February 8, 2007

Bulk view

Okay! I’ve got it!

  1. Find boxes.
  2. Pack one backpack of clothes to take to NY.
  3. Pack one suitcase of clothes that I need if treating GH as a hostel.
  4. Pack everything else into boxes.
  5. Move boxes into Graduate House temporary storage (ideal), the other room (2nd option), or someone’s basement (may require huge favor)
  6. Shop around for condo rentals. Don’t panic; we have good backup plans.
  7. Move. Will definitely require huge favor.
  8. Throw house-warming party. Get new plates.

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New plan

Wow, when my life decides to go somewhere, it moves *really* quickly!

It seems more complicated than it is, but I *might* be able to do
something tricky if I can swing the very careful timing. It’ll be more
convenient than moving twice in a month, for sure.

I need a short-term storage company, some boxes, and a mover or a
really big favor. I can do this. I can make this happen.

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I have decided to stay in Toronto for the next few years. I want to
get used to living somewhere. I’ve packed up and lived in a strange
country—twice. Now I want to try becoming a pillar of the community.

Now that I’ve decided to stick around, I can consider long-term
housing. I passed by the student centre for off-campus housing. I was
pleased to see that the advertised locations were generally cheaper
than those advertised in newspapers. I’m looking forward to taking
advantage of these great resources!

The person at the student centre said that April and May are when all
the boards are full. If I wait until then, I’m sure to have much more
choice. On the other hand, I can start seriously looking soon (after
my NY trip!), but only take a place if it’s seriously stellar.

I think I’ll slowly inch my way up the renting ladder. I’ll start with
a budget of $800-1000, and I’ll give myself a raise in a year (which
is just about the right timing anyway). The cost of moving shouldn’t
be too high, especially as I’ll be moving around in the same city.

What’s the immediate cost? Visiting places takes time. It’s good
practice for interviewing people, though. I can use it as an excuse to
explore neighborhoods, too. High-rises are better than houses for
this, because if I find something wonderful that I’m not ready to move
into yet, I can bookmark it and have a reasonable chance of getting a

Also, condominium rentals are more expensive than house rentals, but
they might also be managed better because the landlords have more
experience. There will be less negotiation, but that’s okay—at least
it’s pretty clear. I like the idea of 24h security and having control
over the entire unit instead of sharing a house with someone else, and
the condominium rules make it easier to deal with neighbors. Also, if
I give parties or have people over, then amenities might be nice.
Downside? The block design might be sad, and I won’t have as much
control over the interior as I’d like—but then again, I’m not
planning to do any renovations this soon anyway.

Clearly my inner self is keen on going for a medium- or high-rise for
now. I’ll ask about Graduate House’s moving-out policy. Then I’ll
start a short-term project: apartment-hunting. Two weeks for
information-gathering, two weeks for looking at places. If Graduate
House will let me give a month’s notice and still be flexible about
it, then I’ll probably be out by April 1. I’ve already paid for
February rent, and my deposit can cover March’s rent. I can actually
move out earlier if I’m willing to forfeit the deposit, but what’s
another month? It will fly by. So now is actually the right time for
me to be looking for these things.

A quick search of the rental listings shows that I can stay within the
the downtown rectangle of Bloor/King-Spadina/Yonge given my budget, so
I don’t need to compromise on location. I’m drawn to hardwood floors
and big windows, and I would love to have a bedroom window with plenty
of sunlight (only way to get out of bed!). I don’t smoke, so a balcony
or patio would be useful for me only if it’s large enough to have the
occasional outdoor meal. A studio or 1-bedroom would be ideal because
it’s easier to manage parties if I can keep an area separate. I’ll
take a furnished suite only if I can change the furniture gradually.

Right. I should jump and trust that there’ll be someplace to catch me.
I’ll plan to move out mid-March, so there’s time for me to settle in
or hit the panic button. Doing the move now instead of delaying until
graduation is good, actually, as that means I’m only making one major
life change at a time (and my postal address will be good during my
job search and everything!).

Yes, life is good when you have a plan…

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The paperwork is easy!

I passed by the International Student Centre to ask about work
permits, and I’m thrilled to report that the process of hiring me will
be *really* easy for Canadian companies.

Because there’s a special category of work permits for international
graduate students (how convenient!), Canadian companies can treat me
like any other Canadian when hiring. They don’t have to do an
extensive job search or be of a certain size. They just have to decide
what they want me to do.

The permit allows me to work in Canada for one year. Applying for a
proper work permit after that should take me around four months. The
six-month performance review is a good time to get started on that
paperwork. The second work permit will allow me to work for an
additional two years. When I have more work experience, I’ll easily
qualify for a skilled worker visa, which will let me become a
permanent resident. The government will credit a maximum of one year
from non-permanent residents, so after two more years of permanent
residency, I’ll be able to apply for citizenship.

So I’ll probably complete the process four years from now: 2011. I
will be 27 years old, maybe 28. Yes, that sounds like a good plan.
It’ll open up more opportunities for me, and I can use those
opportunities to help others.

I still love the Philippines, and I’m glad that I can become a dual
citizen instead of giving up my Filipino citizenship. I’m looking
forward to being one of the examples of people who manage to bridge
both worlds.

My next step is to apply for an off-campus work permit so that I can
start work before I graduate. This will be handy after I finish my
thesis, because I can do a maximum of 20 hours of work while waiting
for the rest of the university paperwork to clear. By June I need to
have a chosen job offer firmly in my pocket.

Hmm. I woke up my network a little early, then, but that’s okay. I’m
the kind of person job ads are rarely written for. It’s early in the
year. People can start planning for me. That way, when I’m ready, they
can create a position if they don’t already have one!

There’ll be no lack of things I can do in Toronto. The only thing is
to find the best fit: the best fit for the company, and the best fit
for me. I know I can do the technical stuff. I want to learn more
about the people side of things: customer relations, public relations,
sales, marketing, and even management. I can learn new technologies
and tools through experimentation and from documentation (and
source!), but people skills are the ones that will really make me
wildly successful. =)

Life is good.

Competition and cooperation

JJ Ferro pointed out this inspiring story of how technology can make a
difference and how competitions can lead to cooperation.

Challenge finalists team up to aid typhoon victims
One of the great benefits of participation in the Challenge is the
sense of community and mutual trust that develops among the finalists
especially. That sense of belonging is the basis of a collaboration
between two of the 2006 finalists

When a typhoon hit the Philippine province of Bicol in early December
2006, challenge finalist Jay Vincent Plaza of HotCity Wireless wanted
to help, but, while he knew how to deploy wireless networks to replace
the damaged telecommunications infrastructure, he needed tools to
connect donors, volunteers and victims to solve the many problems that
had arisen.

As a finalist in the 2006 Awards Jay remembered another finalist, a
disaster response project from the Health category that had an
application for exactly that purpose.

That’s the best story I’ve ever heard about competition. =)

E-Mail from Jj Ferro

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