No, I’m not bilingual. But I really wish I had fought harder to enrol in more French courses after grade 11. If I ever decide to have kids, I’m forcing them to learn a different language. My parents bought collections of encyclopedias (remember those!); I’ll opt to buy collections of Rosetta Stone.
Anyway, for those who don’t know (which would be many, including my parents): I am seriously considering relocating in an effort to find a new job. I inquired with others, asking which cities deliver the following: 1. (Really good) Public Transit; 2. Walkability; 3. Single Life/Social Scene; 4. Liberal/Sex-Positive Attitudes; 5. Diversity.
After the collection of responses, and some considerable thought, I’ve decided that my job search will span across the following cities:
Chicago. I’m not sure why someone who is lactose-intolerant would willing choose to live in the city that brought us deep dish pizza, but there is something pulling my interest – and it’s more than my nostalgia of Michael Jordan and the Bulls. I’ll be heading to Chicago over the Labour Day Weekend to check out the city in person. This is the only American city I am considering and as far as I can tell it’s fairly easy to land a work visa for the US. The thought of Mitt Romney becoming President scares the crap out of me though.
Paris. It hits all 5 criteria but, curiously, the reviews of the city have been mixed. Admittedly most of what I know about the city I learned in art history back in high school. And I hear it smells – but I’m thinking if people can live there, and be cool with the smell, it can’t be that bad, right? And I know some French. Some.
Montreal. The little French I do know is Quebecois so I’d be remiss not to put Montreal on my list. I’ve been to the city and I LOVED it. It has a great vibe and it’s foreign yet domestic at the same time! Landing a job that doesn’t require bilingualism will be tough here – and in Paris – but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m sure I could find some weekend or evening French classes there to help me out.
London/Dublin. Up until yesterday, I thought Ireland was part of Great Britain. You learn something new everyday. Anyway, London has been highly suggested: no language barrier and hits my list of criteria. London kind of scares me though. Not sure why. Dublin has always seemed more like a city I can wrap my arms around but I’ve never been there so that could be my love of Guinness swaying my judgement.
Berlin/Munich. Ich möchte nach Deutschland gehen so schlecht, es tut weh! And the visa process doesn’t appear to be as bad as I thought it was. Alas, this will likely be my least fruitful search – on account for the fact that the only words I actually do know in German are Bundesliga and lederhosen. Can’t I just use Google Translate on the job? I’m serious – just until I pick up the language? I better keep my desperation in check when submitting cover letters.
I think the most difficult reality about wanting to relocate is recognizing that many employers would not want to take the chance of employing someone from another country (especially without a secured visa). I’m hoping my Canadian citizenship – the trusted Canadian brand – will work in my favour. Who doesn’t like a Canadian? What government would not expedite a work visa for a Canadian – with no criminal record to boot? I haven’t even gotten a cavity (despite how sweet I am)!
Do I dare take the leap and move to a desired city without job prospects? I don’t think I could have typed that standing up; my heart is pounding with in trepidation just thinking about it. If Canada ever found itself in civil war – say if the Canadiens ever faced the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Finals again – I’d consider it. So never?
Why relocate? Toronto is a great city – in fact, my list of criteria was based mostly on what I love about the Greater Toronto Area. The economy is good, and I am going to be applying to jobs here if the position is right.
It all comes down to wanting a new experience. Sure, I think Toronto is great. But what if Paris doesn’t smell and is ten times better than Toronto? Or what if the men in Chicago are suffering from a shortage of me? I won’t know unless I try. If I try, and fall flat on my face in the process, great. But at least I can say that I tried.
If you could relocate to a new city, anywhere in the world, which would it be? Why?