#009 – 1/6 way through my Visa

Hello all that bothered to keep an eye on this!

Again, I apologise for the huge delays between my posts… and again, not a lot has changed for me here.

I have managed to survive 4 months now, working Monday to Friday and then “living it up” on the weekend.

The more I think about how quickly the past 4 months have passed has made me realise that before I know it, I will be having to leave Canada!

My Bristol/UK Hobbies have turned from Cars and Burritos to Burritos, Alcohol and more burritos… No seriously, most days I am eating a burrito for lunch & dinner and why the hell shouldn’t I?!? I can afford to and they are god damn delicious!

The weather has started to drop its temperature and so my other biggest spending has been on preparing to tackle the freezing temperatures and potential snow.

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I will be looking to make some weekend trips out of Toronto during the fall/winter with the mates I have made here.

I will be sure to post more exciting content as it occurs!

 

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#008 – 8 Week “Pulse Check”

Hello all!

Apologies for the 5 week absence.

This is a short “Pulse Check” update to let you all know that I still exist and am still in Toronto.

Not a lot lot has really happened over the past few weeks.

I started a new “Toronto Burrito Review” Instagram page (Please follow to boost numbers 😛 )

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I guess more importantly, I started my new job…
This was just in time too, as I started to run low on money after pushing out 4 months worth of Rent and going out on all nights of the week drinking. This lack of funds actually pushed me to become a recluse for the past few weeks as I eagerly awaited my first pay cheque.

The job itself is straight forward IT support. Very much what I have been doing in my 10 year IT career.

The office is in a cool place, the guys I work alongside are fun and at times a good laugh (When everyone is not sat staring at 3 screens with their noise cancelling headphones on)

The office is 4 walls with only skylight windows, so there is absolutely nothing to see outside.
The enclosed environment along with the fact I am not doing anything I would class as exciting keeps making me think “I could be sat anywhere in the world doing what I am doing right now, So what was the point?”

With the above phrase being on loop in my mind, I really cannot say how long I will stay in this position.
I leave work each day already happy to be away from it, which is a clear indication that it is not what I was looking for coming here.

This does leave me in a bit of confusion though… I have only done IT support for the past 10 years. What can I possibly get in to with the experience I have, that is not IT support!?! – Answers on a postcard please!

I sure hope I am not coming across ungrateful in this post.
I feel blessed to have a good Job, a room in a house and some amazing housemates/friends.

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I am going to give the job a couple of months and put it down to me still settling in the city/country.
Hopefully, I can find my right mindset for the job or better yet find a new industry in which I can flourish.

I have a couple of long weekends coming up so I shall be sure to post more frequently again!

Thanks for reading guys!

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#007 – Week 3 of Toronto Life

Welcome back to another weekly update.

I have had feedback about the length of my posts but I cant help it when I get on a roll.
SO, deep breath and lets see how long this gets! (Thats what she said)

Friday last week I attended my first interview with a IT company in Downtown Toronto.

It was 26 degrees Celsius but I still threw on a suit and headed out (In an Uber with AC fortunately!)

I had read on the job advertisement that the office was “Dog Friendly” and that was no understatement… Upon my arrival, I was pounced on by two pooches!

I met with the owners (Husband & Wife) and the Technical co-ordinator.
The interview was conducted in the typical format of me running through my history but also explaining my story of what brought me to Toronto.

All 3 were eager to hear my plans and hopes from the experience and were understanding of my concerns and frustration so early!

The interview went on for about an Hour and after me telling my classic “Life of Stu White” Work and personal history, they were keen to have me back in to carry out a technical test and to meet the Team that the position would be working with.

After leaving the interview, I headed straight for a burrito at a recommended spot “Bolets Burrito” which was just a couple of blocks from the office – It was as good as described by Trentt (Jamieson’s Partner)

After a casual stroll back to my Sublet room I decided to start looking for a room to lease from September 1st as the room I am currently in is only until August 31st.

Whilst I browsed through the usual local sites I was surprised to see the apartment right below where I was staying had a room available for September 1st!
The ad said the 4 bedroom apartment is shared with 1 British Guy, 1 Irish guy and 1 Canadian girl.

