly on drugs and a ratty looking squirrel (I’ll let him off)
The house was next door to a Gentleman’s club and I got a real concerned feeling.
I tried to call the guy who i had messaged and he did not answer so I took the oppurtunity to walk away from the House and head back to civilisation.
As I got two blocks away my phone rang and it was him… I answered and after hearing a friendly voice I headed back.
The door was open this time and a very well dressed guy introduced himself.
The house was big and the other housemate was also extremely friendly and approachable (Dont judge a housemate by its house?)
We sat down and discussed the room (Which was small and not particularly clean, but it had a bed atleast)
Me and the 2 housemates that were in sat down for a good chin-wag about ourselves and it all felt very friendly/comfortable.
He asked me to let him know via email if I was geniunely interested. We shook hands as I left.
I had enough of the day and headed home where I was greeted by the same trendy guy and also the other unseen housemate. Both extremely friendly and happy to introduce themselves again.
As conversations started to flow I was made aware these 3 guys were all friends from the age of 2! (Now 30 years old) – I was amongst a group of tight ‘Bros’.
We headed out in to the garden and they handed out the beers as we sat in the sun talking about their lives and my own.
I then explained my visit to the house earlier to which they replied “Duuudddeee, Thats the F**king Ghettooooo”
That was that… I was NOT going to show my interest in that room.
I vented my concerns about what I had set out to accomplish and they threw out ideas and solutions to put my concerns to rest. They could not see why I should be worried about the idea of not finding a job or a place to live (This seems to be a common response from people I tell. Do people think I am Bruce Wayne with a Mastercard Black Card?)
The night went on and I felt more and more comfortable in the home they were renting out. We bought pizza (Frescas on College Street, It was incredible), played video games and I watched my first Episode of “House of Cards”… It was a real chilled evening.
Monday morning rolled round and my anxiety was back.
I began to feel very alone in the city and admittedly I missed my home and friends back in England.
These feelings were not helped by the struggle of trying to find somewhere to live.
Messages to close friends back home led to a flow of support and backing that “I could do this!” but I couldn’t shake the fear of failing.
This day again felt a bit wasted as I walked the same streets again. Stopping for new Burrito locations and not much more!
I went back again to the House in search of Brotherhood but the house was empty. I spent the early evening applying for jobs and putting my CVs to recruitment agents in Toronto.
Within a hour I had arranged a telephone interview with a IT firms owner and a Skype meeting with a IT recruiter… I got an early night in preparation to make the calls.
Today was now upon us (Tuesday 11th July) and I woke early in anticipation for the calls.
Both telephone and skype calls went pretty well and I landed a face to face interview next Friday (21st July) at the IT firm.
With this confidence boost I headed downstairs where I was greeted by Blake’s Wife.
Conversation flowed and Sophie explained her arrival to the country as stressful too (Sophie is from France). She had arrived on a internship for a company that had sacked her would-be boss two months before she even arrived! She had the stress and concerns of no where to live at that point too but she stuck it out and managed to pull through to be able to settle and live here.
She re-assured me with kind words again that I should not worry because of how I present myself and even said if I found myself in trouble for accomodation I could use their couch (I could not believe this gesture from a household that had sold me a service and only knew of my existence for a couple of days).
With this comforting realisation that I am not the only one who struggles to leave their home country, I headed out for the day and enjoyed a tour of the Steam Whistle Brewery by the CN Tower.
To summarise my first week:
Toronto is huge, with lots of people and a lot of residential buildings that appear to be filled with wealthy people.
I have only this week left before I need to find more accommodation – The search for a sublet is ongoing but I fear until I can find one (IF i find one!) I will be going through a lot of money on AirBNB and Hotels to give my head a place to rest each night.
This move was monumentally underplanned in hindsight – Maybe I should have only came here if I had a job and place to stay lined up – But that on its own has its limitations and is not guaranteed to not fall through.
I am scared of failing at this and I will be trying my damn best to make it work out.
I keep telling myself to just do what I have to do and if I get down to my last $1000 I will be boarding a plane back to the UK.
I apologise for the darker attitude in this post – It certainly is not as easy as I thought it would be.
I hope the next post bounces back up with positivity and better news!