Emigrating to Canada – one year in

One year ago today I finished packing our four suitcases, Robert dismantled Cora’s crib and together we wrangled it into a box, secured it shut, coaxed Juniper and Toshi into their cat carriers, locked the front door to our Dublin apartment and left the keys in the post box. We headed to the airport and there began the beginning of a very long journey from Dublin to Ottawa.

I think in an effort to save myself, I mentally checked out the entire day we traveled which meant whenever there was a problem, I calmly solved it instead of having a massive melt down. Like when we missed the last train from Montréal to Ottawa and we had to get a taxi for the 2 hour journey to our new apartment at 23:00 …

I really can’t believe that was all a year ago. It’s been a good year, but it’s also been tough.


Robert and I with Cora, Juniper and Toshi, two backpacks, four suitcases and Cora’s crib. Picture via @scruffy_lookin_nerfherder.

Emigrating has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. We started from the beginning with everything. We slept on the floor for three weeks, we ate sitting against the wall since we had no chairs, we kept takeout containers to reuse as dishes, we had one pan and used it to make everything; porridge, stir fry, Cora’s formula, everything. Our first winter was tough since Robert started a new job and would be gone for 12 hours a day. It was too cold to bring Cora outside because she was a flimsy little toddler then and she was [rightly so] stir crazy most days so she screamed a lot.

Summer seemed to come quickly and again, sometimes it was too hot to bring Cora outside for long periods of time. It felt like there was about a month where the temperature was no lower than 40°C. It felt like the only time I wasn’t sweating was when I was standing in the shower. Cora was a different kind of frustrated because it was too hot to even do anything at home. The humidity was exhausting and we could barely escape it. I had an endless number of things on my list [and a lot of it pressure I decided to dump on myself needlessly], but had zero cares to do any of it because of the heat.


What Robert and I slept on for nearly 4 weeks. Picture via @scruffy_lookin_nerfherder.

We didn’t [and still don’t] have a car. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you’re living in a country like Canada where everything is so much father apart, it takes a lot of planning to get anything done. For example, for me to get paint samples from Home Depot for the One Room Challenge, I had to wait until 18:30 for Robert to come home, walk to the bus stop, take two buses to Home Depot [as there was no direct route from our neighbourhood] which took the best part of an hour and a half, choose tester pots of paint, walk back to the bus stop and do the reverse hour and a half journey home. And I ended up going back two more times until I got the right colour. If we had a car it would be a 15 minute drive to Home Depot. It’s just as bad for me to go grocery shopping except I bring a suitcase to put all our groceries in and get the bus home. It takes a lot of planning to do really basic things and now that I’m working full time, once I get home, entertain Cora and serve dinner, I’m exhausted. It’s mentally exhausting planning everything out, but once we get a car, I think we’ll be in a much better place.

Up until January I still had hip problems. There was a period where I could barely carry Cora and walk at the same time. Walking from the living room to the kitchen was a chore, so anything above and beyond that was overwhelming. I couldn’t turn a corner and pivot my hips without being in pain. A lot of emotional eating happened because what else would you do when you’re trapped indoors with a toddler when it’s -35°C outside? [This is where a lot of my anger towards “loosing baby weight” comes from. 1. It’s not anyone’s business what a woman looks like before or after she has a baby. Or regardless of her having a baby. It’s not your business. 2. If a woman does put on weight, you don’t know the endless painful physical or mental or hormonal circumstances for it happening. If she’s able to form a sentence and her child is fed, you should be applauding her].

Though most of this post has sounded like complaining, it’s meant to be far from it. It’s been hard work but I can feel we’re moving in the right direction. Through everything that has happened, we’ve never doubted our decision to move from Ireland to Canada. Even though Robert and I haven’t been out by ourselves since moving here [as we still don’t really know anyone / any babysitters. Unfortunately we’re antisocial AF]. It’s slow and hard work, but I honestly don’t think we’d appreciate our situation if it came to us easily. We have a lot more work ahead of us and I still have a long list of things I [feel I need] to do, but every day it is getting easier. We’ve been through and solved so many things as a little family of three than I could ever have imagined. Looking back over the past year and seeing the changes we’ve made and hurdles we’ve crossed makes me feel very proud and I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store.

If you’re curious, you can read the reasons why we decided to move to Canada here!

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3 Comments

  1. September 29, 2018 / 01:20

    So much love. I remember how hard it was for you to trust when you first moved here. Canadian niceness was difficult to believe. Ha!

    I think it has been extraordinary how you’ve made a home, almost from scratch.

  2. October 5, 2018 / 14:53

    I’m honestly in awe of how you’ve managed it all, especially with a little one as well. You should be massively proud of yourselves for making such a huge change with so many challenges! Lots of love darling and lots of applause too xxx

  3. October 6, 2018 / 09:24

    I agree with Kimberly – I am so in awe of that. I would have completely lost it, even without a child!!! You should be so proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved – I am stressed at the thought of packing up our house and moving half an hour down the road! You’ve done some gorgeous transformations in your home too, as well as dealing with everything else – you are an inspiration! xxx

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