Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trying to find work...

I just sent off my very first job application. Resume and Cover letter. Both tweaked to the format most commonly used here. I am told that most people don't find jobs in their own line of work too soon. In fact people wait for a year or two... sometimes more to actually work at the level that they had worked in their home countries. Often people have to do all sorts of jobs to survive. Work in retail, door-to-door selling, work in coffee shops and restaurants... so I don't know if anything will come off this but lets see. Most places want Canadian experience here. It does not matter what you did before. And many places will not hire you if you are not Canadian. It's true!!! A friend of mine got rejected 40 times before she could find a job and she's American. So... lets wait and see.
Oh just wanted to add here that when you come in as the wife of someone who is on a study/work permit you are allowed to work but you need to apply for an Initial Open Work Permit. Go to the Citizenship and Immigration site... here's the link. 
It is possible to apply for this permit along with your visa application and you should really so that you won't have to wait for it when you get here. Its an additional CAD 150. You may have to take any job you can get for starters but with the permit at least you can do that. We didn't know that we could apply from India and when I went on the site after I came here the only information I got was that I had to have a job offer letter to be able to apply! This really made it very difficult. When I called the customer care number I got an automated message that said the same thing. And the first time I called I did not know that in order to speak to a person you just had to dial 0! So I didn't. Wasted 2 weeks being really depressed and then found out about the 0 and called and go the information. That's another thing you need to remember. You press 0 and you get to speak to a person.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apartment hunting in Toronto

 I was hoping that by now we would be in our apartment... but that has not gone as I thought it would. Rentals in Toronto are high. Really high. If you're planning to come here check out the rents on viewit.ca
We looked up apartments online before we came and asked a friend to check them out. Looking online you don't always know what kind of area you're going to move in to. Especially if you're looking for budget housing. So if you know someone here run the apartments by them to check on locality and things. If they can go and check out the apartment for you physically that would be very good.

Once you get here you can look up Renters Guide, Find a Rental and other such free magazines that you can find in the news stands at bus stops and subway stations. You can also walk around in an area and you will find apartments for rent boards. This is usually better in an area with apartments rather than houses.

Somethings you need to know about renting here:
  • You need to have Credit History/ you need to be employed/ you need a co-signor who is a PR/Citizen. This again depends on the renter. Some places are ok to have a co-signor but others are very particular that you are employed and need a letter from the employer. 
  • You have to pay first and last rent. Two months rent in advance.
  • Apartments are rented on lease for a period of time, usually one year. If you want to leave before your lease ends you have to serve the notice period which will be specified in your contract. Sometimes if you are renting from a landlord rather than a rental company then you can work it out with the landlord. You will need to find a renter to take your apartment for the rest of the lease period. So that is possible. 
  • One place I went to actually asked me for a money order and another for full rent while applying! They wouldn't give me an application without paying. They said that if we were given the apartment it would be deducted from the rent or it would be returned if we were not going to take the apartment. I was not very comfortable with this. Other places did not have this clause so I preferred them. 
  • Oh... an interesting fact. Apartments here don't come with inbuilt lights in the living room or bedroom. Only the bathroom and the kitchen have lights. You will need to buy lamps to light up the rest of the rooms. 
  • You have to pay renters insurance so that is extra. 
  • Always check if hydro and utilities is extra or included in the rent. If it is extra you need to factor that in. It's better to have it included in the rent but that really depends on what your budget is. 
  • Apartments close to Downtown are more expensive. If you live farther away it will be cheaper but travel time is more. Toronto is a large city and people spend close to an hour to an hour and a half getting to work on the subway. So you need to see what works better for you. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Music

The great thing about Toronto is that you'll hear old music in stores, and restaurants, and markets. I love it! :) I was walking with my friend to No Frills today (its a large grocery chain that has lower food prices) and we were talking... just about living here and trying to make it and all of that and we passed by a hot dog stand and guess what's playing... "Once I was afraid ... I was petrified... " and I said, "That's my song! I will survive!" :) And then while I was shopping... Elvis... and he always makes me smile no matter what. And now I'm watching Mamma Mia and ABBA always makes me happy too. :) And the other day I heard "I'm Yours" ... and I said to myself... I won't hesitate no more...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thanksgiving

It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. It doesn't seem to be as a big a deal as it is in the US (like most things) but I think everyone is looking forward to long weekend. And there are turkeys and ham on sale.
I was thinking though that it might be a good time for me to just take some time and be thankful. I think it gets a little difficult when you're so highly stressed and worried about what you're going to do! But it has been a month since we've been here and there are many things to be thankful for.
  • I am thankful to be here! I honestly did not think we'd even make this far! :)
  • I am thankful for our friends here in Toronto who have welcomed us into their homes, fed us, taken care of us and support us.
  • We've been here a month and we've had a couple of illness episodes. But I'm thankful that they were not major and could be handled. 
  • I'm thankful that I have family who care for me and love me. 
  • I'm thankful that I am not alone in all this. That I my husband and I are doing this together. 
  • I'm thankful for friends who love us and pray for us. 
  • I'm thankful for the church I've been going to and for the pastor and the people who have been good to us. 
  • I'm thankful for the people at my table at Alpha. For their acceptance and their support.
  • I'm thankful for new friends who have been so wonderful. 
  • I'm thankful that I could apply for a work permit.
  • I'm thankful that we will have an apartment in the middle of this month. 
  • I'm thankful that I am learning to love God...and trust Him. 
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! :)

Is there anything too hard for the Lord?

So at Alpha yesterday the video was about "Why and How Should I Pray." When I first said to the pastor of the church that I was going to go to Alpha he said, "Now why do you have to go to Alpha?" I didn't really know what he meant 'coz I was not really aware of what Alpha was really. It was suggested to me and I was happy to get out of the house.
While the Alpha course is fairly basic and for people who are new to the faith, its been interesting for me to part of it. I enjoy listening to Nicky Gumbel. He's interesting and easy to listen to. And something will stick out from talk. Something that you need to hear. This week it was the sentence he ended his talk with, after he had talked about how a couple were separated for two or three years, both were not Christian at the time, one became a Christian and then the other too, and then they got back together. He then pulled out an old prayer diary he had from that time and ready aloud his prayer of thanks for what God had done in the couples life. And he said, "Is there anything to hard for the Lord?" And that's what stuck.
We're at a difficult time in our lives. So much uncertainty! And I used to complain about "uncertainty and no security" when we were paying rent and getting salaries. Now, with no apartment and no job, and not much savings left... it's all really really shaky. :) But I guess now is the time to decide where I want to put my feet. On the ground... which really I can't be sure about, or on God... who I am going to have to learn to be sure about. It's a big lesson to learn. Trust. And it doesn't come easy.