November 14, 2004

hope

I don't know how to say this so I'll just say it. And I don't know if it's going to come to anything or if we'll stumble and turn back before the finish line or decide we didn't really want to be in this race after all. I have no idea, none at all. It's just a concept right now, just a thought in the process of forming. But it feels real, at least at this moment in time. Feels good, even. Contains hope. And Dan and I both need that right now.

A week ago we started talking about moving. Not just out of this house. Not just out of this city. Out of this country.

O Canada, oh yes.

Toronto, to be precise.

It started with the election, of course. Probably every liberal (or should I say true-blue blue-stater? feh.) in the US said something under their breath to that effect on election night or the day after, right? "Time to move to Canada. New Zealand is awfully pretty too, have you seen Lord of the Rings?" But how many meant it? I'm guessing very few. People have lives, homes, friends, family. Roots. Emigration is a very big deal. Even to Canada. Hell, moving across town can feel like a big deal sometimes. Moving to a different country because of politics when this isn't even a dictatorship? Too big to do for real.

But it works for us. Not only did we both feel at peace for the first time since the election, but it makes a lot of sense. My mother lives in Nova Scotia, my brother is in Montreal. The rest of our family is on the east coast. We could drive to see them! Plane flights would be an hour, not six! Real family Thanksgivings and Christmas dinners and summer holidays at the beach together and Damian knowing his cousins and loving his grandparents, yes. And Toronto, from what I've heard and read, is a real city, with a real subway system and real walking streets that go on and on the way they're supposed to instead of dribbling out after three blocks, with neighborhoods chock full of character, with parks and skyscrapers and a real downtown and small pubs and cafes and all the things a city should have and this one we live in now sort of does, only you have to drive from one to another, enhancing the disconnect. Toronto would enhance the connect, and how I miss that. And we'd be back in a place with fall foliage, snowdrifts and snowball fights, the awe and power of the first spring flower. Green summers. Green, green, green. Trees and streams and waterfalls and flowers and oh, green.

Ahem.

We'd also be in a strong filmmaking community. We don't know yet, we won't know until we explore (and network our brains out) but there's a reasonable expectation that Dan could get enough editing work to keep us afloat. And housing is cheaper. As in: half the price. As in: we could afford to put a solid down payment on a nice house and have money left over from the sale of this place. A nest egg, finally. Money for Damian's college fund and our old age fund. A security blanket we've never had and probably won't if we stay here.

And the vaunted Canadian warmth and Toronto niceness (it's "Toronto the Good," after all) is a far better thing for Damian than the egocentric aggression that pulses just under the surface of Los Angeles society. My son will probably grow up quite capable and definitely highly skilled and sweet, to boot, but somewhat socially nave. He needs to be somewhere where you can trust people. This is not that place.

We've never visited Toronto. We plan to rectify that as soon as we can (though with work and school considerations, it might be some months before that happens). Maybe it wont live up to the promise, maybe we'll get there and shrug in indifference. Just a city. No feeling of connectedness. Maybe so. It's possible.

It's also possible that Dan will find the film/TV community there insular or small. Who knows? It's also possible we'll discover the schools aren't to our liking or that we have no affinity for the people who live there or that the buildings are ugly and characterless. It's also possible that the immigration lawyer will tell us in a couple of weeks (after he researches the question) that Damian's diagnosis will bar the way to immigration. It's possible this move isn't for us after all. We have two years to explore the issue before we have to commit, before it becomes official. All I can tell you is that right now it feels like a way out of our treading-water lives to something that at least on paper makes a whole lot more sense. Somewhere we can find happiness. And that hope, it feels good right now. So good.

Posted by Tamar at November 14, 2004 08:42 PM
Comments

Hey Tamar,

You may really want to look into what the situation is like regarding ASD services in Canada. According to MB from our special needs Email group, the situation is pretty bleak there.

I'm on another list with her and when all of the blue staters started talking Canada, she said that it was something she'd never do.

Posted by: allison at November 15, 2004 06:57 AM

I have spent alot of time in Toronto shooting movies. You won't hate the buildings. There are some great restaurants. There is a cool nightlife/bar scene, a great gay quarter. And there is arguably the best film festival in North America every September. But....well..it is just very very bland. Canadians are indeed "nice"--although I would argue that it masks a tremendous amount of passive-aggression. (oh -- and that accent!!!) I think after the bite of NYC you may find it a little hard to take there--but obviously, see for yourself. And FWIW, I know a fair number of people there if you want to be hooked up--

Posted by: christine at November 15, 2004 09:02 AM

This is not the first person that I have read wants to move to our fine country...............
Every country has both positive and negative aspects, but as for me I am proud to be a Canadian
and love my life here.
What ever you decide I pray it works out for you and your family!
I love to read your posts daily!
Blessings of love and peace
Jeanne

Posted by: Jeanne at November 15, 2004 09:38 AM

Toronto is a beautiful city, and I'm sure you'd love it here. It's the LA of the North, and you'd be very close to Detroit, New York City (about six hours away) and Niagara Falls. I haven't been in the city a lot (I'm about an hour east, at the University of Guelph), but from what I've seen of it, it's wonderful.

I keep telling people that immigration is not easy. I've been looking for a way for a couple years now, and it looks like I will have to either find a sponsor or spend a few years working in the States to become a permanent resident. However, I hope the situation is different for you and your husband. With any luck, one of you qualifies as a skilled worker, which seems to me the best way to get into the country. If there's a Canadian consulate in Los Angeles, they may be able to help you figure out how you're going to immigrate. I also recommend Canada Bound for any immigration-related questions you might have. It's Livejournal, but people tend to be pretty well-informed.

Also, keep in mind that if either of you take a government job, you may not be able to get your US passport renewed.

Posted by: Julie at November 15, 2004 10:48 AM

Er, I mean I am an hour west of Toronto.

By the way, one of the best things about being a Californian in Ontario is the questions you get from the natives. I am from Sacramento, but people constantly ask me (when I tell them I am from California) if I have ever seen a movie star or how far I am from the beach. I tell them I saw Sean Astin in Oregon once, and their faces fall. It's pretty funny.

Posted by: Julie at November 15, 2004 10:52 AM

Change can be a wonderful healer.

Posted by: kelly at November 15, 2004 12:56 PM

Oh, what a wonderful idea! I so hope it works out for you, really. It sounds perfectly perfect, all around! All your family close by, you can't beat that! I am just thrilled for you all! /Bee


PS And you'd be able to get all the Mackintosh's toffee you wanted, whenever!

Posted by: Beetilda at November 15, 2004 06:55 PM

It's funny, but when I first told Darin about this, I expected he'd give some response along the lines of the ones he gives me when I tell him I'm moving to France. Instead, he said: "Well, that makes sense, she has family there and she doesn't like LA."

Yeah, but...I'd still miss you.

Posted by: Diane at November 16, 2004 09:45 AM

http://greenerpastures.typepad.com

you might want to check out her blog.
Toronto is really great. As a New Yorker, I felt it lived up to its billing. Its subway is very cute. I don't mean to sound condescending...its not as small as it seems. Its a pretty diverse city too.

Posted by: jen at November 17, 2004 01:50 PM

Tamar:

You might want to check out this article that someone posted on one of my lists today:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20041120/COURTREAXN20/National/Idx

Doesn't paint a very flattering picture of Canada as a haven for kids on the spectrum. Damian probably no longer requires that kind of intense intervention any more, but it is food for thought.

cheers, d.

Posted by: Daniel Park at November 20, 2004 08:30 AM