I’m sitting here on my cozy apartment balcony, sipping coffee as I always do, and over-romanticizing things as I usually do. I can’t help but think about how I sat on the balcony of my first apartment overlooking the cityscape three years ago, convinced it was the greatest apartment ever and the most beautiful view I had ever seen.
I’m a different girl than I was then; that wide-eyed eighteen year old who couldn’t wait to get out of the one horse town she had lived in all her life and experience the glamour of the city. It was all new, all fascinating, and even experiences like eating nothing but cereal for days carried a sense of romance. Every person I passed was a story, and every place I visited was a memory waiting to be made. I was unaffected and ambitious, and perfectly naïve.
I’m different now, but in many ways I’m still the same. I still like to wander the city by myself and I still forget to lock the door sometimes. I still have absolutely no sense of direction, and can hardly cook anything but eggs.
But some things have changed. I no longer meander through questionable neighborhoods by myself at 3 in the morning, and I don’t spend my days off at the Eaton Centre or Kensington Market, because you and I both know this city has much cooler things to offer.
You have taught me things too; ninja-like maneuvers to always ensure snagging a seat on the bus, and how to be just enough of a pretentious coffee snob. I can shove my way through any mass of people at rush hour, and I have mastered the look reserved for churlish cat-callers (a delicate mix of “how-dare-you” and “as-if”). I can sneak onto the back of a streetcar, and I know that no one who goes to the beach intends on swimming (ew).
But Toronto, you have also taught me good things. The shirtless man bicycling downtown with a massive python hanging around his neck taught me that people aren’t as concerned with you as you are, so do whatever the hell you want.
Thomas, with his cardboard sign and kind eyes, taught me that it’s okay to be desperate, and to admit you need help.
And finally, Leo Zhang, the subway cellist who always plays with his eyes closed (my one true love), taught me to find beauty in the rat race, and to throw my art into the world passionately and fearlessly even if no one stops to listen.
So thank you, Toronto.
Until next time,