My first week in the city has been an awesome life experience.
Monday morning rolled around with Kelly getting me up and ready for work. This was the start of a new chapter for us.
What do you worry about the first day of a new job?
I did not have concerns about my job, rather concerns that the environment would be suitable to my special needs. I know I will rock my job… It is my passion, talent, and I'm not afraid to work my ass off. My biggest concern was whether I could go to the bathroom independently. Using a new bathroom, going through this basic routine in a new environment is about as high risk as you get being a crip. I have a love for dry pants. To prepare for this, I started reducing my fluid intake on Sunday night. I only drank 5 ounces of water between Sunday at 8 PM until I went to the washroom my first time at work. Once I went to the washroom in the new environment for first time… I drank as if I just came back from a month long journey in the desert. These are the type of details I have to worry about when making a job change. Who will help me with my coat? Who will help me getting my water glass refilled?
Thanks to a good friend (my work sister) she made sure that the environment was going to be accommodating as possible. All the specific details that most people have to worry about were taken care of. She put the fear of god into building management to ensure all my accessibility needs were met. With this taken care of… I could focus on the task at hand… Just doing my job.
On Wednesday, for the first time in my life, I was able to get to work (6 KM) independently to the office. I have accomplished a lot during my life, but this was truly one of the biggest life events I will cherish. For as long as I can remember I have been a slave to depend on people bring me places. In Toronto, I've experienced of freedom that I did not think was possible.. I'm able to get anywhere in the city (wherever the subway goes) completely on my own. I have trouble navigating the swipe card for my subway pass, but there are always people there to help me swipe the card to get through to the train.People don't think the subway is glamorous...but I feel like a star.
On Thursday, my brother-in-law invited me to attend the Raptors game in his company's executive suite. I was able to travel from work to the ACC completely on my own. Nobody had to pick me up… I can just get there on my own. Although the raptors did not win the game… I was a winner! The winner of independence.
Moving cities meant that I had to say goodbye to my current support workers and begin hiring a new staff in Toronto. We have had for interviews for people within this week. Our strategy is that we will hire all of them and said the weakest amongst them. Kelly has done an awesome job in training as we onboard them. Hopefully, in the next month, life will return to a new normal.
My wife has been phenomenally supportive from orchestrating our big move in 5 weeks (3 weeks with me out of country for work) and providing me love/support/care during this transition before she resumes her career. I love her with everything I have.
People Don't Always Suck
The common thread in this first week of living in Toronto was the awesomeness of people. The news tends to highlight all of all the horrible and terrible things that people are and do. We seldom hear about how awesome people can be. This week was awesome because of all the support from my wife, family, former colleagues, and new colleagues.
New colleagues quickly began helping me with my coat in the morning in the evening. These new colleagues were checking in to make sure everything was okay.
Change is hard for everyone. I have to be more concerned about basic needs than most. However, it doesn't mean that I should not embrace change and move forward. I can let the fear of change relating to my basic needs hold me back...or I can have the courage to trust that I can be resilient within the community of awesome people to move forward.
I read somewhere that a community can be measured by how they treat their members. So far, in the first week, I am in an awesome community.
Stay tuned, as the journey continues.