I wasted no time in texting the guys numbers on the ad and within 30 minutes I was downstairs viewing the room.

Jack is a Brit from Watford, 21 and on the same visa as me.
He arrived with no where to live and no job so i felt a calming sensation that what i had done was not a stupid and uncommon occurrence!

Jack asked me if I had a job and I replied “No, but I am currently interviewing”.
He was surprised that the landlord had let me move in when I did not have a job.
His surprise was then again raised once I said “I have not even met the landlord, I just paid Sabrina the money for the room and I am staying there”.

Jack went on to say how the Landlord is very particular and that I wont be considered for the room without having a Job.
I took an application form for the room and left (Yes, i have to apply for a room here as though it were a job!)

Friday evening rolled around and I found myself bored in my room. I had no plans for the night even though it would have been perfect summer evening drinks weather.
I end up watching more episodes of ‘The US Office’.

9:30pm, Suddenly a knock at my door… Holly (Housemate who is also subletting a room) peers in to my room and explains that the toilet is broken.
Holly continues to make a phone call to the Landlord (That I only earlier learnt about being very particular)  and gets an earful as it turns out he did not know that Holly was living in his house!!!

Once the call is over, I go and explain how I learnt about the Landlord being a stickler about who lives here and she said that he would be round any minute…

The thought of my being caught here too runs through my head and so I explain to Holly that I will head out as it would be bad news if I find myself homeless tonight!

In my bed clothing (A plain T, Jogger shorts and no socks) I throw my trainers on, Grab my phone, keys, Wallet and exit swiftly.
As I leave i see Jack on the porch luckily and explain the situation. He is as surprised as I am that he is on his way over so asked him to text me when the Landlord has gone.

I walked around downtown looking like a lost soul for almost an Hour. I wanted to stop in bars but each reflection I caught myself in on my walk reminded me that I look like clean hobo.

Eventually the call came through and I was clear to return.

Saturday rolled around and I spent the day with Yadder and Stacey at ‘Made by Madrigal’ in The Junction.

They were throwing Brunch with the ‘Kaffe’ next door the following day (Which I attended and is the pic featured on the Title of this post).
Yadder and Stacey were busy rearranging the shop and I was happy to offer my assistance in moving anything they told me needed moving.

This was a new experience for me and we soon started to drink Wine whilst Stacey prepared new tables for the event, Yadder cleared spaces and I assisted where ever I was able to.

I was happy just spending time with these awesome people being put to some use but the work turned to play and the couple took me out for Dinner and Beers all on them!
Thank you Madrigals!!!

Sunday morning was great at Brunch. Yadder and Stacey kindly placed me with close friends of theirs and I felt immediately comfortable talking with the guys and gals around me.

2 IPA’s with Brunch saw the start of a day of drinking and from the morning right in to the evening I made my way across the city stopping in many pubs for many, many beers!
$100 spent on beers saw me head home… As I had a interview the next afternoon!

Monday…

I wake up as though I had not drank a drop. Mostly thanks to me drinking 2 litres of water before bed and another litre through the night.

I got suited up once again and headed to the office for interview part 2.
This time I took the street car to the nearest subway station and then 3 stops to Union Station which is right by the office. This took 25 minutes, which is awesome!

The technical procedure test and written questions exam were given to me and I was left to get on with it.
The task was server and Desktop related but I had no trouble going through and completing.

I left a couple of questions unanswered but I made it clear I did not want to come across as a “Chancer”.

With this stage of the Interview done, I was passed over to 3 of the Tech guys who I would be working with (Should the position be offered).
We headed upstairs and I felt a little more nervous as I did not know what level they may go to in an attempt to make me slip up or make me question my own intelligence.

The chat actually went in the opposite direction and I felt as though I was having beers with like minded individuals.
There were plenty of laughs as I went through my Work and Life History and I entertained with my stories of my Landlord drama.

I once again left and headed for a Burrito 😀

Later that afternoon I strolled around aimlessly trying to find new streets to venture, when I checked the time on my Phone and noticed a missed call (Stupidly not turned phone off of ‘Silent’ from the interview earlier that day!) and a voicemail waiting.

