3 months ago tonight I arrived in Toronto alone. It was a beautiful, hot, summer evening. Looking back now, that night seems somewhat surreal. I see the Toronto streets I walked to find a supermarket, my white hotel room, the music outside on Dundas Square awaking me at 9pm. Tonight, it was dark and cold as I left work at 5pm, with a light smattering of snowflakes and I sat at my kitchen table, chatted to my housemate, drank wine and laughed.
3 months is a short time. It is summer holidays in Ireland for most secondary students. It is a probationary period in a new job. It is a season. I’ve seen a lot and done a lot in 3 months. From Casa Loma to the Niagara Whirlpool, the Museum of Civilisation to Banff’s National Museum, hot chocolate on Rue St. Denis to vegan dark chocolate tart in Wild Flour, it has been a journey I didn’t know I had in me. I have loved more and hugged less.
And the people, the wonderful and strange people I have met; the kind lady on the train bound for Ottawa, the customer who lived through communism in what is now the Czech Republic, the older couple who bought gifts for their grandkids gushing a love usually reserved for teenagers, the anthropologist-becoming-a-nurse I shared a dorm with, the Australians of Banff, the 8-year-old girl who told her aunt I was nice, my Runclub, my yoga instructors, the 2 boys who sat beside me on a seven hour flight while I went from smiling excitedly to crying recklessly.
I’ve been down to the banks of Niagara and to the top of Sulphur and am looking towards skiing the Rockies. I’ve run my fastest ever. I’ve missed 2 weddings, a graduation and a first day at school but I got letters, photographs and a Skype account. I dressed up for Halloween for the first time as an adult. I made new friends and, fingers crossed have held tightly to the ones across the Atlantic. I have written. A lot. I have met my second cousin and my best friend’s brother-in-law. I’ve smiled and laughed and cried. Once, I got bored.
Looking forward, there are a few new friends moving on that I will have to say goodbye to. I will learn to ski. I have to finish the novel-writing challenge in 18 days and I am 4000 words behind. I need to learn how to do returns and shipping at work. I also really want to do a handstand. I get to ice skate outside. I have only ever skated with the young people I worked with before, and now I have to learn to do it without them. I will celebrate Christmas in Canada with my heart in Corcreggan. There’s a lot to do.
3 months was what I promised I would give Canada. If I didn’t like it, I could go home, after 3 months. I guess I don’t hate it. Canada is no longer on probation. Let’s raise a glass for the next 3 and wish for love, laughs and learning!