Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

3 months November 12, 2011

Filed under: Travel — wakingupincanada @ 9:36 pm
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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!

 

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The Boarding Gate October 28, 2011

Filed under: Travel — wakingupincanada @ 12:30 pm
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I like it when I grab the conversations of strangers and get a glimpse of the people I share my spaces with. I understand this is rude, but in my defense, it is accidental overhearing, and it is only with complete strangers.  Like the couple in front of me. I face the back of his head of unruly hair. She is opposite him, facing me. She is beautiful with an alternative style, dreadlocks, dark black glasses, a nose ring  and a thick silver ring on her long fingers, but it is her eyes that stand out. I think she is interviewing the guy in front of her, and they are talking about travel.

He talks about standing at the boarding gate with his pass in his hand and suddenly I am back in Dublin Airport on a Friday morning, sitting in the boarding lounge. I was wearing my favourite summer outfit: a
long white dress with butterflies and my denim jacket. It had been my best summer in Dunfanaghy. I hadn’t had a whole summer to myself since I was 14 and had enjoyed my seaside village just like the tourists. All my favourite things sat snugly in the brown satchel slung across my shoulder. At the gate beside us, people lined up for a Spanish destination. I can’t remember the name, but I remember the families, couples and twenty-something ladies dressed for the heat. I remember thinking, “They’ll be back in 2 weeks”. My stomach dropped.

The excitement of the past 2 months was just giving way to nervousness, and fear was close by. Myflight was called. I sent 2 texts, one to my Mum, one to my best friend. The tears began. I looked outside and saw the airplane that was flying me to Canada. For the first time in a very long time, I felt lonely. I handed over my boarding card, the tears coming freely.

Two friends called me, full of excitement, but though I tried to sound cheerful, I could only work to hold back the sobs. “I shouldn’t have answered it”, I thought. I saw a missed call from my Mum and was instantly glad I was on the other call when she rang. I could not have her knowing I was leaving in tears. Not until she knew I was happy where I was going. The air stewards smiled, but did not judge. I wondered how many people board a plane crying.

I sat in my window seat, beside 2 young boys. I wondered what they thought of my tears. They paid little attention, out of politeness or
lack of concern, I don’t know.  I did the only thing I could. I wrote. I poured the tears onto the paper. Then, worn out, I sat back and put on my seatbelt. I knew I had to be on this flight, and as sad as I was leaving, I did not want to turn back.

The man in front of me sums up the interview by saying “life is too short”. With that, I am back in Beautiful Banff, enjoying a coffee in my favourite spot and my best friend texts me about Eastenders.