I was filled with delight and a little fear when it turned out to be the owner of the company.

Luckily, he chased the call with an email and within 5 minutes he called back and we were discussing the interviews.
I had doubt in my mind as he asked me how I felt it went.

After confirmation of the questions I missed on the test he said that the guys from the Team were happy with meeting me and felt I would not only bring good technical skills to the company… But also a great personality 🙂

Joe (Boss and Owner) proceeded to propose a job offer, to which I was thrilled to accept!

I HAVE A JOB!!!!

Joe and I both sounded as thrilled as each other and I aim to start next Monday (31st July) with another new starter.

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Tuesday…

Tuesday started off as a bright morning with the knowledge that I had a job lined up.

I had moments of anxiety as I turned my efforts to finding a place to live and spent the most of the day looking for more sublets and/or Leases on rooms in the city.

Sabrina and I bumped in to each other in the Kitchen and she explained that a room would be available in the apartment as the other guy is moving out for September 1st!
This was a relatively weak piece of news as I knew how hard it was to apply for the room owned by the same landlord below.

Sabrina said she had the girl coming over to meet the Landlord that afternoon and that I could meet him too and try to apply for the room here.
She told me he would be here at 5 so I would have to act like I was visiting at that time (haha!)

I went out and got my hair cut and then returned in time to freshen up, pack my laptop bag and then make it look like I was there as an outsider.

I was nervous when I heard the footsteps of the Landlord arrive… To be greeted by an Old, Greek gentleman.

I was naturally polite and introduced myself as the guy who applied for the room downstairs.
After explaining that I understood why he would not accept me for the room he looked at me and said “Yes, I do have my doubts about you”.

This threw me off a bit as I was there wanting to pay this man money to live in his house!

I turned my British accent to Hugh Grant levels and explained that I now had a job offer. I handed over my Resume and gave the details of what I was doing for the new job.
He turned and said “Wow, you came here and got yourself a really good job”.

He looked at Sabrina and Holly for their input on whether they would want me living there and they both responded positively.

John had me fill out another application form for this room and let me sign the 12 month lease 🙂

I HAVE SOMEWHERE TO LIVE!

I will be spending the rest of the week enjoying the last of my free time with the new comfort of having a Job lined up and a roof over my head for atleast 12 months.

Thank you to all that have been taking the time to read these posts and messaging me through my hard times.

I hope that these new events allow me to settle in to structure.

I shall post again next week to update on my few days of freedom this week and the start of my new job here in Toronto.

#006 – Niagara Falls and Hope Rises

Hello all!

Another week down and it is time to report my activity.

We left off on a dark note so I will try to get this post to raise a bit more positive energy!

My last accomodation status was living in a Airbnb room.

Wednesday (July 12th) I was invited to Britt’s (Marks Fiance) Design studio to help with Flower prep.
I have to admit I did not know who was crazier, Me for trying to know what to do or Britt for risking me having a go!

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With the recent low feelings I was looking forward to seeing someone I knew and had experience of moving to Toronto themselves (Britt moved to Toronto on her own a few years back and started ‘Inspire Event Rental & Design. www.inspireeventrental.com)

Britt showed me around ‘The Junction’ which had a much more relaxed vibe going for it.
It was relaxing to be somewhere that felt like a community.
Shops owners from around would enter and say hello to me by name! I was shocked to know how many people knew I would be there.

We strolled through The Junction popping in to shops and a Bar for a beer.

We then popped in to an awesome store called “Made by Madrigal” http://www.madebymadrigal.com/

I was introduced to Yadder, who was busy staining a handmade coffee table.
His hads were gloved and dripping with woodstain so we opted for a ‘Elbow Bump’.

Yadder and his Wife Stacey started the business together and make a wide range of handmade furniture. Yadder explained the amount of work he was currently carrying out after a successful deal with a chain store who were buying his creations.
The junction was a street of hard working, self inspired, talented individuals.

I was branded a “Junction Person” rather than a “Downtown Person” by Britt.
This was certianly a place better suited for hanging out.

