Getting Ready for Ontario, Canada
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
I wanna talk about something good.
Sometimes I wonder if writing this blog is not making me sound more depressed than I actually am. Life, my life, is obviously not all injustice and discrimination and anxiety. It’s also good, and surprising, and fascinating.
I wanna talk about something good.
I believe I’m an optimistic. I want to believe that humanity is good, that we make mistakes but that we can learn from them. I believe we can forgive and move forward. I already said earlier on this blog, it’s true I might be naive. But I like having a positive mindset in life. It puts a smile on my face and allows me to love people with all my heart.
So, something good eh? What’s making me happy, excited, giggly these days? I know. In around two months, I am going to pack my bags, put all my life in two 23-kg suitcases and a carry-on and move to a whole new continent. Destination? Canada.
Let’s go back a little bit. I’m European. I’m Belgian. I’ve lived abroad before, I’ve travelled a fair bit, but I have always come back to Belgium. It’s my home, where my family and friends live. I can leave for weeks or months, I always know that they’ll be there when I’m back. There’s something incredibly soothing about the idea of always having someone waiting for you to come home.
This time is different though. Because this time, it’s supposed to be for good. I am planning on moving to Canada permanently. Like, forever. Haha. We never know, but right now I’m dead set on moving. It feels different than the last few times I moved abroad. I feel bolder, more brave. I might fail, but what an exciting thought. I know what moving abroad entails. I’ve done it, so I am taking this next step with calm and confidence - or so I hope.
I have lived in Canada before, Montreal to be precise. My mother has always loved the country. She had worked and lived in Montreal for a few years before she got me. She fell in love with the region. Growing up, I kept hearing about Canada and the amazing land they had there, so it didn’t come as a surprise when my mother told seven-year-old me that we were moving to Montreal.
I was very young, so my own memories might betray me. Seeing the world as a child is very different from when you’re all grown up. Still, I loved our time in Quebec. I have the best memories from that time. Children are very adaptable, and I remember just fitting right in my new environment. I went to a public school on Côte-des-Neiges. I was amazed by how ethnically diverse my class was. I had friends that spoke Vietnamese and Filipino, others perfect English and French, I was astonished. I discovered maple syrup, snow and real winters, and a kind, tolerant and open-minded culture. I was hooked.
We came back to Belgium to be closer to my family. My grandma was getting old, and my dad, who had remarried at the time, was having another baby. My mum felt it was better for me to be closer to them all, so we came back. She never said it, but I think it wasn’t an easy decision for her. She did what she thought was best for me, I am sure of it, and for that I will forever be grateful.
Sometimes I wondered though, how different my life would have been if we would have stayed.
Since then, I’ve kept wondering whether I’d be going to Canada. It’s always been in the back of my mind, like something I could do later on in my life, if the circumstances allowed it. I didn’t put a lot of effort into it, because other opportunities rose. But I would mention it from time to time. For instance, I considered doing my postgraduate studies in Montreal. I didn’t in the end, but I’ve always flirted with the idea.
Then something unexpected happened. I fell in love with a Canadian. Going to Canada came up between us pretty quickly. That’s the issue when you date someone that doesn’t live in your home country. You do not have the luxury to wait and see. You have to make a decision, and quick, for if you don’t, you will lose the person forever. One of you will have to agree to leave and settle in a foreign country, if not both. It’s not an easy decision, far from it. We feel so young, but the responsibilities were there.
It wasn’t a straightforward process, it took time. When you live in a country of the EU, you have this wrong assumption that moving abroad isn’t that hard. We are very lucky down here. Any EU national can work in another European country and benefits from the same benefits as the citizens of that country. My partner was able to come and live in Belgium thanks to his double nationality. It wasn’t going to be that easy for me, and we knew it. We sorted things out though, we know how to handle our things when needed.
So there we are. This summer we’re moving to Toronto, my partner’s hometown. I have only been there once, a few years ago. I liked the city. We both like big metropolitan cities. When you inherit a physique that makes you stand out from the average - because of your sexual orientation, skin colour, height or even the language you speak - you crave the anonymity of metropolises. Nobody cares you’re different, nobody even notices you. Why would they, when you live in a city of 3 million people? I also feel people in cities are more open-minded, more likely to be curious about new things and experiences. We also love the accessibility that cities give you. We like being where it happens, being able to try out trends as soon as they’re out. It clearly is not attractive to everyone, but I know I’ll fit right in.
I don’t have much planned yet. I don’t have a job, I don’t have a place, I don’t have friends. Am I scared? I guess. I know it’ll be alright though. I believe in myself, and I’ll prove to the world I can do it. Even if it’s not forever, even if I have to go back home once my visa expires. It’s going to be a fun ride.
If anyone from Toronto is reading me, don't hesitate to reach out. I can be nice, I swear! And I'm an excellent drinking buddy. If you also have suggestions on what to do in the region, come and share them in the comments below or on The Curious Métisse's Facebook page.