|Toronto - my home of two years now!|
In a few days, I will complete two years as a Permanent Resident in Canada. I've said it before - time flies. So am I happy with my choice to leave the US to live here? The answer, with some caveats, is "yes."
Because I moved here for love, not for work, I think its easier for me to be content with my situation here. My love and I share a beautiful home in a fantastic city, and between us we do very well by anybody's measure.
Toronto is a fantastic city, full of culture and diversity, and I take full advantage of it, getting around as much as possible, enjoying free events, site-seeing like a tourist, and creating a routine and memories each day. In the mornings, I walk my love to her office, then I return home where I work (and write my books and this blog). I get out an exercise at some point most days: skating at Harbourfront Centre in the winter, playing hoop at the playgrounds on The Esplanade in the nice weather. Weekends are for chores, grocery shopping at the St. Lawrence Market, catching up on reading, or adventuring around Ontario.
If I had come here for work, I know after two years, I would have a different view of Canada. Frankly, its been hard to find any work in my former field of expertise. I had my share of interviews where the dreaded "how much Canadian experience do you have?" question was raised. Once that comes up, you pretty much know you wont get the gig. But I have continued to find whatever short term opportunities I can here, and have strung them together into a living. I'm sure many immigrants have the same experience. Maybe because I didn't expect the opportunities here to be the same as I had in the US, I'm more accepting of the reality that they are very different.
One area that exceeds expectation is the health care that is available to me. While the facilities are nowhere near the modern level I experienced in Seattle (mind you, a very wealthy US city), they are very good, and best of all, I have access to them when I really need them. This was not the case in the US. I take better care of myself here because its not always an economic decision to do so. That's quite a change for the better.
As I've said before, and this doesn't change - I miss family and friends I've left behind. Being an immigrant can be lonely many days. And there's no counting that phenomenon of change that occurs at home which causes it to become more and more unfamiliar, coupled with the fact that you are in a long process of learning about your new country. Feeling lost between two worlds happens more frequently the longer you are away.
I love Canada. I love Toronto. I love my life here with my love. I am a year away from applying for citizenship, the next step in my immigration journey. Yes, in spite of the challenges, life in Canada is the best life I have had.