Moving Away from Home: What Year 2 Looked Like

This July 1st — Canada Day — marked 2 years since Josh and I moved from Vancouver to Toronto to start a new life together. 2 years! I honestly didn’t think I could make it to the 2 year mark. I knew I would definitely give it a year so I could really give it a good, honest go, but man…that first year was not easy.

I just read through my Moving to Toronto: The First Year post to remind myself of my head space a year ago, and I’m pretty sure I left out all the bad stuff. I do remember that when I wrote it I had just come back from visiting family and friends in Vancouver and started my new (and current) job.

The first year definitely started and ended on a high, but if you were to ask me to do it all over again…I just don’t know if I could stomach it. I don’t regret moving, but I could not relive that first year again. It was a real test of strength, that’s for sure.

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But I’m not here to talk about year 1. I’m here to reflect on year 2. Overall, it had way more highs than lows and was way more relaxed. I’d say for the first few months I was just focused on learning the ropes at the new job and enjoying the summer as a gainfully employed Torontonian with friends and money in the bank. A far cry from the previous summer, I must say.

After a fairly low-key summer, Josh and I started seriously thinking about settling down in Toronto for a few more years and buying a place in town. After finally getting a job in digital marketing and just feeling more comfortable in the city, the idea of having a plot of land to call our own seemed just right. Plus, Josh’s freelance career was doing better than ever, so this past winter our house hunt began.

You can read all about my house hunting experience in my house hunting blog post series, but needless to say after a few months of searching, we did not end up buying anything. Houses are way too overpriced for what they actually are in the city (crack shack or mansion anyone?), and renting just seemed like a smarter idea.

After that, I honestly think my whole fantasy of being a homeowner in Toronto for years to come faded away. Not to say that my husband and I won’t be staying in Toronto for the next little while, but I think the experience pretty much cemented the idea that we will move back to Vancouver one day for good. I don’t know when that will be, but when I think of my forever home, it’s in beautiful B.C.

Until we do move back to our original and forever home, I’ll just have to be ok with having two homes. I know it sounds weird to say, maybe not weird if you’ve moved around before, but it wasn’t until this Christmas that I truly felt like Vancouver and Toronto were both equally my homes.

I never thought I could feel this comfortable in two places at once, but it’s true. And I know by the time year 3 finishes up, I’ll feel even more at home here in Toronto. But those winters, I’ll probably never get used to those.

Now that my husband and I are embarking on year 3 in Toronto, I look forward to what this next year will bring. I never can seem to predict what will happen, but I’m really hoping for another good year full of new experiences, personal growth, and fingers crossed a trip to someplace tropical with bottomless margaritas.

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Showing 22 comments
  • Jordann
    Reply

    I love that you are mindfully reflecting on what your past year in a new city has looked like, I’ll definitely have to do that once I’ve spent a year in Halifax (already at 7 months!). It sounds like you’re in a great place right now. Maybe not ready to buy a home just yet, but, you’re comfortable. Congrats on coming out the other side of your first (and second) year stronger and happier.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Thanks Jordann! And I definitely look forward to reading your year in review post!

  • Rob
    Reply

    Well Jess, given time I think that Toronto will grow on you guys. This past winter was quite a bit harsher than I’ve seen in recent years. Some years it’s been downright “balmy” around Christmas and there was no snow on the ground for the kids to play in. We’ve lived just under half our lives in Montreal before moving to TO (on a company head office transfer). In comparing the two cities, each had their good and not-so-good points but we never regretted our move because we felt that Toronto offered far more opportunities and benefits for both us and our kids. And time proved us right. Don’t forget now, you’ve lived most of your life in BC (where you have many fond memories). You owe it to yourselves to now give Toronto a chance as well since, as you mention, year 2 was way better than year 1 for you. No telling what year 3 (and beyond) may bring to you, especially if you should start having kids. Montreal still has appeal to us and we regularly go back there to visit with my immediate family but Toronto now is our home for now. This may change later on after we have been retired longer and might wish to downsize and live closer to our kids, who live in Burlington and Mississauga. Time will tell, eh ? 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Well, I think I might need more time for Toronto to fully grow on me because Josh loved it the first day we stepped foot in TO. He definitely loves the city so when we do decide to move back, it won’t be easy. I definitely think the big reason why I want to move back is because that’s where all my family is. I just can’t imagine starting a family of my very own far away from my parents and sisters. But we’ll just have to see what happens I guess.

      • Rob
        Reply

        When I said yes to my Head Office transfer offer I wasn’t thinking of my parents or siblings. I was thinking of what I felt was best for our kids’ future prospects. And time has proven me right. But it’s a personal decision so I hear ya, Jess.

  • Bridget
    Reply

    So glad you didn’t buy a home in TO, those were totally ridiculously priced properties.