Last Thursday (July 13th) I was packing to visit Cottage country with a large group of Friends that I was kindly invited to by Mackenzie (Mackenzie and I met in Brussels, back in 2015 when I was on a stag do returning from Nurburgring).
I was still very on edge about my accomodation situation so I booked a new Airbnb room for the following week when I returned from the Cottage.
I continued searching on all known sites for somewhere to live but the struggle remained.
I had a glimmer of hope when a Guy (Alex) replied to me on craigslist to take over his Sublet for the end of July and the whole of August, So I walked 40 minutes across town to view a 1 bedroom basement apartment.
Upon arrival I was met by a similarly looking guy to myself (Although around 15 years older and tad more weight… So likely me at that age if i continue with my Burrito diet!)
The guy seemed friendly but a little flustered.

He (Alex) started to ask me questions about myself as though i was applying for a job but made out as though the room would be mine.
He then continued to say that in fact he had so much interest that he was awaiting his Landlord to make the decision on who would be allowed to take over the lease (I was a little annoyed at having walked so far just to be told they already had plenty of options but who am I to complain in my current situation)
He was very keen to get the lease signed over as he wanted to leave town that very evening.

I told Alex I was interested and he seemed happy for me to take it over so he text his Landlord and we waited at the front door of the basement.
A smiley middle aged lady came downstairs to the door and Alex introduced us and said he would like to know if I could take over the lease for 2 months.
We laughed and joked about what Alex would be removing from the room and I made it clear that as long as the bed and Mattress stayed I would be happy!

Awkward silence fell upon the 3 of us and Alex said “OK, I have your number and will call you later to confirm”
I left feeling happy and confident the room would be mine.

On the walk home my anxiety turned to relief and I lazily walked unknown streets back to my Airbnb. I bumped in to my Airbnb Host Blake and his Wife Sophie on their pushbikes half way back after hearing a loud “HEY, STU!”.

Time went by in to the evening and the call never came…

I settled down for the evening watching ‘US Office’ trying to forget about it as I focused on the idea of a relaxing weekend at the Cottage on a lake.

10pm Rolled around and I checked my phone for messages from friends and family.
Whilst checking my emails i had seen another reply from a Craigslist advert for a room just around the corner from my Airbnb. The room had been advertised for over a month so I was never really expecting a response.
I had emailed the advertiser (Sabrina) explaining who I was and what I was doing in Toronto – I also sent a link to this Blog for her to get an idea of who I am (An overthinking moron, I hear you shout!)

Sabrina replied and said “The room is yours if you want it! Feel free to come see the room tomorrow afternoon (Friday 14th)”
This was no good as I would have been on my way to the Cottage!
I replied asking if I could view first thing in the morning at any hour seeing as i was just around the corner.
Sabrina replied and said it was fine to swing by at 10am.

10am rolled around so I grabbed my documentation and cheques to go view the room.
A 3 minute stroll saw me arrive at the house with Sabrina sitting outside on the porch.
We went upstairs and checked out the room which was large, bright and most importantly… had a bed!

Sabrina ran the rent and the duration. There are 2 other housemates living here but they were asleep.
I explained I would be away for the weekend but I would take the room.
Money transferred, keys handed over and I had a roof over my head up until September 1st *HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF*

Roll on the weekend!

I was grabbing a ride to the Cottage with Mackenzies sister, Jamieson and her Partner Trentt.
Trentt showed me around their local area (The Distillery) which had a very classy feel to it and then escorted me to pick up Beer for a easy weekend session.

The drive up took 4 hours and I was able to see a much greener side to Canada. The stress of downtown was left behind and I grew more and more excited for the weekend.

We pulled up to the cottage and my mind was blown. The inside of the cottage was not what I was expecting – I have not seen houses this well furnished and decorated.

The weather was very wet on arrival but that did not stop me and Trentt cracking open a Beer to pass time whilst we waited his friends and their partners arriving.

Mackenzie and Jamieson insisted that I try a ‘Bloody Caesar’ (Please google this).
The drink was not for me. I felt as though it was a meal more than a relaxing beverage.
2 sips and I was done – The next day I shivered when I saw “Clamato Juice” on a supermarket shelf.

