I don’t remember ever being so happy to walk, not even when I was in Toronto before. Needless to say in hot Singapore, I don’t particularly enjoy getting around on foot because I’d get all sweaty and sticky. But even when I was in Toronto in the past, I’d get lazy easily and start thinking that walking from my home to Kensington Market, or to Chapters at Richmond St, or to my office at OISE/UT was far. But in the last few days, never once when I’ve been walking had I been aware of the distance covered.
Coming back to Toronto after being away for 9 months doesn’t feel as different as I thought it would be. There are some changes in the landscape, and some friends are no longer here. But I still feel some belonging here… more than I had expected. It felt great to walk into familiar stores and chat with people who still remember my face after 9 months. There’s the boss lady at the TCM store and the Polish baker at Silverstein’s Bakery whose smiling faces are to me as much a part of Toronto’s landscape as the CN Tower.
Living in OPL again with Wanting and Mel, it feels as if no time had passed at all between last May and now. If anything, it seems as if we’ve gotten even more comfortable than before (if that is possible!) and closer than we were last year. I love that there is no need for ceremony between us, no embarrassment or awkwardness. Living with them is like wearing a favourite t-shirt… so comfortable.
A Beautiful Morning
On Saturday morning, Wanting and I woke up early to buy discount opera tickets. Last year, Ting and I had planned to watch our first operas together but it hadn’t panned out. We were going to try again this year. We went out on that sunny and crisp winter-like spring morning (-7 deg, – 14 deg w windchill), across the street to buy hot cups of tea and sandwiches from Tim Hortons and strolled down University Ave to the Four Seasons Centre to join the box office line.
Although I knew my first choice of opera (Barber of Seville) was difficult to get tickets for (only one show before I leave Toronto), I was in no hurry. I told Wanting, if it’s meant to be, we’ll get the tickets. If not, we can always get tickets for Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Which opera we watched didn’t matter as much to me as the fact that we had a chance to fulfill that old plan to watch an opera together.
We stood in line for 90 mins, and I never noticed the time. I’ve never enjoyed queuing this much before, with my long-awaited Timmies BLT on toasted sesame seed bagel and hot tea with milk and sugar warming my stomach and an ever-flowing, easy and laugh-filled conversation with a beloved friend I’ve missed very much. Ting was amused at my description of that morning as an excursion for me *grin*, but it really was. We could have walked away empty-handed after our wait and it wouldn’t have diminished my enjoyment of that beautiful morning. So unlike the usually uptight and kan cheong me right?! ha ha… maybe that’s all the more reason why I was so happy…
“Crisp” is a word I could never use to describe any time of day in Singapore… it’s much too humid! I’ve missed the crispness of a Toronto winter when it’s not too cold but there’s an unmistakable little bite in the air. Coupled with brilliant blue skies and bright sunshine, it’s just gorgeous!