I Won’t Be Going to China Afterall

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I’ve been back in Toronto for a month now and it’s good to be back where all my family and friends are. Montreal is a great city, but I never felt like I belonged there. If I’m being honest, I wanted to teach ESL overseas because it seemed like the best way for me to get out of the freelancing business and out of Montreal. I was getting desperate. The isolation, the loneliness, and the frustration of freelancing had gotten to me and I needed to make a move. Toronto was just supposed to be a temporary stay while I found my first ESL contract.

But getting a teaching contract is not as easy as I was made to believe. I thought that a bachelor’s degree was just something that the language schools prefer to see in applicants as a way of screening them, but that’s not the case. A degree is actually part of the work visa requirements, so I’ll never be able to qualify for one. I could go to the country on a business visa, but if I did that I would actually be in the country illegally. Under a work visa you’re not allowed to earn income while you’re in the country. If my visa papers ever got checked I would end up in jail for 30 days, fined, deported, and possibly also banned from the country for up to five years. That’s a huge risk and I would be insane to take it! Read the rest of this entry »

Hiatus Over: Back to Business

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Sometimes all you need is to take a step back, breathe for a bit, and reassess the situation. I needed a break from writing, and now I’m getting back into it with renewed perspective. Now that I’ve returned to Toronto, my home, I feel focused, comfortable, and inspired. It’s time to put the past behind me and get back to work. I’ve come too far in my career to turn around and do something else, and it’s evident that I have at least a modicum of talent for writing, so it would be a waste to let it fall into neglect. The hiatus is over, and I am now back to business. Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving Montreal Was Exactly What I Needed

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I’ve been back in Toronto for about two weeks now and every day it becomes more evident that I should have done this a long time ago. When I moved out to Montreal, I had all this hope that it was going to be this grand adventure and that I would build this exciting life in a new city, but in reality none of that happened.

I became severely depressed out there, and there were times when even mustering the willpower to perform basic household chores was all I could do, let alone be productive in my career. In retrospect, my decision to move out there was shortsighted. I didn’t think that I would miss anything about Toronto, and I thought that everything would be different. But the grass is always greener, as they say, and to me it certainly did seem that way. Montreal was like The Promised Land, and Toronto was just the same old same old. I needed to spread my wings and that was my way of doing it. Read the rest of this entry »

Freelance Writing Can Be A Good Side Hustle

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I’ve been making a big deal about changing careers because I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the freelance writing business and it’s future outlook, or lack thereof. The wheels are in motion to begin my ESL teaching career abroad, but for the moment I still have to uphold the responsibilities I have to my clients.

If you are one of my clients and you’re reading this blog you can rest assured that I would never leave you high and dry. When the time comes for me to finally move to China or Taiwan or Hong Kong, I will finish whatever assignments I have, and you will be given ample advance notice of my departure.

But it occurs to me that maybe this doesn’t truly have to be the end. Freelance writing, due to the mobility and flexibility that it presents, make it the perfect side hustle. Even if I just take a handful of assignments each month, it would still be a nice cash infusion in addition to my teaching work. It’s also worth mentioning that I would not have to pay taxes to the Canadian government for any money I earn abroad, so the work could effectively be tax-exempt.    Read the rest of this entry »

In Spite of Everything I Will Miss Montreal

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For almost 3 years I’ve lived in Montreal and now that the end is just over the horizon, I can’t help but look back on all that I’ve done and experienced here. Everywhere I go there are memories connected to the parks and streets. All the stores and alleyways that I used to haunt contain the ghosts of my past. It makes me sad to think that I have to leave this place when there are yet so many things that I could do here, and now that Spring is here the city is coming alive with an unmatchable  energy.

But still I must move on. I can’t get a job out here as a writer/media professional, so I’m stuck freelancing and I’ve made it clear that I really don’t want to do this anymore. I need to make some moves and change my career to something else more rewarding, and that something is teaching ESL. It’s a lonely existence being a freelance writer and living alone, and that is amplified even more when you live in a new city.

I remember the day I moved here. It rained cats & dogs in Toronto on the day I left, but by the time I was outside of the GTA and making my way down the 401, the rain stopped and the sky cleared and it was just me in the SUV filled with all the things that I could cram into it: my clothing, books, assorted kitchen stuff, various souvenirs and items for the home. It was a long and nerve-wracking drive, and when I arrived in Montreal I got lost trying to find my way through town to my apartment. I actually drove across the Cartier Bridge to Sherbrooke by accident, drove around and came back across the bridge, and then figured out where I was going thanks to my cell phone. I remember coming down Van Horne and passing Wilderton Plaza, the same plaza I have now shopped at so many times, thinking “I’m almost there.” My first night in Montreal, all I did was eat pizza and watch The Wire on my laptop because after a 6 hour drive I didn’t want to do much else.  Read the rest of this entry »