Small Island Girl Chasing Big City Dreams
Posted on November 28, 2022
From clear blue salty waters to snow covered sidewalks, the transition from living on a small island to a big city has been an interesting one. As the semester comes to an end, I have now begun to reflect on my first three months of living in Toronto. They have been challenging, thrilling, spontaneous, tiring, fun-filled, but most of all new. I’ve been presented with new opportunities, I’ve made new friends, created new memories, and embarked on this new journey as an international student hailing all the way from a tiny 22 square mile island located smack dab in the Atlantic Ocean. And I couldn’t have wished for anything better than to be in the position that I am in now.
Let’s rewind back to the week before I was due to leave. I was filled to the brim with excitement, hope, fear and just a bit of anxiety. Or let me be honest, quite a lot of anxiety! This idea of packing up almost everything I owned into three suitcases and saying goodbye to my small life in Bermuda and saying hello to the busy city of Toronto was something I longed for, for a very long time, but still the idea was quite daunting. Did I pack everything I needed? Will I need this when I get out there? What if it doesn’t work out? Will things be ok? These were just some of the thoughts running through my mind the day before I was leaving. But there were also thoughts filled with optimism and excitement sprinkled in there as well. Thoughts of meeting new people, visiting new places and trying new food and also this eagerness to start classes and see what TMU’s RTA Media Production program had in store for me.
I have visited Toronto in the past, so I already had an idea of what to expect, but obviously, this time around it would be a completely different situation. I would actually be stationed here for quite a long time immersing myself in every aspect of the city.
Bermuda is one of the most expensive countries to live in the world. From housing, to food to healthcare. In terms of the cost of living and attending university in a major city like Toronto, I knew it would be quite expensive, but I didn’t realise how comparable the two were in these respects. What I’ve come to realise while living here, specifically on residence, is that you’ll always need to stock up on necessities. A quick trip to the Metro Grocery Store or Shoppers Drug Mart almost always instantly feels like visiting any establishment in Bermuda due to the high cost of things. So, being aware of this, I try to make a conscious effort to budget my money effectively.
After settling in a bit in Toronto, I was hit with quite a cultural shock and obviously I knew there were going to be some cultural differences present between Bermuda and Toronto, but it was still interesting to experience such. For example, walking the busy streets of Toronto can be hectic and busy due to so many roaming them, but something I’ve been struggling to get accustomed to is strangers bumping into you without apologizing, it’s almost as if it’s a normal thing. When it comes to Bermudians, in my opinion, we’re some of the friendliest and most well-mannered people. So, sometimes having those friendly interactions from back home is something I miss. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve encountered some of the best people here and the great interactions I’ve had with them definitely outweigh the bad and so I’ve learned that my experiences living on that tiny island are going to differ drastically to my experiences here in this big city and that is perfectly okay.
Overall, my first three months here in Toronto have been nothing short of amazing and my love for the city has grown immensely and continues to do so. All in all, I’m super grateful to be in the position that I’m in at this moment and looking forward to what else Toronto has to offer!