At this point, I’ve been living in Kitchener and working for PostRank for close to half a year.
I’ve got my own apartment just a short walk away from the office, which makes me happy because I get to experience living by myself for a while and because I don’t have 3+ hours of my weekdays being eaten up by transit. A great deal of my time has been reclaimed and I think I’ve been putting at least some of it to good use. This apartment also came with a cat. The previous tenant didn’t want her to have to move. I find his logic highly suspect now but I’ve always wanted to own a cat anyway and now I do. She’s adorable and unlike her previous owner, I fully intend to take her with me wherever I should end up next.
The job is awesome. I don’t think I can say it often enough. These last six months have been filled with new things to learn and new challenges to tackle, all in a field that I find infinitely more interesting than anything I’ve done before. I sometimes forget that I get paid to do this. I feel like I’ve truly progressed as a developer and I still see a long road ahead.
But that’s not to say it has been all sunshine and rainbows, either. I thought I’d have an easy time making friends in the new city, with University of Waterloo’s world-renowned Computer Science programme drawing geeks like flies to honey. What I failed to realize is that means nothing if I never have opportunities to interact with those people at all. Kitchener-Waterloo has a student bubble and I’m very clearly outside of it.
Being a smaller city, there also aren’t as many established meetup groups for my various geeky interests in town. Some of my hobbies that were previously social outlets have become not so because I can’t find groups that engage in them and don’t have the connections to effectively bootstrap my own. For example, as far as I can tell there is no Japanese culture or language exchange group in KW. Absolutely none. My main source of Japanese speaking practice and one of my social outlets is simply gone. I’d create my own group if I knew some native Japanese speakers in KW but I don’t — if I did I’d have no need for such a group in the first place!
I haven’t yet established a circle of friends here like I had in Toronto and I miss so many people that I used to hang out with there. My once-a-month trip back to TO for Last Friday Karaoke and to visit my family is not nearly enough but without a car or license to drive one, being in Toronto more often than that simply isn’t practical. But I need to give it time. Almost my entire life has been spent in Toronto or the GTA; I can’t reasonably expect to rebuild everything in six months.
Overall this move has been worth it. This is an important step in my career and personal development. The trials I face now will teach me valuable lessons and the rest of my life will be so much richer for it.