My journey from falling in love with London to landing into Canada and deciding not to come back hopefully and then landing back up here again and finally starting to like it despite my formidable self!
As I say to people who ask me about London, London was home…it felt so from the moment I set foot in! So I will not lament about home for that demands a separate post altogether but here are a few snippets just to give you an inkling into why London=Love!
This is a place I wanted to be in since childhood…got through colleges for education but then got persuaded by family to stay closer to home…and it continued to be a distant dream until it suddenly came true after a series of back and forth between US & UK( now that’s another story for a different day altogether)!
With family & friends around the corner and the joy of finally living my dream, those charming streets & the warmth(yes, lucky enough to have experienced plenty of it) exuded from every being I came across, the excitement of exploring it on my own with my lil one in tow for the initial few months, there was not much to complain(but then some complaint is basic to humans). Slowly life took over and the city became dearer and dearer to me. The nagging thought of having to go back some day was tucked away in the corner of the heart, almost forgotten. Nothing, absolutely nothing dissuaded my love for this fast yet so quaint city. The forever overcast skies, the absolute dearth of long sunny winter days, the haul back n forth in the local transit, homesickness, having just enough friends to keep me sane, all of these failed to stop me from falling in irrevocable love with this country, that many find daunting.
And then came a day when the visit to Canada was impertinent. We had to come by for a soft landing so to speak, and the move would follow suit.
Friends were kind enough to turn this into a holiday…but I wasn’t impressed. It was the beginning of March, winter wasn’t over yet and I felt instantly alarmed at the cold vibes that I couldn’t help but ignore, weather included ofcourse. No it wasn’t a bad stay but I knew for sure that I didn’t want to come back here soon.
We happily went back to our happy place and totally dropped the plan of moving to Toronto anytime soon. As fate would have it…our calling came soon after. Only a couple of months had gone by and we had the biggest bait in front of us to get us packing a bag..a different project in a different country with the same company…could one say no to this? Well, we didn’t then, but to date wish that we had. Nope, not ungrateful…just too stuck onto London!
Anyway, so the final move, amidst all the sorrow, unsettling times, leaving friends & family behind yet again, with a toddler in tow…happened in the beginning of November. The perfect time to witness the city catapult from it’s lovely fall colours(well…traces of which were left by the month of November) to those cold winter days with little but no colour. This time around, we saw the city from a different perspective. Immediately upon arrival we got stationed in Downtown. May be the beautiful housing or seeing the endless lights zigzag throughout the night, or the peppy music being played by E11 or the ease with which things started to fall in place, made us relent a little.
But how dare we see the world with rosy glasses! What seemed so smooth suddenly turned into a nightmare and we had to go rushing back home to tend to a broken family. Like they say, be careful when you pick up the broken pieces..you never know which one would end up piercing you, we had our fair share of piercings. Cutting the long story short…after spending more than a fortnight in India, we came back with as much valour as we had left. Scrambling but holding onto some broken pieces and broken souls, we were back amidst the cold…this time from an even cooler place.
The last few days made us see life from a different perspective and we were determined to stick it out. The grit was weaker but the sorrow kept us propelling forward and amidst that hustle, we witnessed the first complete snowfall in this city so diverse that it takes you by surprise everyday until you make it your own. I still remember gazing like an infatuated teenager waiting as sheet after sheet of beautiful delicate snowflakes covered the city with a plush white blanket.
The memory remains etched in my heart forever!
And thus began the unlearning of what I had almost forced myself to believe for the fear of embracing something unfamiliar .
Starting from those busy downtown streets, to discovering the path with the little one, to watching the lake freeze overnight, to slushy puddle jumping, to bone chilling cold, to the desire to brave it all and step out no matter what, to endless cold winter walks, to the sound of those happy feet and the look on the faces of home goers every evening to finally breaking the ice(quite literally so), we were falling for this place…..cautions & restraints still intact, we knew we had begun to budge.
I vaguely remember complaining about the vibe to a certain someone who promptly told me to wait for summers and I also remember a certain someone telling me how Toronto was still not home to a dear one after 15 long years here. Apprehensions, judgements, lack of too many empathetic souls and a couple of other factors ensured that the restraint remain put.
Life went on, we loved where we were living but time had come to move. The past 6 months seemed like a lifetime yet seemed to have flown by and we moved to what is called the heart of Toronto- midtown- the part replete with construction. I was yet again devastated on having to leave what I had made my home but then I guess life has off late been a vicious circle of settling in & uprooting.
In between this move, and a whole new process of settling down all over again, we witnessed the metamorphosis of the city from a bed covered with fine white linens to pink lined streets courtesy sprouting of Sakura- the beautiful season of cherry blossom. Drenched in rain, cold winds battered on my face while I walked with the lil one bundled up in his buggy to watch Sakura. And thus came the realisation of yet another dream.
The vividly glorious pink picture is a constant on my wallpaper.
Little did I know then that I will have opportunities galore to make several constants on the screen. Well…summer came in full bloom. Late but glorious in it’s warmth, this fuzzy warmth enveloped Toronto into something that I could have never imagined. With spring in their steps, I could actually see the hearty welcome for summer in everyone’s eyes. Like a caterpillar’s journey from a cocoon to a pretty butterfly, the city revealed an altogether different facet in the first few days of June…and summer had only just begun! The days became longer and the sun hotter, flowers bloomed and so did the faces of Torontonians. While I write this, summers still continue and the rage is diminishing with every passing day. Knowing that the days outdoors are numbered & the city has a never-ending bucket list to offer, dare I miss a single opportunity to step outdoors for there are a host of things about Toronto that made me enjoy outdoors like never before! Be it the picturesque beaches with pristine blue waters; endless walks on the various boardwalks; picnics at tree lined gardens all over the city; days out with the lil one at the multiple splash pads; mindless road tripping & encountering the most beautiful random pitstops; the back to back line up of various events in every nook & corner throughout the city; the celebrations cum gastronomic delights in the form of Italian, Greek, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Food Truck festivals; the endless list sums up not just the beauty of the city, but bathed in the warmth of the summer, also makes it so much more warm and welcoming a place to be living in.
No, I am not in love yet. But I definitely am falling for you Toronto!