TORONTO â€” Marilyn Zsiros sat alone Friday in her rented Toronto apartment, hundreds of kilometres away from her home state of Pennsylvania, refusing to turn on the television to watch Donald Trump become the new president of the United States.
The 80-year-old American arrived in the city late last month to explore the possibility of obtaining Canadian citizenship. She said she left her home in the Pittsburgh area because she was “too disgusted” to be around anyone who voted for Trump, including her brother and some of her bridge-playing friends.
“I just don’t want to be around those people who could vote for somebody who is such a misogynist, racist, who’s unethical and immoral and a bully,” she said in an interview.
“I am a retired school teacher and guidance counsellor and preached anti-bullying my whole career and now to see somebody become president by doing that â€” I don’t know what to say.”
She had hoped Canadian television would be a respite from the wall-to-wall coverage of Trump’s inauguration, but that didn’t happen.
“I’m depressed,” she said. “I think I’ll just read a good book today.”
Zsiros said she’s been “testing out” what life would be like in Toronto, staying in a Kensington Market apartment for a month, taking in the theatre and other cultural events around the city.
On Wednesday afternoon, she went to a seminar hosted by Moodys Gartner Tax Law about the process of renouncing U.S. citizenship.
About 150 people attended and when asked if they were there to renounce because of Trump, Zsiros was the only one to raise a hand.
“I was surprised I was the only person there because of him,” she said. “I guess my goal was to talk to some other people and relate to them.”
But the process to renounce her U.S. citizenship seems so complicated that she’s not sure what she’ll do.
“It is pretty daunting at this age,” Zsiros said. “I don’t have to work or get a job or anything, so I may just come here and rent a place and stay here rather than changing citizenship.”
She has joined a friendly bridge group where she meets with kind, like-minded people wherever she goes in Toronto.
Zsiros, an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election campaign, said she’s taught at U.S. Department of Defense schools overseas and has spent much of her career overseas.
“I’ve always felt proud of my country until now and now I’m just embarrassed and ashamed,” she said.
“My friends overseas are asking, what happened? And I’m asking myself that same question.”
In 10 days, she’s off to Costa Rica for a few weeks, another country she is thinking about moving to. After her trip to the Central American country, she’ll return to Pennsylvania.
“Then I will have to make some serious decisions about my life.”
Liam Casey, The Canadian Press