Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

The Post-Vacation Blahs Continue

19 February 06

The weather has been great for the past few days. Blue skies, cool breezes, sun – actual sun, not a glowing mass of clouds. Maybe spring is not too far away. The airplanes are actually in the sky flying for a change, not parked on the apron covered up to protect them from the cold.

Speaking of cold, we have had close to zero snow. I’m not sure what is normal around here, but some of the instructors who were here last year said that there was a lot of snow and ice on the ground the whole winter. I’m not complaining, it is much easier to ride a bicycle on pavement, but I got used to a very snowy winter living in Toronto. I’ve heard from friends there that Toronto is also having a very mild winter.

On very sunny days, I feel real nostalgia for Toronto. Toronto is a great city on a mild winter day when it is super-sunny. There is no better place to be than on Ideal Cafe’s patio soaking up some vitamin D, sipping the best coffee in Toronto, if not North America, listening to the conversations of all the artistic folk who are regulars.  Ideal Cafe is located about a block from where we lived, on a quiet street of Kensington Market. The owner travelled to Central America to buy coffee beans from the farmers and brought it back to roast himself in the shop. That is the sort of thing I miss a lot. You are not going to find any little shops in Shijiazhuang selling organic artesan bread or gourmet cheese and fresh croissants. You won’t find organic-anything! I certainly don’t need those kinds of foods to survive, but I do get a little bit paranoid when I think of the pollutants and toxins present in the soil and food here.

On a different note, the flight instructor numbers are really growing around here. When we first arrived, there were about 15 of us, now there are more than 50, with a group of at least 10 arriving this past week alone.


My Send Off – Toronto Style

29 August 05

Toronto said goodbye to me by stealing my bicycle out of my own back yard, during the 1 minute I left it outside. I was planning on shipping the bike to Texas, so I suppose this saved me at least $100. (Although that is what I could’ve sold it for..I paid 5 times that.)

I am very sad. I really loved that bike. It was big & blue with a giant black basket on the back. A little bit Granny, but it was great for getting groceries.

On the bright side, I spent the evening on Kensington Avenue, listening to great music and eating delicious organic ice cream. Every other Sunday in August, the streets of Kensington Market are closed to cars and it comes alive with music, street food, street performers. I will miss the market with all of it’s crazy characters and great food & atmosphere.

Scary and Exciting

22 July 05

A few weeks ago DH (henceforth DH to mean Dear Hubby) applied for a job in China, more or less on a whim. I thought, oh, that’s cool and sort of forgot about it. He got replies right away and before I knew it, moving to China seemed like a plausible thing.

China?! I don’t know very much about China, and in fact, I never was all that interested. But this has happened before. I never had much interest in the Spanish language or culture, and then DH came along. Now I am fluent in Spanish and have lived in Central America and Spain. Circumstances like these just sort of pop up for me!

So I am embracing the idea. I love learning languages, and I love to travel. I am practically a gypsy. China will just be one more adventure. I’ve been to the library and checked out everything they had at my branch on China. Tour guides, travel-logues, culture books and language tapes. Ni Hao!

I’ve also learned that I can teach English in China fairly easily. I’ve already contacted two schools and they are both interested in me. I’m nervous about that because I’ve never actually taught English before.

Leaving Toronto will be hard, and that suprises me. I’ve always maintained the idea that I am not attached to any one place, but I have really made a comfortable little “nest” here in Toronto.

I love my century old house. I love the squirrels that play on my back porch. I love Kensington Market. I love the bohemia of my neighborhood and neighbors. I love the “I Deal Coffeshop” where you can get the best espresso on the planet. I love “Il Gatto Nero” pizza place. I love the “Alchemy Bakery” and their fabulous baguettes and lavender shortbread cookies. I love “Omnivore Cafe’s” strawberry mint lemonade that comes in biodegradable plastic cups. I love the Kensington Avenue vintage clothing stores and “Tutti Frutti Organic Health Food Store.” Maybe I am getting too comfortable. Maybe I love it all too much. Besides, there will be plenty to explore in China.