So that job in Canada I interviewed for via Johannesburg came through. I’m happy to announce that I’m back home and contentedly settling into Toronto living.

The job is good. My bachelor apartment is good. I have a penthouse pad and a swimming pool… and a minimall on the first floor, complete with Korean takeaway, a dollar store, and video rental shop. All is good, except for the weather. I’m totally not adapting to this frigid cold and hating every moment of it. The other day I watched the snow play and whirl around a streetlight and it was beautiful. About a second later I realised my fingers were freezing into position and all beauty vanished instantly.

I hate cold.

Fortunately my apartment is warm and slowly becoming more comfortable. It’s unfurnished so I’m working my butt off to find cheap/free furniture. Fortunately I live in a complex where people seem to come and go often enough for me to take advantage of the posts in the laundry room. I’m picking up a $50 bed tomorrow. Yay to no more thermarest air mattress “sleeping”.

I’m also happy to report that I’ve managed to reconnect with a couple friends here. One in particular brought me out dancing last weekend and introduced me to all her friends. The next day after I stayed at her house we all had brunch and it was great to be suddenly amidst a happy chattering English-speaking group of people with whom I seem to have a fair bit in common. InstaFriends are good.

Otherwise I’ve been just walking around enjoying that which I haven’t for a while and marvelling at my new eyes and how they’re seeing this old/new world. My initial perceptions (don’t bother to correct me if I’m wrong – it’s all opinion anyways):

  • Canadians (well, Torontonians, anyways) are busy – book 2 weeks in advance if you want a coffee/dinner date
  • Everyone owns a travel coffee mug and an Ipod – and they must bring these both everywhere
  • It’s great to walk after dark, even if your toes are freezing
  • Any kind of food you can want from anywhere in the world is here
  • I’m no longer a visible minority
  • I’m no longer very attractive to every man who passes me on the street
  • Toronto (or maybe just my InstaFriends) like(s) rock and “edgy” music
  • Dj’s talk too much on the radio, especially in the morning
  • Everyone’s an artist (photographer, painter, musician, actor, sculptor, avant-garde po-mo somethingorother)
  • Everyone’s trying not to be like everyone else
  • To be trendy is totally uncool. But trying to be “underground” is lame. Cool is supposed to come naturally but everyone is struggling so desperately to somehow find it
  • Subway’s make you nauseous if you’re not used to moving at such high velocities
  • Chinese food tastes better when it’s cooked by Chinese people
  • North American’s are bombarded by reams of seemingly useless information (Do I care what Celebrity X wore to Event Y?!), and a lot of it
  • Sales clerks and restaurant people don’t care to make small talk or extensive greetings, “What can I get you?” actually equals “I don’t feel like telling you I’m fine, just order your damn curlyfries bitch!”
  • No one in this city is actually FROM this city (including me)
  • Sidewalks are very very clean and straight
  • No one honks (hoots, to my SA friends!) unless absolutely provoked to do so
  • Everything is easy and accessible
  • No one says “cheers” unless they’re drinking, “Ya” (pronounced “Yaww”) unless they’re German (or South African – though there aren’t many of those around in the cold winter months!), and no one smiles in elevators.

I’ve been walking around for the last week with my jaw around my knees from the sheer speed and enormity of this new home of mine.

But this morning I walked off the subway with a travel mug of coffee in hand and my Ipod earphones in my ears.

Hmm… I guess I am Canadian afterall.

It’s good to be back.

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