Canada has been filled with so many unexpected surprises.
(I should have known that when I took the plunge three years ago, huh?)
These surprise opportunities have provided the most compelling reasons for remaining in Canada post-graduation. One in particular deserves some explanation and extra gratitude as it gave me so much more than a roof over my head and a job.
In September 2014, just a few weeks free of my final graduate school work, I was seeking my next step. With Mom and Dad moved even further across the globe, going “home” to Texas no longer felt like a clear choice or back-up. The thought of starting over Stateside appealed to me, but I again felt no clear call telling me where I should go. The thought of journeying further abroad out of English-speaking North America excited me, but the only signs I heard pointed toward staying put longer in Toronto.
With no job prospects in my career area or even just not in minimum wage retail sales, I needed a more tangible reason to stay.
And that’s when I received the job posting from St Stephen-in-the-Field’s priest Mother Maggie. Two single moms were seeking a roommate on behalf of their young adult daughters. Not just any roommate, but a “Friendly Housemate” who would mentor two women with intellectual disabilities as they transitioned into independent living for the first time. In exchange for setting up the house, agreeing to and enforcing some ground rules, and offering support, guidance, and role-modeling of safe, independent living, I would have a place to live for at least a year.
I lived at “KK” house with Krystal and Karen for a year and a half.
Although I had no previous professional experience working with adults with disabilities, something clicked when I interviewed with the moms and then their daughters. I thought up roommate agreements, plans for how to organize our schedules, and ways to bond over Friday night Glee watching parties and suddenly on Halloween 2014 I found myself carting my suitcases and clothes over to the new house.