After about an hour the other guys and gals started arriving, The cottage became a hive of conversation as the friends all caught up and I introduced myself.

Canadians are sure the friendliest people I have ever met and most already knew my name and what I was doing here before I had to explain.

16 of us were there in total (That includes a Baby, Plus 1 Lab Pup “Bobber”)

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Meals were split in to teams of 3.
The first evening (As well as each following meal) resulted in a feast.
Seasoned Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs.

The next morning I was told I would be going with “Powers and Nate” to buy our Meal for Saturday evening.

We set off in Powers car and the 2 of them were throwing light insults at eachother and classed it as a fight. I could not help but sit back and feel I was watching a comedy show, The 2 of them were bouncing off of each other so well and I found the whole 2 hour shopping journey hilarious.

When we got the supermaker in Port Carling I was told by Powers we would be making Tacos… This was very welcomed news.
Powers threw out the orders and off we went around the store stocking up on ingredients to make a big order of Tacos.
1 hour later and a bill of $265… we were ready to head back via a detour as Powers insisted we visit the local town to see the upcoming areas in Muskoka.

We finally arrived back to the Cottage to much better weather than the evening before:

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The guys and gals had already started the day of Partying on “Party Island” and us 3 ‘Lads’ had some catching up to do

We spent the rest of the day in the Lake with cold beers, Vodka Tonics and Sangria.
My anxiety levels were 0 (Alcohol eh!)

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After a great weekend, everyone started to set off so I took the oppurtunity to have one last breath of Lake air. #cottagelife

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I was lucky enough to head down to Guelph and see surrounding areas, Including “Wine Country”.

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Also with Niagara so close, I was able to go and experience the Falls.

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The weather had been pretty rough at times over the last week but I was feeling a lot more relaxed knowing I had a place to rest my head.

Friday this week (July 21st) I have an interview for an IT company I mentioned in the previous post, so my attention and focus turns towards that.

Things are starting to settle now I have started meeting more people and seeing more places other than downtown Toronto.

I hope to bring more positive news and occurences in next weeks Blog update.

Apologies for the lengh and typos in this post (I had a lot to get out of my mind and on to here!)

Thanks for following!

 

#005 – The first week (ups and downs)

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.

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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.

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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!

#004 – The Big Day – Bristol to Toronto

So after almost a year of starting the process to move to Canada, the day had come to board that plane and head to Toronto.

The morning arrived and I was a little bit dazed by what I was about to be doing.

One final check of luggage and then Mother pulled the car out and I loaded up to head to the airport.
Fortunately I would not be travelling alone initially as my Uncle would join me on the flight from Bristol to Iceland.

We stopped by to pick up my Uncle and we headed to Bristol Airport.

After an emotional goobye hug with Mother we headed in.

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My Uncle was a frequent Traveller and knew how to start journeys off right, so we headed in to “Fast Track” Security (After a mild scolding for taking pictures in front of it)

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My Uncle also kindly booked us in to the Aspire Lounge where I was unexpectedly over loaded with Heineken beer and Prosecco.

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The ‘Edge’ was well and trully taken off after a couple of hours and I was very chilled boarding the plane to leave Bristol.

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First stop was Iceland where I had further beers with my Uncle before he left to enjoy his holiday and I went on to board the flight to Toronto.

The flight was 5hr 30min and it ‘flew’ by – I had my music in and my new travel pillow that was i was generously gifted to rest on. I was well prepared.

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Upon landing in Toronto I had a mix of adrenaline pumped excitement and anxiety about what was about to happen at customs.

I made my way through the large queues asking every assistant if what I was doing was the correct procedure.

After the usual passport checks and photograph confirmation, I was directed in to a new area of customs that was for Visa/Permit issue.
It was a tense feeling as a lot of foreign internationals were waiting for the fait in the line as it was deadly quiet apart from the Customs Agents who were very intimidating.

