From the moment I stepped off the subway at Osgoode Station, leisurely rolling my suitcase across the streetcar tracks, I knew I’d love living in Toronto. It was a place I had visited as a child, and then again in my late adolescent years. When I graduated university, I applied to every editorial internship I could find in Toronto because “if I could make it in Toronto, I could make it anywhere,” or so was my mantra. Over the past two and a half years, Toronto has continued to surprise and enchant me. City life is less overwhelming than when I first arrived, but no less impressive. And it is with both excitement and apprehension that I say goodbye to this wonderful city.
Nick has accepted a job as a policy planner in his hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. Yes, that Christchurch. The one that was ravaged by two earthquakes, devastating the downtown core, claiming the lives of 185 people, and displacing thousands more from their homes and jobs. Even thinking about the move overseas has been emotional, and we haven’t started packing up our apartment. Not only is Christchurch so far from home, it will differ from what I’ve known in countless ways. Having lived and studied in Auckland, all of my friends are there. So yes, I’ll be closer to them, but still so far.
I recall my first visit to the Garden City in 2009, pre-earthquake. Almost immediately, I remarked how I could see myself living here, even settling down in this stunning city surrounded by ocean and mountains. Nick has often spoken about how he’d like to return, to help rebuild his parents’ home; a beautiful Victorian that will soon be torn down. His new job will allow him to influence Christchurch’s rebirth through public transport and accessibility. Having the foresight to envision a lively, vibrant community, Christchurch is projected to be a cycling city where people gather in the town centre. The New York Times even published an article about the many reasons to visit Christchurch, post-quake. I have no doubt that Christchurch will rise above the rubble like many great cities struck before it. Just look at San Francisco and New Orleans, both experienced revitalization and surges in tourism following devastating natural disasters.
There have been many incredible initiatives taking place in Christchurch, demonstrating the compassion and strength of its residents. In a world of war and turmoil, it’s important to acknowledge the small victories of a city’s rebirth and the humanity of its people. It invigorates my spirit to know that in times of need, communities step up in order to help one another heal and get back on their feet.