The execution was haphazard at best. I'd planned to save up a few grand over the summer to execute the move in proper style, but that was my first party summer, and there just never seemed to be enough money. I saved $1,000 in May and June and virtually nothing more by the end of September.

As a result, plans had to change. Instead of having $3,000 saved, I had $1,000 and a fresh new VISA. Instead of an apartment, I was staying with a "friend" I barely knew until I landed a job. Instead of moving in the traditional sense, brought two suitcases and two knapsacks, with everything else thrown into storage in Ottawa.

Usually this is the sort of half-assed plan hatched by starry-eyed 19 year-olds, who end up giving up and moving home once they've blown through their savings and their parents' generosity. In my case, there was really no home to go back to.

Everything I considered home was in Ottawa, and the apartment I had there was gone. Even if I wanted to move back, as a dirty unilingual I'd never be able to land a job that paid as well as the (awful) one I left behind. That's why I had to leave in the first place. It was all fucking scary, because failure would mean moving to a dying town of 500 with my grandparents who, while loving, would rather play golf than take care of their 23 year-old grandson.

I left for Toronto in late September. Six very long weeks, and countless job interviews later I landed a job that paid less than I was making in Ottawa, but didn't make me want to die, and an awful bachelor apartment I could afford. By the time February rolled around I decided it wasn't worth living on my own if I could only afford a shoebox, and moved to a nicer place with roommates.

I didn't have the money or the logistical ability to move all my crap from Ottawa until the ex moved here as well. From September 25 until May 1, I lived out of those two suitcases. By then I'd almost forgotten that I actually owned any furniture and it felt like Christmas to bring all this niceish Ikea crap into my apartment. In essence, it took me seven months to move to Toronto. In the interim I was in purgatory.

This isn't a sob story. Those long, dark moments. The stress. The loneliness. It was all worth it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. More than a testament to me, it's a testament to Toronto. My life here isn't perfect. I still make less than I made in Ottawa. The financial outlook isn't what it should be. But it's hard to be pessimistic in this city. There's an energy, an optimism here, as if the city is telling me to hold on and everything will be alright.

Because now this is my city.

A toast to you, Toronto. I don't regret a thing.

Image courtesy of sandrino.