Well, I am finally here, and three days later it still feels strange to say that. However, my journey to Canada wasn’t without its mishaps, although surprisingly not for the reasons I expected.
I left my home in Sunderland, with my lovely mum and my little dog, on the morning of January 23rd– three days after my 23rd birthday. Perhaps 23 is going to be my new lucky number. My flight was due to take off from Newcastle, heading to London Heathrow where I would catch my connection to Toronto, at 7:00am. My Toronto connection was due to take off at 11:30am. Sounds pretty simple right?
I figured the hardest part was going to be saying goodbye to, firstly, my dog who I knew I wouldn’t see for a very long time. Y’know, given that dogs can’t really just hop on an international flight whenever they choose. I could get super sentimental about how much I love that little happy fluff ball, but I won’t, I guess that isn’t the point of this post. Secondly, I thought that when the time came at the airport to say goodbye to my mum, who honestly has been my rock through a lot of crappy teenage and young adult years, that I wouldn’t be able to do it.
Driving to the airport I had this weird sense of anticipation. Like I was excited, and I knew I was excited, but I was holding back tears, and my anxiety was playing up a little. It was never enough to make me not want to leave, but it was there, dancing on the peripheries.
But when we said goodbye, and hugged at security, I didn’t cry. Everyone who knows me knows that I am a crier- happy, sad, angry drunk- I’m a crier. But I didn’t break down into floods of tears, and honestly, once you get through security and on your way, you don’t have too much time for tears.
Or so I thought, until I boarded the plane at Newcastle. This time, the tears were stress and anxiety. My Newcastle flight was delayed due to bad weather conditions for two hours- TWO. FUCKING. HOURS. My Toronto flight was to take off at 11:30am, so there was no way I was going to catch it. I feel so bad for the people sat next to me on that Newcastle flight (where we sat in our seats for the full delay, on the runway, awaiting further instruction). Those guys got stuck next to some little girl clearly having a breakdown and stressing out over the phone.
Of course, as anticipated, after speeding from the plane to flight connections, I was turned away by a grumpy looking woman at the desk. I had missed my flight. My bags had been sent straight on, and so I feared that they would get to Toronto before me, or worse, they’d get to Toronto and I wouldn’t make it at all!
I really thought the hard part was over. I’d said my goodbyes; I’d set off to begin a new adventure and a new part of my life- why were so many obstacles getting in my way?
I’m pretty lucky in that my mum works for British airways, and so she’s seen this happen a thousand times, and so was really good help in the situation. She directed me upstairs, to departures, to a staff help desk. I’m not sure if it was the sheer distress in my voice or my tear stained cheeks, but the lady at the desk had me on the next flight (5:00pm) in a matter of minutes.
Although it did mean a much longer wait, it gave me time to get my shit together and calm down.
My mum emailed a note to the cabin crew operating my flight, to explain to them that I might need a little TLC after my stressful day. Not to mention the fact my emotions were running high anyway- it isn’t every day you relocate 3,483 miles across the world!
From then on my flight went really well, and I was incredibly blessed to have the help and support of the crew on that flight, who kept stopping to chat to me and ask about my plans, and if I was feeling okay. They even took the time to email my mum and let her know everything had gone well.
I figured the next step would be immigration. Best-case scenario: I’d have all of my paperwork in order and they’d let me straight through with my work permit. Worst-case scenario: I’d be back on the next flight to London.
Luckily for the immigration was pretty quiet, with only one other British guy getting his permit, and then a couple people from the Hong Kong flight which landed at the same time as ours. The officer who dealt with me was really friendly, and after checking my port of entry letter and a few personal details, I was on my way.
Seeing my work permit in paper, inside MY passport, it made all of the stress worth it. I’d been dreaming about this moment for the past year. It’s all I had worked and saved for. It’s all I’d spoke about. And now here it was, I was IN Canada. This was it, the beginning!