It doesn’t seem like three years ago that I was sitting in a small, admittedly dark (and dingy and crowded and rather depressing) cube of a room wondering what I had gotten myself into. It was rather humble beginning to my latest quest for adventure. This time, instead of skipping fashion design to go eat nachos on the church steps or deciding to spend my post-secondary life in a remote city in the north I had never visited before, I had packed up my two 50lb (more like 60lb— the check-in ladies at yyz were kind that day) and flew across the ocean to a city I had never been to before to re-start my life.
As I sat there, unable to hear particularly well (a succession of terrible landings had made the pressure in my ears nearly unbearable), with blood blisters on my feet (from battling the crowds to buy a mobile and some sheets) and an empty stomach (because for all of the splendour of living near Oxford Circus, it wasn’t actually that easy to find a grocery store), I seemed very far away from both everything I loved and from the glamorous life in Europe I had so optimistically imaged for myself.
Three years in and I am still far from many of the places and people I love. I am sitting in a lovely flat next to a wonderful guy drinking a cold glass of orange juice and waiting for some takeaway. I know better than to visit Oxford Street on a friday night and I can walk around my neighbourhood without huffing at tourists who stop in the middle of the sidewalk. My ears feel fine (although I just tripped over a doorstop about an hour ago and so my ankle hurts—some things never change) and today I got to go to a job that while far away and both physically and mentally exhausting, has also helped me to find something that I’d like to think I am good at. I’ve met so many new faces and visited new places and had more adventures than I thought possible.
I still have hard days. i have an amazing partner, lovely friends and colleagues and a satisfying work life, but it can be very hard not to feel desperately homesick at times. Even on these days I try and remind myself how lucky I am—lucky to have had such a supportive family who encouraged me and pushed me to follow my dreams, ludicrous though they may have seemed at the time. Lucky to have chosen a career that allowed me the freedom to move to another country and work with so many amazing young people. Lucky to have met and remained close with so many wonderful and special Canadians who were on a similar path to me to share my adventures with. Lucky to have met a boy who makes me happy every single day just by being there. And most of all, lucky to have had such compelling reasons to want to stay in a city that I’ve now come to call home.