Living in new places came full-circle in an amazing way; this is how!

Moving from Burlington to Toronto in my first year brought with it a fairly drastic change of pace. Though Burlington is decent in size it could never compare to the endless hustle that Toronto brings, which has brought me to realize that many Glendon students from smaller towns (Kiera, for example) have probably experienced this change of pace much more heavily than I! So, I’ve been inspired to briefly write about how my life in the city has come home with me, and what shaped my time in Toronto. Read on, friends, especially if you’re anxious and/or excited to move to Toronto come the start of university!

I’ve learned from moving to Toronto and also from moving to Brussels that it’s not easy to find your ‘niche’. The reality is: you need to dig for things to do and see for you to really find out what you love to do and see, because the best things in life will never be handed to you on a silver platter! I dug my way through all that Toronto and Brussels have to offer, and I now have a very heightened passion for food and photography; not necessarily the act of eating and taking photos (though both very satisfying), but the appreciation of the effort that goes into each. I have a keen eye for design concepts and photo composition as well, all because I’ve found great enjoyment in exploring the places I’ve lived.

Basically, living in a newer and bigger place will expose you to new passions. That’s pretty cool.

Since I moved back to Burlington from my exchange in Brussels, I’ve noticed a massive change in how I see my hometown. I explore, I appreciate my surroundings, and I have grown fond of anything and everything local. It’s almost as though I haven’t lived here for the last 22 years of my life! I’m excited for you (yes, you) to see if this happens to you as well, because it’s amazing to look at where you grew up through a different lens; a lens that has learned a lot from spending time in new and exciting places.

Enough blabbing; I’m going to leave you with some Toronto-y things that shaped my “digging” experience. Note to residents: Don’t be afraid to get off campus and explore all of Toronto, not just downtown. There’s so much to see in every community!

Food:

– St. Lawrence Market
– Sneaky Dee’s (Cheap. Good. That’s all you need in life.)
– Guu Izakaya. A classic go-to for me!
– Anywhere that serves late-night poutine. (Poutini’s? Yes please)

Staple landmarks that aren’t the CN Tower:

– Flatiron Building
– Evergreen Brickworks
– The Roundouse (Steam Whistle Brewing is here!)

Libraries and Places to Study:

– Toronto Reference Library
– FIKA Kensington (On that note, everything in Kensington is the bomb dot com)
– Starbucks Davisville. This location is really special; it has a second floor that looks like this:

Dear Brussels,

Dear Brussels,

I’ve been home for just over a week but I don’t miss you… yet.

Don’t get me wrong, you were the biggest reason for which I became a more grown and refined person over these past eight months. I was just so, so ready to come back.

Brussels, you weren’t perfect, but you were perfect for me.

You showed me multilingualism in a way that wasn’t overwhelming for me, except maybe for when the bus would announce the next stop and route connections in three languages.

You showed me culture in the most unlabelled and nonchalant way imaginable. It wasn’t something I could find by googling “Things to do in Brussels”, it was something that you motivated me to find on my own. And I’m glad that I was able to do just that.

You showed me the most beautiful and comprehensible French language accent I’ll ever hear, along with the most horrendous Flemish accent that I hope I’ll never have to hear again.

You showed me diversity in a new way; a way that was different from Toronto, but still the same in many ways. It reminded me of home.

You showed me the real meaning of a good photo-op. I’ve tried to take photos of the same allure since returning home, but I haven’t had much luck. Is that enough of an excuse to book my next flight back to you?

You showed me rain. Lots and lots of rain. But you also showed me some of the most perfect sunny days I’ll ever see and I’ll cherish them indefinitely.

Brussels, you became my home. So, with that, I give you all of my thanks.

bae

 

Coming Home: the Airport Chronicles

6:20 AM- Alarm goes off. Wake up to messages from my mum: “ARE YOU AWAKE?! DONT YOU DARE SLEEP THROUGH THIS FLIGHT”

6:40- Scoff around my room because I packed things that I need to get ready, and the things I still need to pack don’t fit in my bags.

7:01- Cab arrives. Not ready, naturally.

7:04- Water bottle explodes as I’m carrying my 32 kilo suitcase down the stairs. Naturally.

7:06- Take one last look back at Cimetiere d’Ixelles from the taxi. It’s still not sinking in that I may not see this place again.

7:27- Arrive at airport. Taxi driver insists that I get a cart for my luggage. No sir, I GOT DIS.

7:30- *scans passport into check-in machine* *error message* *repeats 3 times before giving up*

7:38- Lady at check-in desk tells me I should move things into my carry on to make my suitcases lighter. I laugh to myself because she has no idea that my carry-on alone weighs 20kg.

7:56- Security. *oh god oh god, hurry up and get your laptop back into your bag and your shoes back on before people start judging you*

8:00- *dries off sweat*

8:08- Rejoice that I’m going back to a country where healthy, bread-free options are offered at every turn and at a decent price.

8:20- Half-hour of free wifi won’t connect. I hate airports.

8:35- Cave and pay three euros for 15 minutes of internet on one of those little booth computers, just so I can message my mum to tell her I’m still alive.

8:36- GO GO GOGOGOOO CHECK ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

8:50- Time’s up. Now what?

8:51- Wander into the abyss of wifi-less territory in total misery.

8:53- Collapse on the ground at the gate. I’ll just lay here in my own tears until we board.

9:20- Try, to no avail, to spot my suitcases getting loaded into the plane. Man, I feel badly for whoever had to lift those. I hope they didn’t inspect them out of spite, because they definitely wouldn’t have been able to zip them back up.

9:34- Why are people lining up already? YOU HAVE ASSIGNED SEATS.

9:40- Boarding!!!!1

9:40- I’m leaving.

9:40- I REFUSE

9:53- This is not real.

10:05- Take-off.

10:11 *comatose*

11:00- “Welcome to Dublin airport AKA heaven on earth. Here’s the best wifi you’ll ever use!”

1:05- On my fourth episode of Portlandia, accompanied by copious amounts of chocolate and wifi that, no matter how much I use it, won’t expire. Do I have to get on the plane to Toronto?

1:20- I should probably get in line to board.

1:33- There’s no one in the seat beside me. *PLEASE, NOBODY SIT HERE*

1:33- *NO, GILLIAN, YOU JUST JINXED IT*

1:45- Doors are closed. Seat beside me is still empty. Assume fetal position across two seats.

1:50- *comatose*

4:04- Pre-ordering a gluten-free meal was a good idea. Eating half an hour before everybody else. HA, SUCKAAAAS!

4:30- *comatose*

4:00 (Back in EST)- *Wow, I really wish I could take a cute photo of the CN Tower out of the airplane window. Too bad I’m on the wrong side of the plane…*

4:25- *scans passport into Customs machine* *error message* *repeats 3 times before a tired employee comes over to help*

4:34- Suitcases are the first onto the belt. Probably because they were so heavy. Oh look, both of my luggage tags are gone. Airport staff are totally going to send me hate mail for having such heavy bags…

4:39- Mum’s crying.

4:45- Dad forgot where he parked the car.

4:50 PM- *comatose*