I eat Pork and Sauerkraut at New Year's Eve and visit an old coffee shop haunt in Phoenixville for the first time in years. I introduce Chandra to my friends, shocking them with the prospect that I might move to Canada.
Chandra proposes we get married, in French, during my first visit to British Columbia and Canada in years. We skate with our friend Gaelle at Silver Star Mountain Resort.
I start streaming Dark Souls 2 on Twitch while Caitlin and John yell at me in the comments; as it was I'd end up streaming less as the year went on. Caitlin and I talk a bunch about the changes in my life.
At work, my development manager is let go and brings fears that I had at PowerSchool. Chandra and I start planning a wedding in March. For Valentine's Day I send her a care package with a stuffed bear named Gertrude.
The wedding occurs, it's wonderful. We're now gay married, if such a thing exists, and take our honeymoon at Sparkling Hill Spa & Resort. It's probably one of the nicest places I've ever visited. Coincidentally, we also find an apartment to lease in British Columbia. I come back to Pennsylvania and make plans to relocate.
The first few months of the year fly by considering all the plans we make. The apartment lease begins in May so we make plans for me to relocate as a long-term visitor for six months starting June.
In the time between March and May, I begin packing and helping relocate belongings that aren't mine. I spend time with my ex-boyfriend, as well as my best friend Ryan. I start packing up my things. I start thinking of things as it's likely the last time I do X, Y, or Z for a while.
May comes and I go to A-Camp for the first time. It's an experience unlike any other. I'm still not sure exactly what to think of it, but I definitely enjoyed myself. I met lots of lovely new people that I've managed to keep in contact to some degree. Chandra was there so we got to make out a bit more (but not much, it was very PUBLIC). We don't have much opportunity to celebrate Chandra's birthday this month, but we do spend a bit of extra time together.
June comes and I'm all ready to go. Thanks in most part to the effort my mom did, we got me all set up and inventoried everything I wanted to keep in storage. It was a whole affair, ask me about it sometime. Anyway, I really don't have the opportunity to keep in touch with my friends during this time, so yeah, it seems like I might've darted off kinda fast? Alas, the circumstances really made it difficult to get everything ready in time to leave. And for the first time ever, I move out of the country with my cats.
Wow, Canada is different though, y'all. Especially when you have only the things that can fit in a suitcase. The first few months here Chandra and I spend time setting up our apartment. It's also around this time that another person at work leaves and makes me wonder whether or not I should be looking for another remote job, because I don't reside in a country I can work in.
By July, Chandra and I file paperwork for permanent residency. As of writing this, it's still ongoing. We fill the time figuring out how to live together as two people who just spent the last few months apart. We go swimming a bunch as wildfire smoke fills the air. We learn more about each other. We argue. We adapt. We thrive. There's a lot of what we first talked about before getting engaged that makes our relationship flourish.
And I get pretty bored quickly with only my work laptop and my Nintendo Switch. I spend a lot of time reading during this period, and my neighbors kindly lend me some really interesting books. So I sink into that and find games that can play on my laptop. August comes and Chandra buys me a Playstation 4 for my birthday, and I sink into that for a month or so instead.
The problem becomes socialization. We've done all these things and it occurs to me before I even leave that I won't really know anyone, so I try to stretch out and meet people as the come along. And for what it's worth, my neighbors, local folks, Gaelle, Caitlin, John, my group chat, and others come to help me. While I don't know as many people as I would like to, and certainly don't have my own group of friends per se like I did in Pennsylvania, I've got something. The feeling of being alone recedes.
August turns into September, and we spend a bit of time in Vancouver visiting our friend Gaelle. Vancouver, being a place I wanted to visit my whole life, turns out to be a little bit of a let down at the time. I think I need a guide for next time. Around this time I start planning a Dungeons and Dragons campaign set in Eberron for 5th edition; it's slow going due to lack of official support for the setting.
Apparently, Thanksgiving in Canada is early October so that's interesting. We spend it with friends and neighbors. We watch Beetlejuice on our new day bed. Later, we go see a local rendition of Rocky Horror with some friends. Finally, I get my first official residency status from the Canadian government - my work permit. I'm able to stay in the country at least two years, which is much longer than the one remaining month I had before I needed to either leave or extend my visitor visa.
By November, it's finally time to start considering how to spend the winter months, and so I drop a grand on a pair of cross country skis. I feel like I've skied a dozen times now, but truthfully, I bought the skis after only being on a pair of rentals one time. I love being able to get outside and ski around without having to worry about anything. You don't have to look good to ski, you just need to look warm. It's great fun.
Work permit in hand, I take my first job in Canada and help out with a local wholesale event my neighbors run and I get my first Canadian paycheck. This whole period I'm playing Pillars of Eternity for like the third time. I lose about 112 hours in the game, in hopes of playing the second game. Once I'm done I realize my laptop can't actually run the second game. Whoops.
Work continues to be strange as we let go of our senior developer who was kind of a jerk anyway and hire a new product manager. It all seems to be improving for our team, but I still have broader concerns about the company itself.
Finally, we reach December and as of right now there's not a whole lot to say. Oh, I take that back, I've realized that Canadians like to say things are Canadian. For instance, Canola oil is a contraction of "Can" from Canada and "ola" from other vegetable oils like Mazola. Look, now I'm doing it too. I'm starting to settle into some of the differences between the two countries.
Chandra and I attend a caravan theater event during this time. Basically, for those unacquainted, we ride around on a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon (in this case, a wagon) in the snow during Winter - which would've been enough, but then the play focused on an indigenous group of people in Canada fighting concerns surrounding a fictional oil pipeline. Real pipeline concerns, of course, abound here in British Columbia and Alberta, as well as the Northwest Territories. That all being said, it's basically the most Canadian thing I've done since I arrived. The only thing that might've made it more Canadian is if they had maple syrup to dip into clean snow, which is also apparently a Canadian thing.
For Christmas and New Year's I'll be travelling to Toronto to visit with Chandra's parents and celebrate the holidays. I'm really looking forward to that as it'll be a period of relaxation in a year full of constant change, and that doesn't even include any of the political happenings over the past year (of which, yes, I have kept up with AND voted in an absentee ballot). I'm surprised my head hasn't exploded.
Coming up next year, I build a new computer with my bonus from work!
UPDATE: I added some photos from the year to add context.