So it’s been a pretty eventful week, where basically everything went wrong all at once. Yay!
Alright, so that might be overselling it a touch. There were two basic Fails of the WeekTM, one more comedic than the other so I guess I’ll start with that one. Last weekend I took a long weekend off because fuck it I wanted some extra time off. I don’t get paid holiday here so I basically don’t get holiday since I cant afford to not be paid, but I was allowed to swap a bank holiday around so yay for me. However since Dan is virtually destitute at the moment and I’m just a tight-ass, it occured to me after deciding to do this that we couldn’t actually afford to do smeg all.
Maybe I should have gone here?
So in typically pre-planned fashion I looked at a map of Toronto and found a bit that looked vaguely interesting and said “let’s go there!” What could possibly go wrong?
So we set off in the freezing cold, deciding that we would walk to this random place on the lakeshore of the city from Downtown because hey it doesn’t look far on the map! And we walked, and walked and walked past some truely fantastic scenery.
This rusting beauty sits at the very beginning of Yonge street, one of the longest streets in the world and former member of the Guinness Book of Records to that effect. Yes that’s right folks, let’s mark this prestigious piece of human engineering with some sort of tacky, rusting fish restaurant. That’s the way to do it.
Anyway, we must have walked for hours before we finally made it. Past all sorts of wonderful sights and oh wait I’m lying. It was covered in factories. just rows and rows of factories. I mean, I’ve read that Toronto until fairly recently essentially almost tried to pretend the lake didn’t exist, but it’s still surprising to see how close to the city these miles of factories stretch all around the edge. There are pollution issues with the lake although I guess I’m not one to talk considering the state of the Thames and at least we’re both trying to fix our respective crimes against nature.
I digress however. We finally managed to find this damned park I’d decided it was such a great idea to go to, only to discover that it was not only mostly closed to the public (thanks Google Maps for letting me know that!) but also so desolate it wouldn’t have been out of place in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
I guess there is a kind of rugged beauty to all this, but still it was pretty disappointing. I chose this spot because it juts out quite far into the lake, and I was hoping to be able to get some distance shots of the city or something, as well as an angled look at the series of islands that sits just away from the city. No such luck however.
All this is merely an irrelevant waste of time. The other Fail is of somewhat greater import. The short version is that as of this moment, barring some drastic change in fortunes or someone waving a magic wand or some shit, I’m probably going to be back in the UK by August.
Long story is basically this. When we came out here it was with the intention of spending two years in Canada, chaining one Working Visa with another, building up/maintaining a supply of cash whilst we worked our way across the country before moving on to either New Zealand or Australia. I even spoke to the guys at BUNAC, the organisation we’re travelling through, to confirm we could do this and got the all clear. Then about a month ago I went to confirm how we wen’t about doing this only to be told that we cannot in fact chain two visas together.
I suspect this meme more than most is going to see a lot of traction on here.
So then it became an emergency scramble to see if we could at least make it out of Canada after just one year instead. Based on some hope, maths, hope, planning and also hope, I figured that we could probably make it out to New Zealand if we worked pretty constantly until the end of our visas in August and gave up the idea of actually seeing much of Canada outside of Toronto. I admit this does kind of miss part of the point of coming out here but, thems the breaks.
This relied on, among other things, recieving a nice and juicy $1-1.5k tax rebate that BUNAC stated I would get at the end of the tax year, based on a pro-rata assumption of my ‘tax-free personal allowance’. Are we sensing a theme here yet folks? Yes that’s right, BUNAC were full of BULLCRAP!
So I don’t get my tax rebate. Apparently I have to be classed as a resident to receive a tax rebate, and even then have earned 90% of my yearly wage in Canada or I basically just get the local tax back, which adds up to about $200 if that. So I’m now massively off target with seven months left to go, and Dan is still job hunting.
So yeah. From a viewpoint I must admit I’ve looked from myself, it could well seem like this may have turned into a bit of a waste of time. I mean, I gave up my job and home and all that stuff to travel the world right? And here I am facing down the barrel of going home after just a year. Yet, I find myself striking up a surprisingly optimistic viewpoint on all of this.
Y’see, even if this has only been for just a year I really really don’t view it as a waste of time. For a start it got me out of a job that made me fucking miserable. I mean I’ve had crap jobs before. I’ve worked for refuse cleanup, I’ve worked in heavily competitive commission based jobs, in fact considering I’ve only been working on and off for just over ten years now I’ve had quite a few jobs. But none were as soul-crushingly awful as my previous one. Now I must full-disclosure this statement with the possibility that some of my former collegues may in fact be reading this. To you I say – Tell me I’m wrong. On the face of it you might all say its not that bad, but privately all of you bemoaned the constant never ending in-fighting, the complete ineptitutude of our boss, the catastrophic mis-management from head office, the awfully obnoxious customers and the stiflingly oppressive work environment. Tagged onto that was the fact that I left a job I relatively enjoyed (if only it hadn’t been in Dartford town center!) on the hope of forging this great Graduate Management career only to get stuck in this Den in Woe for nearly two years.
My point is that this trip giving me the impetus to get out of that place before it literally killed me cannot ever be undervalued. The pervading misery I felt at that place coloured my outlook on everything and I found myself drawing inwards more and more. Now I’m free, unfettered from all those issues as well as the financial and logistical issues of having a flat with tonnes of furniture and associated crap that I’ve carted around the umpteen different locations I’ve lived in, and a return to England can be viewed almost as a second chance.
Well that’s my hope anyway. But if I do come back, I’ll say this here right now so it’s in print for now until the Death of the Internet. Family – oh family. Be it in Devon or Kent, I really need to spend more time with you guys. Less sitting indoors all the time, being miserable and playing videogames. More getting out there and DOING stuff.
It’s the way forward. Yo.