I waited for around 5 minutes and had my anxiety inflated as i sat listening to a Agent ask a foreign Gentleman to:
– Write down the names of his friends and their addresses in Canada
– Prove that he was a lawyer and that he was allowed to carry out his practices in Canada
– Prove the residence that he would be staying at for the duration of his Visa

I stood repeating in my own head “Please don’t let me get this guy…. Please don’t let me get this guy”

Eventually, I heard a voice shout “NEXT!” – I could not see the Agent who has exlaimed this though so i headed towards the direction and was greeted by a very friendly Canadian lady.

I had lucked out and after a bit of low key banter about my Travel Insurance (Joking at how much the company that sells it must be making and that I should avoid any extreme sports to not void it) She asked me to wait where I was and then wandered off.
My imagination ran wild and I pictured her returning with armed guards to arrest me haha!

Forunately, this was not the case. She returned with my permit, Welcomed me to Canada and wished me a great day. Smiles were exchanged and off I went in to Canada!

That is all for now as I needed to get a good nights rest.

Day 1 will consist of:
– Breakfast (Obviously)
– Obtaining Social Insurance Number
– Opening Bank account
– Buying a Canadian Mobile Sim

Check back later for more updates!

 

#003 – 1 week left until Canada eh?

Welcome back!

So, you join me 1 week before I depart for Toronto.

I have no job lined up and only 9 nights planned accommodation (3 in a hotel when i arrive for comfort and then 6 in a private room of a AirBNB host)

I have had many dark thoughts recently and anxiety has kicked in hard… What am I doing? What will I do if I cant find a permanent place to live? What if no one wants to give me a job?

Luckily, these fears have been calmed with the help of very close friends and even friends of friends. It is amazing how much help you can get when you actually open up and talk to other people.

Joining a bunch of Facebook pages relating to IEC and working holidays also helped massively.

I can now ask any questions and create a advertisement of myself in order to find friends and a place to live!

Over the next week I will be doing silly things like practicing packing my suitcase and backpack to ensure I know exactly what I’m taking and how i am taking it.

I have printed off:
– Bank account statement to prove I can afford to survive 3 months and get myself home if I cannot 😛
– IEC POE letter (Visa documentation)
– Travel Insurance Letter

My plan for arrival?:
– Have visa completed and catch a train to the city (One should not assume this is a given)
– Get SIN, Bank and Mobile phone sim card sorted
– Start viewing room shares

I will update this Blog when i arrive safely to my Hotel room and can provide more information on the process experienced when arriving to Toronto.

Thanks for reading folks… Wish me luck….

 

#002 – Progression

Hello again!

It has been a while since the excitement started for my potential move to Canada.

Good news is all my paperwork went through and my visa/work permit papers were completed/granted!

So what have I been up to?

I left my IT job as suggested in my previous post and I worked in refrigeration…. for a whole 3 weeks!

So yeah, it did not last long.

I left and went on a holiday to Tenerife for a week….

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Then I came home… and took off the next day to Amsterdam for the weekend…. (Yes that is me on the letter ‘S’)

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Then I came home for a week, before taking a road trip to Bruges….

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Upon my return, boredom and post trip blues hit home hard.

Within 1 day my boredom led me to look online at contract roles for IT support – 1 interesting advert led to a interview the next day and within a week I was hired and working!

I have a 3 month contract (1 month down at time of this post!) supporting the IT systems for a international company that quarries for cement and asphalt – Not exactly “wolf of wall street” huh.

I finish my position on 2nd of June, so I only have a couple months to see through.

During the months since starting this blog i have had emotional ups and downs about the idea of leaving home for Canada but last Friday i returned home from work… AND BOOKED MY ONE WAY FLIGHT!

Plan of action now?

1 – Finish contract role

2 – Take the month of June to catch up with all friends/family (Whilst most importantly being around for my 28th Birthday)

3 – Get my Sh*t together for the move.

4 – Board the plane on 5th July and see how things go?

….. To be continued.

#001 – Finally making a grown up decision?

Welcome to my first blog post!

So perhaps I should start by again introducing myself (Assuming you read the “About” page. If you have not, please make your way over there)

I am Stuart White, currently 27 years old and living in Bristol, UK.

I was born here in June 1989 and during my 27 1/2 years I have lived in the same house with my parents (I am not proud of this truth).

