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The famed American Pop Artist Andy Warhol once said “the idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.” His words ring in my ears as I face into my move across the vast Atlantic Ocean.

You see, I have planned this trip a long time. In fact, I think I have been planning this trip subconsciously since the summer of 2005. That’s right, you read that correct, you didn’t just imagine that I wrote I have planned to move to Canada for almost a decade.

Alright, I haven’t obsessed about the move since then but I have worked towards arriving on Canadian soil once more. Back in 2005 three friends and I back-packed/partied our way across that vast country and then back again. It was an experience that got under my skin, like an adventurous itch that won’t be satisfied until I returned. And so my planning began.

In all honesty I have only really put the wheels in motion since 2012 but even still that’s over two years of planning to emigrate from Ireland. Since then I have finished a Master’s degree, been in work then out of work and then back in work again. Nothing steady. It’s the yoyo period of my life.

While this has happened I went through the process of securing a two-year working visa. Then it began. It became real. Now what?

Planning to leave Ireland is turning into a slightly bizarre experience for me. It’s a cocktail of emotions all battling to gain top billing. Like Mr Warhol said, the wait is exciting. Like waiting for a special party or Christmas when you were a child. But then the closer it gets something changes inside you. Well it changed in me.

I plan on landing in Canada this August. That’s less than six months away, or roughly 22 weeks. That might seem like a lot of time but remember this has been in the back of my mind since 2005 and effectively took over since 2012. Six months! The excitement of waiting has been replaced by what feels like endless hours of planning and research. It’s that necessary evil that every emigrant has gone through at some stage of his or her move.

Of course the main issue I battled with was where to go. Early in the process Vancouver was winning the race – it was really a one-horse race for quite a while – then that cruel mistress money became an issue. Having already pitched up in BC I know that it is a pricey town, albeit a cracking one, but right now it’s just not going to happen. Then there was Toronto. It ticked so many boxes that I figured I might need to go looking for more boxes. It has a huge media market, it is a sports-mad city and the public transport is first class. Considering I wish to work as a journalist – most likely in sport – and how living in the city would negate the extra expense of having a car, Toronto was looking like ‘home’.

*Drum-roll Please*

However, I am moving to Saskatoon in the province of Saskatchewan. Bet you didn’t see that one coming? Heck, even I didn’t see that one coming. I am still unsure why, but it is something I will explain as this blog builds up to my departure.

The closer the big metal bird gets to flying west the more the romantic picture of life in the new world in my head becomes more twisted with the realism of what leaving home actually means. It’s the silly little things like hearing your dog bark or going to watch a match with friends. Or finding out about a family event that is coming up, one that you might feel slightly indifferent about but will still go to and have a laugh. These things happen all the time and always will, even when you are away. The point is you are away.

People often say to me the grass is always greener on the blah blah . . .  I counter by explaining that the grass in Saskatoon is under snow for 100 days or more a year anyway. A classic sidestep on the issue. It might be true. It might just be like many old proverbs, it might be just words. I’d prefer to examine that grass with my own eyes. I promise to report what I find.

The University of Saskatchewan campus in winter
The grass is always greener . . . what grass? Students at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon brave the winter.

What’s the alternative? Stay? But there is no steady work that will support me (I don’t consider the outrageous Jobbridge experiment as legitimate work). The Mexican revolutionist Emiliano Zapata famously once said “I(d) rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” That might be a touch dramatic but it’s the dialogue that makes the move slightly easier for me. I feel the need to justify emigration. I often wonder is that a trait that is common amongst Irish people alone?

So this is my blog about moving to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I will explain about the planning process of moving to Saskatoon, a place that is currently -26°C degrees on my weather app. A place that feels a million miles away as I write this with the noise of my father cutting the grass piercing my train of thought. A place where I will be in less than six months.

The excitement of waiting has moved swiftly to the reality of planning. I wonder what Andy Warhol would have to say about that?


Read more: Living in Saskatoon

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