One Year In Canada
Before The Move
Ever since 2005, the idea of moving to Canada has been a dream of mine. I befriended a Canadian in middle school who had moved to the U.S., and that friendship ignited my interest in moving. Though it was a lingering thought rather than an active pursuit, the idea never left me. I've had my share of setbacks, from half-baked plans to immigration rejections due to working in an oversaturated field. I've even dated some Canadians, but those relationships never evolved into a reason to move. Then, in 2021, I met someone who would change everything. Initially, I turned down Her advances; I was already in a relationship and was stepping back from polyamory. We officially started dating on 20 December 2021. From that point, the wheels started turning, but the road was far from smooth. Obstacles like COVID-19, not owning a car, a rocky work situation, and passport issues stood in my way. First on the list was getting vaccinated. I had been hesitant, mostly due to misinformation and fear. Sapphic devotion, however, helped me overcome that hurdle. Next was my job, which had been increasingly demanding since the onset of the pandemic. The thought of finding a new remote job was daunting, but staying was not an option. The stress was unbearable, but eventually, I found a job that not only supports my personal life but is also one of the best I've ever had. Then came the passport fiasco. Trans-related policies in my state had me on a “special waiting list” for renewal. The wait was agonizingly long, far exceeding the estimated time. Fortunately, Michigan has a unique arrangement with Canada, allowing border crossing with an enhanced license, but only by land-crossing. And that brings us to the final hurdle: I didn't own a car. I'd never bought a car and had only heard dealership nightmares. The weeks leading up to the purchase were some of the most stressful I've ever experienced. My Girlfriend, Princess, and my bosses were invaluable, aiding me in research and decision-making. I finally chose a Toyota Corolla, my first-ever car purchase that wasn't from a family member. Contrary to my fears, the dealership experience was surprisingly straightforward. And a word of advice: steer clear of online car sellers like Carvana.
15 October 2022
The culmination of months of research on border-crossing logistics led me to 15 October 2022. I was a bundle of nerves, worried about being stopped or turned away at the border. It was a short drive there, the overall trip was less than ten hours. Once I got there, however, I found the atmosphere more relaxed than I thought. Still, I was pulled aside by immigration since I said I'd be staying for six-month, the current maximum for a visit. The immigration officer grilled me on my intentions, my assets, and if I had any reasons for returning to the U.S. I didn't have much to offer on why I'd need to return to the U.S., which concerned him. He advised me to stay on the right side of the law, emphasizing that they'd rather help me become a citizen than deal with an undocumented situation. After clearing immigration, it was time to meet Princess, my girlfriend, at our designated halfway point. She couldn't cross the border, so we agreed to meet midway. Our meeting point was in a pub parking lot, as that was the closest place the bus would go. I arrived early and waited in my car, unaware that she was already there, planning to jumpscare me. When she startled me, I jumped out of the car and we hugged. We were both nervous, but a wasp incident lightened the mood. I'm terrified of wasps, and she "rescued" me, setting the tone for a relationship filled with playful moments. The drive back was a shared experience of our favourite music. Upon arrival, I was greeted by her family, a genuine warmth I wasn't used to feeling. It was a stark contrast to the artificial niceties I'd grown accustomed to. The day after, Her mom and I went out to eat at an Asian resturant, and I was able to chat with her one-on-one. She's geniunely one of the nicest people I've ever met, and I can tell why her Daughter is so happy and filled with optimism.
Holiday Season 2022
As Halloween approached, we embarked on a pumpkin-picking adventure, visiting multiple patches to find the perfect ones. A week later, we all carved our chosen pumpkins. I attempted my Halo 2 emblem, which didn't turn out as planned, but I'm keen to try again this year. Princess' mom and I also crafted a haunted house from KitKats. Halloween itself was quiet, with few trick-or-treaters, but we enjoyed it all the same. In November, Princess introduced me to my first-ever concert experience. We saw Senses Fail, a band I've loved since childhood, in Toronto. Taking the train to the venue was another first, making the whole experience magical. Since then, any trip to Toronto is a special occasion, filled with concerts and events. For American Thanksgiving, I took Princess to Michigan to meet my family. Despite my immigration concerns, the visit went well, and my family took to Her immediately. However, re-entering Canada was tense; authorities nearly denied me entry, suspecting I was skirting the six-month stay rule. The incident heightened my anxiety for the remainder of the year. On my birthday, 29 November 2022, Princess treated me to an all-you-can-eat sushi dinner. It was our first solo date, and the culinary adventure was a welcome departure from my usual American fare. The following weekend, my mother-in-law took Princess and me on a day-drinking escapade at a brewery. It was my first time consuming alcohol, and while I don't remember much, I know it was a blast. As the year wound down, Princess and I did some Christmas shopping with the family. We explored small local towns and the local mall here. On Christmas, we opted for a midnight gift exchange on Christmas Eve, accommodating everyone's busy schedules for the actual day. All that aside, my favourite moments in 2022 were getting to know the place where Princess grew up. She often took me to spots, showing the unique sights around our city. We often go on walks around the neightbourhoods, visit the local mall, check out the stores downtown, or hit up the arcade nearby. These seemingly small moments hold immense value for me, and I often find myself reminiscing, longing to relive those memories.
The Canon Event
When New Year's Eve came around, Princess and I were invited to a party hosted by friends I'd met at a previous gathering. This was my first New Year's Eve party, so I had no idea what to expect. The night turned out to be a game-changer, setting the stage for our social circles for the rest of the year. Without diving too deep, the party led to a schism, fracturing the friend group into three separate factions. One of these factions has since been entirely cut out of our lives, as they were horrible, abusive people. Despite the drama, the party was a ton of fun and chaos. It's where Princess and I met our now best friend, someone we talk to every day and see at least weekly. The host even sent us home with some edibles, marking my first experience with getting high. Throughout the year, we continued to attend concerts and events, often with friends we met at that New Year's Eve party. Having a circle of in-person friends has been a refreshing change, given the limitations of online-only friendships.
Three Years Later—A Restart To My Life
This entire journey has breathed new life into my existence. In 2023 alone, I've chalked up more firsts than in any other year—concerts, anime conventions, parties, raves, you name it. Highlights include Anime North, a 100 gecs concert, and Toronto Pride. The friends we went with to Anime North, was the pinnacle of the year for me. I wish that every event could be attended with that same incredible group of people. I've formed friendships that didn't start online, and I've even been welcomed into their homes. Meeting Princess, spending time with our now mutual friends at that New Year's Eve party, and relocating here have all radically shifted my outlook on life and my future aspirations. For someone with a history of trauma like mine, this transformation offers a chance for genuine healing and growth. Soon, Princess and I will be moving into our own place, and I'll keep working on securing my immigration status, as I'm still only a temporary resident. I've never experienced such a prolonged period of things going right, and I couldn't be happier to share this chapter with the love of my life and our friends. As the end of the year rolls around, much like it did last year, I'm excited to see what the holiday season brings to all our friends.