I cannot believe it’s almost been two years since we first started to stay home due to COVID-19. For the first year, the boyfriend and I really just stayed home and tried to survive. We got kind of fearful of the outside world and at one point, we even stopped leaving the house to buy groceries. We were super lucky to both have careers that allowed us to fully work from home. This year was a little different though—but for good reasons.
The beginning of 2021 started with me switching teams at work and getting a promotion. I had worked on Rainbow Six Siege for a little more than two years come March 2021 when I then moved over to bring my skills to Assassin’s Creed. I loved my Siege team so it was a hard transition, but the Assassin’s Creed team was so welcoming. They let me speak for the team for E3 and I also got to get involved with some pretty exciting plans for the future of the franchise.
I think one thing that the pandemic really made clear to me was how much I did want to be closer to family again. Moving to Montreal was a big decision and I won’t ever regret having gone. But with my priorities coming into better light during COVID, I did jump at an opportunity to come back. So here I am ending off 2021 back in my home city of Vancouver!
I didn’t think I’d be moving projects during the pandemic, much less move to an entirely new company while uprooting my life across the country once again. I’m happy to now be at Respawn Vancouver, working on Apex Legends! Not going to lie though—if I thought onboarding to a new team at Ubisoft was hard, onboarding to a new company entirely was much harder. I was hit in the face the first week I started by the fact my hiring manager was leaving. It was his last week as I began my first. The rest of the Apex team really did try to make my onboarding as painless as possible, so I’m super grateful for that. I’m excited for what the future will hold for me at Respawn!
^ Us splurging for our anniversary, but also eating at our favorite restaurant in Montreal one last time before we moved!
I did get a pretty sweet relocation package from EA/Respawn which helped ease some of my moving woes. In Montreal, the boyfriend and I were told we wouldn’t even have to pack things in our apartment. Basically, we had a packing and moving company come over a few days before we were to fly back to Vancouver. The packers came early in the morning on October 15th at around 8:30AM. They wrapped up and put every single thing we owned into boxes. The movers then came later in the day to load all our furniture and belongings into a truck. We had a combined total of 100 furniture/boxes that was shipped across the country. I don’t know what we would’ve done if we had to get rid of all our belongings or organize for the move ourselves!
Another huge thing I did with the boyfriend was we purchased our first home together. As we moved across the country, we knew we wanted to purchase our own place. But knowing we were moving back to Vancouver, our choices were going to be quite limited. We had been saving money for a few years now, but saving money from a Montreal salary for a Vancouver property was always going to be tough.
We looked at quite a few different properties, getting our hopes up each time. But the pickings were so slim in Vancouver. I know coworkers who have purchased entire apartments in Montreal for around $300K. For about $450K, you could’ve gotten a 4 bedroom, 2 story house off the island. In Vancouver, we were trying to look for nice sub $900K apartments. We knew we wanted 2 bedrooms, and hopefully a den since we’d both work from home. And oh boy was that hard.
There was a promising new apartment complex for example, but when we got there, we realized the view was literally looking directly at a recycle/garbage depot. The back lane was littered with trash and we knew that it was probably like that year-round. It probably smelled pretty bad in summer too. We visited other apartments that were simply in very old buildings. They weren’t necessarily terrible, but they weren’t quite what we were looking for.
It soon became clear that within our budget, we probably won’t be able to get something in Vancouver. It was strange realizing we wouldn’t be living in Vancouver. We did end up finding a condo that we quite liked in Burnaby! Hopefully, we’ll be able to buy a car soon because it’s definitely less convenient getting around, but I guess we’ll wait to see how our mortgage payments go first! Can’t believe we’re now indebted to a bank for 25 years :’ ) But I am super excited we have our own place now!
A surprise that hit me in December was getting into the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for gaming. I was notified a few months back that I was nominated, and I remember thinking there was no way I’d make it through the judging panel alongside other candidates. But I got my boyfriend to take some photos of me, and I submitted what they requested of me. There was no heads up on me getting through any rounds or anything. On December 1st, I simply got an email from Forbes(that I initially thought was spam) and many congratulations from folks around me on making the list. It was surreal. And I think to this day I feel I’m not deserving.
I’m grateful that the boyfriend and I were able to steer our lives in a direction we’re more happy with during the pandemic. It was stressful, but our network of friends and family made it much easier. I’m elated that I’m able to type this out at my condo and can invite my sister and her boyfriend over to stay with us during the holidays!