While we are waiting for our flight date, we started looking for a temporary home. Having close to zero relatives in Canada made this activity a little bit harder since we basically have to do it on our own. Our main concern in looking for a house is proximity to the airport since we will be arriving in Canada at 9.30PM and will be finished with the immigration process by around 12mn. Aside from the location, we also considered the proximity to the government offices, public transportation system and proximity to supermarkets.
Searching google will give you a lot of results such as units advertised on kijiji, roomorama and airbnb. It will be hard to reserve and pay the down payment for the listings in kijiji if you are not in Canada. Room rates as well as the booking fee in roomarama are too expensive so we opted to use AirBNB because of their affordable prices, more choices and the security they provide to both the renter and the host in terms of payment and cancellation.
I’ve been living in Singapore for almost a year now and quite frankly, room rates here are also very expensive. I rent a common room including utilities for SGD 900 which roughly amounts to Php 29,000 a month and looking at the rates in AirBNB (even in kijiji) it’s almost the same for a room.
We started searching for rooms at CAD 900. Although it yielded great results, a room seems not enough for a family of three. So we upped the search from CAD 1200 to 1500 and filtered the search as entire apartment. The result was overwhelming, although quite a few passed our standards. The hardest part is to choose. Renting an entire apartment at CAD 1500 is actually tough unless it’s a basement apartment, so yeah, we’ll be renting a basement apartment for 28 days.
We started trimming down the list into three. We communicated to the three hosts through the AirBNB messaging facility, inquiring about the location and bringing up our criteria in the discussion. Note that you can also bargain for discounts through a special offer, but only if the host agrees (There are other ways to get discounts in AirBNB, try searching the web). Two of the hosts actually gave us a discount but we ended up with the host which we feel can help us (though he didn’t give us a discount) with our first month in Canada. He was also an immigrant in Canada and promised to help us based on his experience. The apartment is quite neat. It has its own entrance, bathroom, queen-sized bed, living room and kitchen. It basically has all that we need to live comfortably for 28 days.
Then there’s this thought of living in someone else’s basement far away from home where you used to have your own car and condominium. The thought of throwing everything away for a chance of a better life in the future, even if you have to start again from zero. I know this feeling will either get worse or better depending on our economic condition after a few days or months. I will be going there without a job, with only a handful amount of cash that will last for six months may be less depending on our needs. I haven’t been thinking about these thoughts up until now. Going back to the reason (My child/children’s future) why we are doing this in the first place somehow gives me the excitement and the reason to push through.
As per our future host, “This (Canada) is a good country for hard working people” and that’s another motivation to make this life changing journey a success story.