I never went to uni so the introduction of complete freedom was not experienced like a lot of my friends.

I compare my life to the movie “Failure to launch” as I feel I never really took off like most of my friends/family.
I have 2 sisters – 1 older who lives alone happily (I think) and 1 younger who has a daughter and live on their own. I also have a younger brother who lives with his partner and their new-born.

This does not mean I am a complete weirdo that requires the aid of his parents to survive… I am very capable of being alone and I am seen as the “black sheep” or “lone wolf” of my family. The real reason I am still in this living with parents situation comes down to 1 thing…. MONEY!

When I was young I always wanted to work in IT as I had the impression it would be the ultimate source of income. I always told myself (and close friends) one day I would be able to afford a Lamborghini Gallardo… Oh boy does reality suck.

So anyway, I’m sure along the future of this blog I will open up more and reveal more information about my history.

But lets get to the point of me starting this blog!

I recently decided that my life was becoming stagnant. I was working for the weekend in my 9-5 IT support job and my biggest out going was my obsession (addiction may also be a good word) with Burritos…

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I have been saving for a mortgage deposit but Bristol is forever increasing in property value so I was forever playing catch up.

So I decided if I was not going to be buying a house/flat anytime soon I needed something else to be excited about.

A friend of mine that I met through a previous job (We will call him MDP) had left the same employer about 2 weeks after me in September 2015 and instead of taking a new job, he decided to go see some of the world.
A few months later I get a message to say he was in Toronto, Canada. He had met a lucky lady and decided he would not be coming back to the UK anytime soon.

I had always confided in him (MDP) for my personal concerns with my life choices and it was no different with us talking over skype.

(June 2016)
He (MDP) settled and found work and once we had caught up again he advised me to “Get over here”.

So the excitement started. He (MDP) talked me through what visa to apply for and away I went like a keen bean.

This buzz was short lived as I was rejected the visa. The reasons were not particularly clear but I like to think I am a somewhat clever guy and worked out it must have been due to my passport only having 18 months left until it expired.

(September 2016)
So, new passport time – sorted.

I apply again with my new passport details only to receive a email to say that they have stopped accepting applications for the year.

So I decided perhaps this was a sign and i gave up on the idea.

(October 2016)
I tried to take some unpaid leave and at least visit Toronto for a week so I could show my face and see the place I was hoping to go and experience… but i was advised by my manager that “They do not feel it would be in my best interest to request unpaid leave”.
Great, so i have no real control over my life at this moment because I have exhausted my holiday allowance and that means you have to knuckle down and put your curiosity to bed for the rest of the year… NO THANKS!

I then get a email from the Canadian immigration department to say I am in fact in the pool of people awaiting to be chosen to apply :-D. The excitement was bottled as I was informed it can take months to get picked and in some cases it may be I never get picked.

(December 2016)
Monday 12th comes around and I decide i am going to hand my notice in and accept a job in vehicle refrigeration with some friends of mine.
My first real job after college was fitting Air Conditioning in to hotels with this same friend, so I had experience in the field and also knew I could work well with this guy.

Due to a lack of organisation the meeting I originally planned to hand notice in does not go ahead.
Tuesday 13th begins and the meeting is set for 11:30 am to break the news but this is postponed until 15:30 because of busy schedules.

So 15:30 comes around and the meeting finally goes ahead and I am relieved by the calm attitude my manager takes to my decision. He even offers to take me back on if I feel the decision I made was wrong!

1 month from this day I will walk away from the walls I felt were becoming my prison in to a dirtier line of work away from ironed shirts and ties.

Thursday 15th starts and half way through the day I get an email from the Canadian Immigration dept saying I have been selected to complete my application!

Could this have been meant to be? – I sure as hell was not going to fight the offer and so I began to complete the required paper works.

The idea of moving away not only from parents house but the city and country i had grown up in all together felt like the crowbarring i needed to finally do something better with my life.

So as I finish this first blog post I am awaiting my police checks to be completed and have filed all other required papers for the Canadian officials to start filing me.

I shall post updated blog posts as events occur.