Thursday, April 1, 2010


According to the Dalhousie website, a decision has been made on my application to the costume studies program in the theatre department. Whether the decision is yes or no, only time will tell. It's so nerve wracking to wait. Each possibility has its ups and downs. I'm not especially looking forward to packing up my house, renting it out, finding somewhere new to live, figuring out the logistics of childcare in Halifax once we get there. I am looking forward to the idea that it is possible to do something for a living that I enjoy.

I was thinking today about when I decided to move to Toronto. I had always said I never would do it. Toronto was too brash, greedy, loud, large and lacking in culture. It seemed like the brutish, overweight cousin of the genteel, chainsmoking Montreal I had gotten used to. In Toronto there was no cafe on every corner, the bars weren't open until 3 in the morning. Everyone in Toronto had house parties, because rent was so expensive no one could afford to go out to drink. In Toronto, you couldn't smoke inside. However, as I tried to decide what to do when my graduate studies came to a close, I knew I had to leave my sweet city of Montreal for greener pastures. I couldn't get a job outside of my university, because I wasn't fluently french speaking. Une bière s'il vous plaît was not sufficient and pretty much the full extent of my linguistic abilities. As I mulled it over in my mind, I began to say goodbye to my favourite spots, some of which I still have yet to see again. Parc Mont Royale in the summer, cafe presse in the winter. The fountain at Place des Armes that I fecklessly jumped into when I was seventeen, only to be rebuked moments later by a security guard who boredly pointed at the signs. Where could I go that could possibly match the city I had declared my love to, for so long? I remember discussing it with my mom's partner when I told him I didn't know where I wanted to live.

"You know, Nic, your mom cries a lot." He said it matter-of-factly, leaning in and gripping his steering wheel more tightly.

"Like, generally?" I laughed uncomfortably.

"She would just like you to live closer. She talks about it. Montreal is so far away."

"But we fight every time I visit. If she wanted me to move closer then she'd be nicer."

"I think you both are guilty of that -- of not being nice."

My silence was complicit. Undeniably, both of us were incredibly petty in those years. A nasty feedback loop of one expecting sniping comments from the other, then preemptively striking. It was difficult to tell if either of us were mad at eachother, or just constantly defending percieved attacks.

"I could never live in Toronto though, it's awful there."

He shrugged, clearly feeling as though he had said his piece.

After that conversation, no matter how many reasons piled upon reasons why it was a good idea for me to move to Toronto, and yes there were many, it all came back to that conversation. Despite how much I rebelled, and continue to do so, I don't ever want to make my mom cry. Maybe some tears are inevitible, but I definitely don't want it to be a lot.

In retrospect, it was a good decision. Not only because Toronto was where I met my husband and gave birth to my child, but because it is the first marker for me of adulthood. It was the first selfless choice I made as an adult, and it gives me hope that at one point, after giving and giving and giving, your children give a little back. It's not what they give, but the fact they've learned to give at all.

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