I’ve been itching to write the June entry for my expat diary for ages but I really wanted to give good news – so I have been waiting.
And, I am kind of typing this with a beaming smile on my face because I can FINALLY give good news!
So after what feels like years, but has actually been just over 3 months, I can confidently say I am starting a new job on Friday. It is still temping work, but it is in the organisation I want to work for. I am seeing it as a way to get my foot in the door.
You may remember me saying I got this job weeks ago. Which was true. But I have only just been given my first assignment and an actual start date.
So now my main concern is, what do you wear to work when the weather is so warm?!
On top of that, our shipping boxes from England are on Canadian soil and we are going to collect them tomorrow. I am so excited. It feels like Christmas, as I can’t even remember what we packed.
It’s strange how you can spend so long waiting for good news, and then it all comes along at once.
I had my first taste of the Toronto yard sale last week. A lady I worked with when I was temping at the hospital called me up and asked if I would like to help out. She moved over to Toronto from Liverpool, UK about 40 years ago – and seems to have taken it upon herself to be my surrogate mother.
Anyway, I went along and was just amazed and also quite touched by the community spirit. The yard sale was to raise money for a charity. I remember back when I was at the hospital, flyers being handed out asking for donations. There was SO much stuff. Lots of staff from the hospital had come along to help set up too, so it was great to be able to catch-up.
We spent the morning under the baking sun sorting through piles of donations, organising into mounds such as ‘children’s games’ and ‘kitchen stuff’. I even manged to get myself a few bargain cake tins and oven dishes. One person had provided a buffet lunch for everyone and another had brought along drinks. Even though I’m sure it’s the ‘norm’ for Canadian, I found it a lovely and warming thing to be part of.
Month Number four
A lot of the boring admin associated with moving to a new country is now out of the way. And I am starting to find my way around the city without having mild panic attacks every-time I have to get on the subway or streetcar.
Buses are still a little daunting – I will get there!
With the scary first three months settling period now over, I find it a little easier to chuckle at the differences between Toronto and home….
It may seem a bit bizarre, but one of the more novel differences between Toronto and home I have noticed are the public washrooms.
Firstly, I have had to train myself to ask for the ‘washroom’ rather than the toilet – to avoid horrified or confused looks.
Public toilet doors. Why are the doors so small? They give me flashbacks of the ones we used to have at primary school. They are short enough that with a very minor amount of tiptoe effort anyone could peer over the top. Plus they have a gap so large at the bottom anyone could crawl under.
I always feel a little of edge if there’s a toddler with their mother in the cubicle next to me. Just in case they decide to re-enact the great escape.
Just to add to the general privacy issue, there is also a nice inch of space between the door and the frame.
You would think it is pretty obvious whether there is someone in a cubicle or not (due to the lack of door). Apparently not. I have been subject to the most unfortunate of instances where a lady has stuck her head under the door to check whether the cubicle was free.
A little unnecessary in my opinion.
One of the things I found most difficult when I first arrived in Toronto, was getting to know my way around the supermarket again.
I realise that makes me sound a bit odd. But I take so much pleasure in cooking and planning meals, that when I went shopping and realised I can’t buy exactly what I want here, I had a little meltdown.
There is nothing vastly different food wise between Toronto and UK – but there’s the little things you wouldn’t even notice until you come to buy it and realise you can’t. Squash is a big one, I’ve now also discovered prawn crackers and Oxo cubes are on the list.
A lot of Toronto’s fresh fruit and vegetables are very expensive. I imagine this is because they are largely imported. However, prices do seem to go up and down with the time of the year way more than they do at home.
When we very first went food shopping here, I was shocked to see the price of a cucumber was about 3.99 CAD. Following that, when exploring new places to shop, I got into a strange habit of always looking at the price of a cucumber. It was like my way of comparing whether a supermarket was good value or not.
Anyway, I am happy to say cucumbers have now gone down in price to about 99 cents.
I’ll leave it at those two quirks today. However, my point I suppose is I can now look at those things and smile. I appreciate the differences rather than being put off by them.
I see myself entering phase two of my expat journey: the post three month climb. And things are definitely looking up!
Are you an expat partner? What advice do you have?