It’s been just over two months and Lucas and Alessandra have settled into Toronto as though they’ve lived here all of their 7 and 10 years. I can’t blame them, the toy stores are bigger and Matts and I are still spoiling them as if it’s just a temporary vacation… But we’re here for good, and by all accounts everyone is happy with that decision. I mean, I won’t complain about at-your-door, next-day amazon delivery. lol
About two weeks after we arrived the four of us went out for a late lunch. The kids were still off school for summer and we were eating out almost every day as we’d hardly bought anything for the kitchen as yet. Walking to the restaurant I already felt blessed, we were renting in mid town Toronto, so close to Yonge street (the main ‘high street’ dividing the city into east and west) we could just skip over for a late afternoon bite. I knew we were lucky to afford this convenience.
We got to the casual dining restaurant, ordered our food and carried it with us to our seats. It was a popular spot, filled mostly of what seemed to be university aged students. The weather was still warm enough for me to notice a couple sitting outside on the patio. Two males. They sat there clearly enjoying each other’s company, flirting and holding hands under the table. Unbothered by anyone around them. And no-one around seemed bothered by them either. That was the moment, two weeks after arriving, that any doubt I had was erased. This was the right decision. This was the society I wanted my kids to grow up in… An inclusive society. One that would accept differences.
Not too long after that we had the kitchen stocked and Matts and I took turns cooking dinner while we juggled setting up all of the expected insurances, utilities, licenses and the list goes on and on. Needless to say there were some nights we ordered in! And then one day something else caused almost a tiny tear in my heart. Lucas walked into the kitchen, washed off one of the containers the food arrived in, and put it into the recycling bin under the sink. This may seem like a ‘small deal’, and by no means do I hold Trinidad accountable for not offering this experience to him, cause surely the system in place here in Toronto is just too expensive for our island to afford. But the appreciation for the environment that it creates, the awareness of the amount of waste we produce, which will undoubtedly lead to becoming more environmentally conscious consumers, it’s priceless! It’s a gift.
And then there’s the people! I left one melting pot to join another. I’m fairly certain that at least half of the people I have interacted with thus far have had an accent that wasn’t Canadian. Who could feel like an outsider in this environment? And those that have called Canada home generation after generation have welcomed us with such open arms. True story, we were walking to dinner one night (common theme in this post) and met a random guy on the street. He heard our accents he asked where we were from. His response on learning we had just arrived from Trinidad and Tobago was “Wow welcome! Canada is glad to have you!”.
I knew I was bringing my children here to offer them, my son in particular, educational opportunities they couldn’t get at home in Trinidad, but the social benefits are proving equally as rewarding. Whatever set backs we’ve experienced…a smaller home, rebuilding my business, longer commutes and of course the cold! I know it will be worth it in the end. There is so much we miss, but we are making the most of what we have gained.