Tag Archives: personal

Discovering the Best Of

If you’ve ever picked up and started life elsewhere, you can probably relate to some of my experiences. Incomunicada for the past couple of months, I’ve (re) surfaced. I moved to Toronto from Boston this summer but only started ‘living’ here in September and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. Big changes all round, more than just geographical.

‘Joining stuff’ was priority numero uno. I knew a total of two people when I arrived. Actually, a few more than that but hadn’t connected with them since heading to the States in ‘98. Determined to build a network, I started filling up my calendar: besides three evening classes, the first week alone I went to four Meet-Up gatherings. Realistically, that’s not a momentum I can maintain but there’s no excuse to find oneself alone for long in a metropolitan city. There’s tons of stuff here (free too) to tap into, to attend: exhibitions, symposiums, and cultural festivals up the yin-yang and Blog TO has Best Of city guide lists to help us newbies: best barber shop, jerk chicken, microbrewery, pet grooming, and splurge sushi – whatever your fancy. Toronto is a city that’s building, a city that’s booming and one of its best photoblogs, a daily dose of imagery, is a great source of inspiration for me.

Azure Publishing is where I work now. Azure is a Canadian magazine that covers international architecture and design projects and products and I have been a fan for ages. Working in the writing and editing industry is indeed a shift from my background in architecture firms but it’s something I’ve wanted to explore for some time. I may not have a clear picture yet but at least I’m thinking about what I wanna be when I grow up. You can see a little of what I’ve been up to here. (below is the view from my desk)

I’m happy and lucky to be busy during this transitional time. Actually, I’ve been busting a hump, which hasn’t left much time for writing in my personal blog so this weekend will be one of decompression.

I left a wonderful bunch of friends in Boston and I’m hoping I can entice them to visit. Nudge nudge wink wink… Form an orderly queue, people!

The Big Move

Starting over in a new city on your own can be pretty daunting.

The move didn’t go as swimmingly well as I’d hoped. In the midst of clearing out of my apartment, dental surgery complications and their ensuing post-op treatment prevented me from leaving Boston. Switch to Plan B: I was forced to move my stuff into a local storage unit and, rendered homeless as I was, crashed with friends for 3 weeks. The flipside: I got to stay a little longer in my beloved city and perhaps it ultimately eased the transition a wee bit. Packing my belongings had been @#%?&^)!. The amount of stuff I’d accumulated over the last decade mortified me. 27 boxes of books alone… say no more!

I did it once before: eleven years ago I moved from my hometown of Ottawa, Canada to Boston, USA. I was eager to live in that city whose vibe I liked and, though I barely knew it, to which I felt an inexplicable connection. I didn’t have any long-term plans. I didn’t have any family or friends there. I just had my very first job’s letter of offer in hand. Equipped with a couple of large suitcases, I made an unforgiving +12-hr journey by bus to my new home. Perhaps it was not as bold as moving to a country with a foreign language and culture but it took some measure of guts.

Along with the initial transitional challenges, building a social network was a struggle, particularly for an ex-pat. My friendly co-workers were mostly older and settled, commuted out of the city after work, and had their own tight circle of friends. (Was there really a time before (gasp!) Facebook, Meet-Up groups, and all those social networking opportunities?) And as a young intern architect eager to get work experience and with a boyfriend back home, I was willing to put in many extra hours at the office. But little by little, over the years I found my way and created a thriving personal and professional network for myself. And, it must be noted, a comfort zone that would later be hard to leave.

Fast-forward eleven years and here I am, doing it again, on my own, but in reverse: Boston to Toronto this time around. I feel ok about it. Although I’ve truly loved living there, I’ve never really found my stride in Boston. Sadly, it was time to go. I’m ready for new adventures and I like the diversity that Toronto offers. This time, though, I do already know a handful of people here. Lots of unknowns ahead but having done this once before, I have an advantage – I’m better equipped all-round – so I’m jumping in whole hog.

And this time, I’ve done it in style. No longer ‘liquid’ as I once was, I loaded the entire contents of my life/compactly-furnished studio apartment into a rented 14-foot U-haul truck and made the 11-hr drive northwest. Armed with Google maps on my iPhone, I called the shots. Trucker-girl stops when she wants to and answers to no one! Despite some minor hurdles: truck-size discrepancies, flat tire on the highway followed by laggard roadside assistance, I cannot complain. Mine was a one-way vehicle with Arizona plates. Who knows who had borrowed the truck before me? Who knows where it’s been?!  That got me thinking of the countless others out there doing something similar at one time or another….

My two-person welcoming committee greeting me back in Canada could not have been greater: Mom and Dad. Gone are the aching tooth and the aching heart. Might have taken a long time to get to this point but I feel pretty good about the direction I’ve taken.