an outsider looking in…life back in Toronto…

...this is simply MY opinion and how I reacted to being back in Toronto after 5 months away, I am very lucky to live here and LOVE all of the opportunities doing so has granted me, but sometimes the things we love aren't necessarily the best for us... I apologise if I offend any Torontonians but bear in mind I do love this city, have loved living here the last 23 year - its just a bit of a culture shock coming back to it...

10 days, that’s how long I have been back in this country, 10 days and I cannot tell you how many times I have almost purchased a one way ticket out of here. I think going away the last five months I had hoped that I could come back to Toronto with a built up tolerance, appreciation or patience with this city…I have not. I really and truly don’t think I belong here, don’t get me wrong after living here 23 years I had made great friendships, have had great jobs, and great relationships but it has always simply been a place I live and never one I have been able to call home.

I left Nicaragua on Christmas Eve, coming from Playa Santa Rosa where we had spent two days in a villa on the Pacific and we drove into the Capital. After leaving my little jujube with my brother and his wife (they make a beautiful family don’t they?)  at the Intercontinental in Managua (my nephew’s first time in a bathtub – he splashed around like you wouldn’t believe) and I got on my flight home. After this they headed back to Surfing Turtle Lodge, where that night for Christmas a

2 m long Leatherback Turtle pulled up on shore to nest some eggs, this is a ginormous turtle and apparently the first time that one has been spotted on the Pacific Side – the boys took photos and documented before the biologists game, definitely check it out!

(http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=261019&id=512747762&fbid=480378902762)

Then I boarded my last flight of this chapter back to Canada.

All this being said, given how much I have seen I know now that I will leave, it is simply a matter of when so I do have somewhat of a filter on to the concrete jungle, though the rat race during the day time and over consumption I definitely have no patience for (just ask the man who came up to me at Yonge and Dundas Square begging for money while he was wearing a hat, scarf, winter jacket, shoes and gloves – I kind of lost it with him and went off about how he doesn’t appreciate the opportunity Canada provides anybody who is literate and how fortunate he is to have programs in place that still allow him to be begging while fully clothed) he really lost interest in me when I started going off about what poverty really looks like in third world countries… oh well just another Torontonian I guess I don’t relate to, needless to say he did not get my quarter.

As I try to get back to the routine that reality and working presents I am very happy I got to come home in time for Christmas and the New Year, I have celebrated holidays away before, but there is nothing quite as nice as Christmas Eve with the family all sitting around the dinner table (minus my older brother, his wife and my jujube Franco) and realizing how amazing it is to have a family that trusts me enough to take off into the world for months at a time without second guessing my choices or directions. That was three days in Windsor (I flew back from Nicaragua into Detroit – which is right across the river), from there my enjoyment and celebrations had to come to an end as I had to head to Toronto to return to work – 5 months of travel weren’t exactly budget friendly.

After Windsor I boarded a train back into the city – it was a very melancholy moment because there I am on the train watching as beautiful scenery and farms go by, truly a lovely picturesque winter setting…and then we pull into Union Station and I feel like all of the calm, tranquility and peace I had found within myself all of a sudden got pulled out from under me. If anybody has ever come into Union Station you will know it presents none of the welcoming or wonder that train stations like Mumbai, Budapest or New York offer, it is just dark dirty and everyone is somehow always wearing dark clothing..

Toronto as a city to visit is great, I would even stretch it to say that it is a great city to live in – IN THE SUMMER. Our winters are foggy, cold, windy and absolutely miserable and you consciously have to remind yourself that despite the day you’re having, the sun will rise again the next day. It has pockets and  neighbourhoods of beauty that exist like little bubbles in the city where everything is nice, maintained and you would almost think satisfaction in life is higher (i.e. Beaches, Liberty Village, Lawrence Park) these are areas all ridiculously out of my price range – especially as someone who hasn’t gotten a pay check since August so I am literally only exploring where my two feet will take me.

Since my return into the city, I have been lucky to have a great friend in Kathy, who being a traveller at heart, understood my need to get away and has lent out a room in her house to me while I figure out which direction or country my life will continue in. The beauty of this arrangement, not only having somebody kind enough to offer, is that she has a beautiful dog named Nelly who I get to spend my mornings with walking along the lakeshore and beach in the west end of the city. This is an area I am new to but offers excellent walks and views of the downtown core without the burden of people and really clear your head vs being downtown and always being far too busy to stop and think.

Haha all seriousness though, I think because I have already decided I will move overseas on New Years Eve I walked around the waterfront en route to a party and for the first time ever felt like a tourist in my own city. Our skyline is magnificent, the CN Tower is spectacular at night, and as a people we probably are some of the most polite and unnecessarily apologetic out there. I spent New Years Eve with friends I in hindsight would never have called my best friends, but at the same time are some of the most genuine and heart warming people I have ever encountered.


It is nice to come home, and despite the depression and culture shock (yes my culture shock experience was returning to Toronto, NOT any of the countries I visited) that sets in when you come down off of such an incredible high, is that there are some people who can always be relied on to make you smile.

I am not really sure what else to write, it’s sad to say Toronto doesn’t really inspire me to pour out my thoughts the way other places do. I think I have G.A.D, geographically affected depression, but only when I am in Toronto… sad but true… on a plus note I did get GLEE for xmas – YAY!

That is all I will write more, and something actually worth reading when I am a little bit more inspired – I think it’s time my Canon and I go on a date – images here can be inspiring … I hope?

Actually I forgot one of the happiest things about returning, Mr. Alexander Wittig sent roses to my parents home so that they would be here for my return…I met Al in Capetown and we had a heated debate over whether or not the tourism industry should be promoting tours to Bloemfontain, South Africa (it is the city of roses) – it put the biggest smile on my face and made me feel better about being home – just goes to show there are great people out there who will always

make you smile.

Now that is officially all

Xx

Happy 2011 Everyone

Lil Miss Planet (though currently lil miss anxious to leave seems more accurate)