October 14, 2014
Maybe I’ll feel like Mary Richards in the opening credits of Mary Tyler Moore. A free spirited and ambitious woman out on the town on her own terms. Um, maybe. More likely, I’ll look a tad bit more disheveled, despite my best attempts to look stylish. I’ll look a bit more compact like someone is trying to turn their full screen into wide screen. Not so tall. Not so skinny.
I used to live in Toronto. It feels like a past life. I attended university there. I lived there off and on for most of my twenties. I left on what I’d consider bad terms. Toronto and I had a nasty break-up.
The last time I visited Toronto by myself, I was 30. I took the train for the day. I met up with a friend and we wandered around on a cold winter day. I had a handful of other brief visits to the city over the next ten years.
Now I am 40. I wonder how my view of the city will change. It has certainly changed since I last lived there 12 years ago. More so, I have changed. I am eager to visit my old haunts but will any of them still be there? Will they feel familiar or will it be clear, I have moved on?
Well, it is now the beginning of November. I had a wonderful time in Toronto. It was surreal walking into my old territory as a “middle aged” woman. Yikes, this is the first time I’ve ever referred to myself as middle aged. You saw it here first, people.
First thing we did after I got off of the train, was eat supper at a local pub called C’est What? which is on Front Street. I first went there on a double date when I was 20. Back then, it was a cozy basement pub with stacks of board games with a small menu of appetizers. The place appealed to literary types and perhaps students. Now it is a full on restaurant catering to local foodies. Most of the people looked like business types. Instead of being the youngest in the place, looking at the 30 somethings thinking they looked old, I was one of the older people looking at the 30 somethings thinking they looked young. Yes, the tables have turned. I did feel a bit of superiority knowing I’ve been coming to this place for 20 years. I felt I should maybe get a badge to wear.
I was happy to see my fast walking pace returned once I was in the city. I used to be really speedy but lately I’m the slowest when walking with friends. I guess I’m used to walking with children. Apparently, my speed is location specific.
I noticed that things have slightly changed but mostly stayed the same. Actually, I was surprised to see most changes were improvements.
The other thing that got my attention was how much smart phones have changed the way I experience Toronto. No need for a TTC (transit) map. Just check my phone (borrowed my husband’s phone actually). Can’t find a store? Check my phone. Have a question for a friend? Text them. Send a photo. Feeling a bit lonely? Instagram a photo to share the experience. See an interesting sign? Take a photo. Bored waiting for a bus? Edit some photos for Instagram during the wait. How crazy different would my life have been if we’d had smart phones at 20? I remember my frosh week at York University. The fine art students had a scavenger hunt that took us all through downtown. My group got terribly lost and everything was a challenge to find. Now, it would be a breeze. Such a different world we live in.
So, I had a great time. I got to eat lots of food (Chinese Vegetarian, Coffee, Sri Lankan, Coffee, Raw Vegan, did I mention Coffee?), and visit neighbourhoods and stores I’ve missed. It was just the sort of mini vacation I needed.
Here are a few scrapbook layouts I made that relate to my trip:
For the above layout, I included a photo from my view on the train when I arrived Thursday, my root beer at C’est What, a view of walking in the rain after we left the pub, the dessert section of Loblaws and the spot where the centre ice used to be.
The layout above is about the Friday, when we walked around downtown and visited China Town and Kensington Market. It was a great day.
The layout below has photos which were taken during this trip on the Saturday. The layout reflects on where I was the day of September 11, 2001.
Have you visited a city or place from your past and had a similar experience? I’d love to hear your stories.