I am psyched, seriously excited, to be heading back to Canada over the holidays. The plan is to do a fly-by visit to both Toronto (2-3 days) and Montreal (3-4 days), followed by a very short stint in NYC (for just under 42 hours, by my calculation) just in time to ring in the new year. While I would have loved to have spent more time in each city, it’s Montreal that has my heart, and where I could happily spend all of the next month.
I find myself missing proper Canadian winter. While I’m loving the nippy weather here in London (and the excuse to wear woolly tights and knee high boots and any one of my lovely colourful scarves), I can’t get into the holiday spirit when it’s just -1°c and spitting rain. I want ice and deep snow and breath that I can see. I want to make water freeze in mid-air. I want to go ice skating on a river after work, pelt my loved ones with snow, and then have an excuse to curl up in fuzzy socks with hot chocolate by a fire. I miss the sharp, fresh feeling of -15°c when breathed in, and I miss the crisp, perfectly clear blue skies.
I can’t get into the holiday spirit when it’s just -1°c and spitting rain. I want ice and deep snow and breath that I can see.
Of course, I’m romanticizing all of this winter stuff, as there are certainly parts that I’ll never miss. Namely the nasty brown sludge that snow inevitably turns to after being sat in the road for a couple days. And painfully cold toes. And digging out cars from thigh-high snow piles. That part sucks.
Yet I always squeal with delight when I see even a hint of snow in London. In fact, I did that today, and then realised that the pub on the corner had a fake snow blower operating. I’d been fooled (bastards). Have I been away from Canada that long??
One thing is for sure: I’m going to GORGE myself with delicious foodstuffs the moment I touch down. I want Indian food (namely the mulligatawny soup) from my favourite take-out in Burlington, as I’ve not found a replacement at all in London. Okay, perhaps I’m biased, but I’m waiting for someone to show me a better soup.
And steak. What on earth is wrong with the steak here? It’s simply consistently better over on the other side of the pond. Thank Alberta for that one, I guess. Oh, and cheese curds! The ones you get at depanneurs and gas stations across Quebec, which go squish-squish when you chew down. NOM. I’m bringing a few bags of those babies back with me… Customs can go sit on a tack if they try to debate me on the legality of this.
And a trip to Brutopia for their delicious (and dangerous) raspberry flavoured blonde beer, micro-brewed right on location, is certainly on order. Never have I ever favoured another place of that for meeting friends in a chilled venue.
Maybe if I’m lucky, I can get in on some hockey action while there. Watching games way late at night in the Maple Leaf in Covent Garden doesn’t hold the same appeal as the buzzing atmosphere of a bar in downtown Montreal. There’s definitely some shopping in order too. I mean, 3 interconnected malls in what they call the Underground City… you can get lost for hours. And now that I’m bringing my stronger sterling back with me, it’s on!
Ah, yes, and not to forget the casino. A proper casino. Where you don’t feel like you’re going to get mugged by some kid wearing a puffy jacket and saying ‘givus your bag, innit’. And where I can spend some (mostly) guilt free time and cash playing poker and blackjack on tables covered in soft, touchable felt. Maybe I’ll even dress up and treat myself to overpriced casino cocktails. Ace.
Alright, so would I move back to Canada, with all it’s charms? Not yet, that’s for sure.
Alright, so would I move back to Canada, with all it’s charms? Not yet, that’s for sure. I’ve already passed a couple of opportunities to go back for different potential product-type roles in Montreal… but I realised I couldn’t get myself to do it…. still too much left undone here in London. Seriously, I’m having too much fun here, and I’m meeting some of the most interesting, inspiring people ever.
I know I’ll leave London one day. Not exactly suited for kids and all that jazz… not that I’ve got that in the short term plan (jeez!). Getting a little sick of the smell of urine in Soho, too. And I suppose the rain will begin to piss me off eventually. But the thought of leaving makes me sad. This song made me cry recently: Tina Dico – London (courtesy of Spotify). Just a little bit, but really, I do realise I won’t be living here forever.
In the meantime, I do what I can to stick to my roots. I run into fellow Canucks just about everywhere, and always find myself reminiscing with them about our common home land. In order to keep a steady supply, I’ve joined a Canadian expat group I stumbled upon on Meetup.com. We hit up the Maple Leaf for beer and wings and laughs once a month, and the occasional alternative outing. On Sunday, I went ice skating with the crew in Canary Wharf. We stood out like sore thumbs, wearing our own ice skates and zipping through the mounds of fallen children. I would post a lovely little video I made with some words from Dave, the group organiser, but my camera apparently takes terrible audio. If that thing doesn’t start behaving, it’s getting replaced. But that rant will be a post for another day.
So yes, I imagine I’ll probably live in Canada once again. But not before I try out some digs on the European continent (Paris is my current infatuation), and certainly San Francisco if I can get that sorted. Living here in London has done me one major service: showing me just how many different possibilities there are out there.
Here I come!