    Congrats on another year in your second home city 😉

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Congrats on two years! We recently moved around 16-17 hours away from our hometown. I’m starting to feel more like Colorado is our home, but I definitely still miss family and friends. Since we both work from home, it’s been a little harder to make friends in the area but I’m hoping that changes soon!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      The making a new social circle thing was definitely hard for us too the first year. Knowing no one and having no family in Toronto was tough, but after a year it go easier. We did a lot of out of our comfort zone things to make friends too like meeting with friends of friends for drinks and going to meet=ups. Colorado sounds beautiful though (reminds me a bit of Canada).

  • Lisa Lyon
    Reply

    Just came back from visiting where I grew up. No longer refer to it as home, because after so many years in California, now consider that my home. It was still good to connect with old friends.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      I think the big reason I will always consider Vancouver home is that’s where my family is. Plus Vancouver so darn pretty, but California sounds pretty darn nice too. 🙂

  • Chrsitine Weadick
    Reply

    I’m a small town girl and just could not imagine living in TO…. sorry folks! For various reasons over the last 15 years I have spent a lot of time driving around London ON and I don’t think I would care for living there either… I like my small town.
    That said we did live out east when we were first married and had thought about staying there but the job situation even back then was brutal so we came back to ON. On the other end of the scale is hubby’s old friend, who spent around 30 years in the military. At least if/when you move back to BC it will be your call at the time. He and his wife have been from one end of the country to the other over the years depending on how postings worked out. Sometimes it was good and other times not so much…..

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      I so know what you mean. My mom grew up in a military family and moved around a bit. I don’t think I would have liked that.

  • Reply

    I currently live away from my hometown as well, and I totally agree that the first year is the hardest. But, it’s amazing that as time passes, your adopted city becomes more and more your city. Pretty exciting. I always hope to return “home” too – in fact, we’re hoping in the next year or 2, but now I know it will be really hard to leave my adopted city. I have been here 10 years now.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Oh wow! 10 years! I’m not sure I could do 10 years in Toronto, then again, who knows what the future holds. I totally agree that the longer I stay here, the harder it’s going to leave to go back home.

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls
    Reply

    Wow…as I was about to write this I realized we moved from nearly our entire family and all our friends in CT down to GA five years ago today. At the time we were broke and broken. At the ages of 31 and 32 with two kids of our own we had to relocate and move in with my mother (which I dreaded more than my husband did!). It was the hardest time of my life. We barely made it through intact. As hard as it was, I don’t know if we would have become who we are or learned as much to move forward through life. We just bought a house and are doing better than ever. We have become so much more aware of our money and how we relate with it. I think if we had not gotten hit with a 2 year job loss slashing our income in half, we would still be oblivious to our finances.
    Now my dad is moving here next month and my husband’s parents are working on moving themselves and his 90 yo grandfather down here as well. We still consider ourselves northerners at heart, but home is where your family is.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Wow, that’s an amazing story. And like you said, what a life changing experience for the better in the end. Thanks for the comment!

  • Mery
    Reply

    I bet it took a lot of editing to end up with a post “long enough” for a blog. I bet you had waaaay more experiences but this is a nice and good summary.

    I, for one, have moved from my home town several times, the latest to this Beautiful BC. I currently live in Surrey, but I’m originally from Latin America (talking about a change, eh?), in a few months I had to pick up a new language, new house, new relatives, new city… and it was soooo exiting!

    Even tho I still refer about my gorgeous country as “back home”, I feel pretty confident navigating the city, I enjoy the changes in season (still dealing with so much rain!), winters only show on tv in my country, I’m a latino coast girl, born and raised!

    We definitely wanted to plant roots in Vancouver so we did jump into the deep waters of real estate and bought a nice condo, thinking that, for the same amount, we could buy a “mansion” in Florida! But we are happy and comfortable.

    So two thumbs up for a second (or maybe third) home country!

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Thanks Mery! You made a great choice with B.C., seriously the most beautiful place to live 🙂

      • Mery
        Reply

        It sure is!

  • Melissa
    Reply

    Hi,
    I am newbie and this is my first time commenting. I just had to comment on this post because of your comment: “I just read through my Moving to Toronto: The First Year post to remind myself of my headspace a year ago, and I’m pretty sure I left out all of the bad stuff.” My boyfriend and I moved from Vancouver to Australia on January 1st 2013 so that he could go to medical school. The first 6 months were hell. I attribute that to not having a job in my field of study, which is enough to drive anyone mad. The end of the first year, I found it tolerable, but by no means did I feel at ease, or like I had made a home. By the end of the 2nd year I was actually looking forward to the 3rd year. Half way through this 3rd year and I am just dreading the end of the 4th year, when we pack up and do it all over again. We will need to move so that he can get work, could be Canada, Australia or the USA.

    • Jessica Moorhouse
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment Melissa! So nice to have someone go through something so similar to what I went through!

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