A year ago

367 days ago at this time, I was hugging my beautiful Toronto work friends goodbye. I remember feeling a happy fluttering in my belly, along with a strong urge to throw up. Walking away from my downtown office is when I actually internalized the fact that, for better or worse, I was finishing and beginning an adventure.

Screen shot that says "you registered on WordPress.com 1 year ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!"

This popped up on my phone on May 31, 2014. Thanks WordPress!

The night before, I had spent an hour hammering out my first blog post. Reading it brings so many feelings back into my head and heart. It was exhilarating to know we were finally going to give our dream lifestyle a shot. And horrifying to think we were leaving stability behind.

In the days that followed, I called our wonderful landlords (how I now admire their impeccable yard skills!) to tell them we were moving. I picked up dozens of regrettably empty boxes from the LCBO. And we ordered last suppers from our favourite delivery places — I miss you, Banjara Indian Cuisine.

Fast forward to now, when I’m often asked if the whole thing was worth it. It’s a tough question to answer.

Most days, I say yes. In this new life, I cook more, see JF more, read more, spend more time living en francais, see family more, and give back to causes that mean more to me. I also love working on our house, in our garden, in our little town.

But is our new life everything we expected? Of course not. I still overload my schedule. I haven’t properly broken in my new purple sneakers. My job is great, but short-term. Our red brick beast/house adds a whole new layer of busy. The hammock we pictured ourselves regularly lying in hasn’t even been installed. And there are Toronto people and things I miss ferociously.

After weighing both then and now, I’ve concluded that I’m closer to who and where I want to be than I was a year ago. I’ve also decided it’s important to have those someday dreams. But it’s equally important that I remember to enjoy the lumpy, potholed (or these days, mosquito-ridden) road I’m on. At the very least, I think I’m headed in the right direction.

(Missing) The big smog

My country bumpkin family often refers to Toronto as “the big smog.” I usually do it in a teasing, almost loving way, like I’m poking fun at an old friend. Besides, it’s only fair. We get “the sticks,” “the boonies” and “the backwater.”

But today — as I chewed some particularly sad and rubbery wakame salad at Midland’s one sushi restaurant — I found myself pining over some of Toronto’s finer points. So I wrote a list of things I miss about the city:

  • JF
  • People — friends, colleagues, my fellow Cantores choristers, and the Rebelo family
  • Matt Galloway
  • Good sushi
  • Good Any Indian food
  • The plethora of job postings with decent wages
  • Diversity
  • Solomon’s seal tea (Yishey, why did you get me hooked on that shit?)
  • The Toronto Blue Jays
  • The St. Lawrence Market
  • Pride
  • Regularly discovering new corners and nooks
  • Driving through yellow lights
  • The Grid
  • Anonymity
  • Properly stocked LCBOs
  • Social media that actually keeps up with local news
  • Concerts
  • Starbucks
I think I took this at Nuit Blanche 2012.

I think I took this at Nuit Blanche 2012.

Then, I promptly built a list of things I don’t miss a mite:

  • Looking nice all the time
  • Congestion
  • The TTC
  • Noise
  • Warmer temperatures, with sticky air and half-assed breezes
  • The smell of garbage day
  • The pace of everything (but driving and social media)
  • Crowds
  • Feeling totally disconnected from the people around me
  • Biking accidents
  • Yorkdale mall
  • House prices
  • Eating at restaurants almost daily
  • Rob Ford
  • Parking downtown
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Crazy rent prices
  • Getting lost in the PATH
  • The cost of food at farmer’s markets

Don’t worry, I’m not second guessing my choice. Just re-acquainting myself with what I’ve consciously decided to leave behind. A bittersweet exercise.