At the outset of the pandemic, I found myself in a unique and frightening position. I was the furthest away from home I had ever been - 14,000km, in a small town at the southern tip of Africa. I had not set foot in Canada in nearly six months, nor had I seen any of my family or close friends since the previous September.
At first I was belligerent about staying in South Africa and waiting things out. It was only on Sunday, March 15th, the second time that the Prime Minister called for all Canadian residents to return from abroad, that my stubbornness broke. I immediately called my parents, shaking and in tears, and told them that I needed to come home.
The travel agent affiliated with my program swiftly found me a flight, and on Thursday I was on my way back to Toronto via Johannesburg and London. What I expected to be a return to normalcy after months of unfamiliarity was not to be. I was flying back to a world forever changed.
Up until that point, I had been seeking a job back in Toronto, interviewing remotely for a number of positions. Nothing panned out, but I thought I had more time, at least a month, before I would need to find work and continue my career.
Upon my return, I isolated up north at a family property. I was still focused on seeking a permanent position. I was shocked to find some lawyers were still hiring for their practices. Job postings were reduced, certainly, but through hidden networks I found some opportunities. Still nothing, and as the weeks dragged on so did a slow descent into depression.