Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Plan

We had been toying with the idea of coming to Toronto since last Fall. John had been looking to get transferred through the company he worked for and I was unemployed so I was free to follow him wherever. At the same time, I was taking a good look at my life and what I wanted from it. I made a hard decision that I would follow my heart and my passion instead of chasing the dollars. So I decided to go back to school, learn my trade and start off on a new career path. John was amazingly supportive of my decision so I started looking at schools in Toronto.

I found a great program at George Brown College. It's two years and teaches you how to be a pastry chef and how to run a small business in the food services industry. So presumably, after finishing I would have all of the skills and the knowledge I would need to open a small bakery. Perfect.

But John started hitting a lot of dead ends at his job and by about December/January, we gave up on the idea of him getting transferred. It looked like we would be staying in Halifax. On a whim, I submitted my application to George Brown anyway, albeit a day late. Although at that point I didn't believe we would be going, I thought it would be an awful shame if somehow we managed to work out all of the details involved with a cross country move and I arrived here with nothing to do, so I ordered some transcripts and filled out some forms and sent them off.

A few months later, I got a letter back from George Brown. "Sorry Jacki, your application was late so you've been waitlisted. The program holds 200 students. The waiting list is 150 people long. You're number 7."

Cool. Whatev.

A few months went by. John was getting sick of his job. I think repetition isn't good for him. He needs new, exciting problems to solve. He's amazing but only when he's engaged with what he's doing. He applied for lots of jobs in Halifax, but nothing was the right fit. Nothing was even close to the right fit.

I really wanted to get into my program though, and I knew that staying at that job wasn't doing anything positive for John either from a career advancement perspective or an emotional/mental health perspective. We were both stagnating in Halifax and we both knew it. I said "Let's go anyway. There can't be fewer jobs in Toronto than there are in Halifax."

But John is the sensible one. He can't just quit a stable, well-paying job without knowing where his next paycheck is coming from. So we worked out a compromise. He would go to Toronto, spend a week there, try to get a feel for the job market and decide whether it was worth the risk. He contacted companies in Toronto for meetings and friends to stay with. He came home with a brightened perspective and new job offer.

So we were going.

Moving from one province to another in Canada is no small feat. Especially if you want a nice place and want to take your stuff with you. Which we did.

My family was amazing. My dad is a logistical genius so he hooked us up with our truck, directions, the best roads to take, the best places to stop. My mom gave us her full support as well and let us crash at her place before we left and got the family all together so we could say our goodbyes. My sister and her boyfriend were there on moving day and I don't think I would have gotten the apartment clean in time for my inspection if Erin hadn't been there to help us with the cleaning.

The most stressful part was finding an apartment. John promised me he would take care of all of the apartment details but I would stress out just thinking about it. It got to be two and a half weeks before our scheduled moving date and we still didn't have a place. I was freaking. It turns out that Ontario has a law where if, as a tenant, you take an apartment sight unseen, you have a set amount of time after you move in (I think it's 30 days?) to break the lease agreement. It's to keep landlords from misrepresenting their properties, but it also has the effect that many landlords are reluctant to rent to people out of province over the phone because if they rent it to someone who comes in from off the street instead, they don't have to worry about the lease being broken.

Finally we found the perfect apartment. Great! We'll have someone come in tomorrow with the check for the deposit. No problem, we'll hold it for you until then. The next day we found out that due to a miscommunication between rental office staff members, the apartment had been given to someone else and the lease was already signed. Me: Panic. John: Problem solving.

The arrangement we finally worked out is a bit convoluted, but we have a home and that's good enough for me. The short version is that we live in one apartment for the month of August and then we move to our 'permanent' apartment in September. That's the bad news. The good news is that we didn't have to pay first and last month's rent, only first month. And we didn't have to pay a damage deposit. And we're located exactly where we want to be. So I have no complaints.

And that was the last major detail! Everything was in place for the move!

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