I'm Moving to Toronto!

I'm Moving to Toronto!

That's right, my boyfriend and I are moving to the home of baby angel Drake so we can run through the 6 with our woes! Actually, believe it not, Drake isn't the only reason we're going. But when it came down to it, the main reason for us was pretty simple - why not? I've always wanted to live overseas but it seemed like such a far off, unattainable thing. But really all you have to do is decide you want to do it and then suddenly it becomes a possibility. Of course there's a lot of work that follows, but step one is changing your mindset because it's definitely not going to happen until you do that.

I'll start by saying that when I've mentioned things being rough or uncertain or otherwise difficult for me on my blog in the last 6 months it comes back to this. That also includes any reference to why I'm using up all my beauty products and have hardly been buying anything new - because I'd just have to get rid of it all or move it overseas! It all started when my boyfriend's work suggested that he might be able to work on a project based in San Francisco (about July/August last year). In fact, it got very serious very quickly, to the point where we thought we would have to start the visa process ASAP and make the move before Christmas. As we looked into the different types of visas, we found that in order for me to go with him we'd have to legally get married as the US doesn't recognise de facto relationships for visas. We told our parents and even started filing paperwork for a registry marriage just in case it all came together, that's how serious it was.

After about 2-3 months of build up, it became apparent that it wasn't going to happen, or at least not in the time frame we had been led to believe, but by that point I was too far gone. I've described it to people as though there's a switch where you're just living your life normally and then the switch gets flipped and you start thinking about how you could live your life somewhere else, and I couldn't flip it back. So I said why don't we just move anyway?

Realistically, as much as I love San Francisco as a city (it's my favourite in the US that I've visited so far) it was far from being a perfect plan. Aside from having to rush the whole marriage thing which is pretty hectic in itself, the type of visa we would have been on depends on Mark staying in that job, and if he lost his job we would have 10 days to leave the country. Plus I would have to wait to get to the US before I could file paperwork requesting that I'm allowed to work, which apparently takes 3 months to turn around. So we would have been on one income in an incredibly expensive city for at least 3 months, assuming I got a decent job immediately after that. And although SF was taken off the cards before Trump got elected, that also would have been a pretty scary thing to add to the list. Essentially, we were worried about moving overseas and having a lower quality of life than we currently have in Sydney, because then it wouldn't really be worth it.

So we decided on Canada because it's part of the Commonwealth and therefore very easy for Australians to get a 2 year working holiday visa with none of the complications of the US visa, and Toronto because it's a big city so we figured there would be better job prospects, and on top of that my boyfriend's work have plans to open a Toronto office. Whether that comes together timing-wise and he can walk into a job over there is a maybe at this stage, but we decided to take the risk either way. When we thought about it, the reasons not to were mostly based on fear. Fear of not having enough money or not being able to find jobs or of what could go wrong. But the disappointment of not taking the risk would be even greater, so we're doing it and I couldn't be more excited!

The whole thing has been incredibly stressful for both of us because every other week for the past 6 months the trajectory of our lives has been constantly changing. Not to mention the fact that I have been super unhappy in my job and have really wanted to leave, but I stayed because we thought we would be moving, so what would be the point of getting a new job for only a matter of months?

I also realise this is a very privileged thing to complain about, but even though I'd moved out of home for the first time, it meant there was no point in buying cute things for my apartment and getting excited about decorating because when we moved I would just have to find somewhere to store it all. Although obviously buying things doesn't fix your problems, it just meant when I had a shitty day at work I couldn't even do something simple like buy something cute from Kmart I'd had my eye on to cheer myself up. Again, I know that's a silly thing to complain about, but it definitely sucked the fun out of decorating for me and just added to the overall shittiness of things.

But now we finally have solid plans! Mark's cousin is getting married in New Orleans in early March, so up until a few weeks ago we were planning on flying to the US for the wedding and then on to Toronto after that (although we had nothing booked yet at that stage). But now we've made the decision to fly over for the wedding and a few weeks' holiday in Feb/March and then come back to Sydney and leave for Toronto by May at the latest. We already have our visas sorted and Nick Cave is playing in Toronto at the end of May and I bought a ticket to one of the shows so that's a guarantee that it's happening!

Although obviously all the flights are going to cost more, this gives us more time to save money, more time for Mark's work to come up with a job, and also more time to sort out our lives before we leave instead of rushing and trying to make everything fit into a timeline that accommodates Mark's cousin's wedding. My parents were pretty concerned about us rushing everything to save the money on flights (which we 100% were), so after a big talk with my mum we worked out the new plan. My parents are amazing and have offered for me to move home for a couple of months so I can put tenants in my apartment to help me save money. And perhaps most exciting of all (aside from the actual move), having tenants and moving home means I can quit the job that has been making me miserable and has added so much more bullshit to my life throughout this whole thing!

Of course I haven't mentioned anything about it online, but my IRL friends are probably sick to death of me complaining about this job (I'm sick of hearing myself talk about it, that's for sure). I know quitting isn't very helpful when it comes to saving money, but I plan on getting temp work or finding something part time once we're back from the States while I do a lot of work for the move (major decluttering and sorting out things like storage and what we're doing with our cars, etc) and it will alleviate so much emotional strain for me, I just couldn't be happier about it! After I spoke with my mum the following Monday I gave 3 weeks' notice at work, and my last day was last Friday. Now my life is all about packing and moving everything back home before we fly to the States on Feb 18th!

I feel like I rarely talk about my personal life in this much detail online but I have been keeping this in for so long and it has been such a major source of pressure/strain (can you tell? lol) that it feels good to finally know what's going on and to be able to talk about it on here. Although things are going to be busy I plan on doing a makeup declutter series on my blog because obviously I can't take everything with me, and I'm really excited about creating it. I'm also really looking forward to seriously clearing out my wardrobe and starting fresh and owning a lot less. Most of my clothes aren't going to be suitable for Canadian weather so I can't imagine I'll be bringing a whole lot of them.

If you live in Toronto or anywhere with a similar climate (a lot of Europe), can you please tell me how you cope with the cold?! It doesn't even come close to snowing in Sydney and although we're moving around summertime one of the only things I'm apprehensive about when it comes to the move is dealing with the cold weather. I'm a summer person through and through so the thought of sub-zero maximum temperatures in winter is frankly terrifying. If you know things about textiles and what fabrics to look out for when shopping that will actually keep me warm, and what kind of shoes to buy for the snow (!?!?!) that actually look good, that would be really helpful!

Also my boyfriend and I have never been to Toronto so if you have any tips about what neighbourhoods are cool or where we should check out that would be excellent as we don't even know where we should stay initially that's going to be within our budget and also near stuff that's fun for us (vegetarian food and vintage/second hand shops are some of my favourites). If you're from Toronto and want to be my friend or don't mind me asking you questions like this please comment or email me (jessbialkowski@gmail.com) because we don't know anyone in the city so I would love it if you did!!

As for our US holiday in Feb/March, we've finally booked the following: San Francisco, Las Vegas (to see the Grand Canyon), New Orleans, Houston and Austin. We were hoping to fit in Denver or Phoenix too but it was all getting a bit too expensive so we decided to take it down a notch. I know San Fran pretty well and have been to Vegas before but the rest are new to me, so if you have any tips about what to do or where to eat (we're both vegetarian, fyi) please send them my way! :)