Saturday, October 30, 2010

You again...

I grew up in small towns from the top to the bottom of this province. (And just so you know, Southern Albertans, Edmonton is not considered "Northern Alberta". Not by a long shot.) One thing that is common to all small towns and rural areas is that you will always see people you know when you venture out of your house. Usually it is when you haven't done your make-up or are at Wendy's on the day you move and see the guy you really want to impress. (Nothing says "Hey, how you doin"? like a greasy ponytail and sweats)

Even in Lethbridge I would always see someone I knew. That is probably because of the high number of Mormons, as well as the fact that I had lived there quite awhile. My friends and I used to play the "Costco Game" where the winner was the person who knew and could greet the most people while shopping there.

Seeing people I knew on a daily basis was one of the things that used to drive me kind of crazy about small towns and cities. So I was surprised to find that this was one of the things I miss most while living in Toronto.

Toronto is big. I mean, I am pretty sure I have never seen so many people in my life combined as I do in a day here. I never see the same people twice, and I realize that I miss seeing people I know when I am out and about. What I do tend to see are people who look like the folks I know. I have seen the Toronto version of lots of Albertans!

So next time you run out for something at the store and you are looking pretty rough (This absolutely does not apply to Denise) and you run into someone you know, greet them heartily for me!

Friday, October 29, 2010

It was a [school] yard smash!

I live across the street from a school. This is great for several reasons including great property values, nice location, when I cross the street a crossing guard stops traffic for me, etc. It is kind of annoying for the fact that those kids are really loud. I mean like someone must be murdering them loud. On days that I am studying in my room, recess time is break time for me too.

Today I was researching on the ole' Mac when I heard "The Monster Mash" playing from across the street. I looked over to the school and saw that all the kids were walking around the playground and then around the block to awesome Halloween songs. They looked so great and they walked with such pride and excitement! (yes, some of them were still screaming bloody murder, but I guess it is appropriate on today, of all days)

You kids rock! I can not tell you how much this made my day!

Happy Halloween weekend, everyone! Are y'all dressing up?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The only thing missing was the Fortress of Solitude...

I know that this post is long overdue and the only excuse I have is my difficulty with uploading pictures to my blog... I am still trying to figure out how to paste them to the place in the post where I want them to be. Well, that and my fear that my captions won't be witty enough!!

Here is me in front of the Falls. (You may remember this picture from such episodes as "My facebook profile picture".) The day was absolutely beautiful and the spray from the falls was pretty intense. You can't tell, but I am covered in a fine mist of water (truly, nature's moisturizer!) The view was spectacular, and generally unobstructed as there weren't too many people there. In talking to Jessica the other day, (she was there in the summer), we both noticed how very fast the water was moving, and how much of it there was.
Here is a picture of Travis and myself, and it is taken by his sister, Amy. We spent the whole day in Niagra Falls, and they both shared with me their favourite things about the falls and the town. This picture was also taken only moments before I decided to test my theory that one of the people in the crowds was actually Clark Kent, and I jumped over the edge...
Another amazing view!! I have to say, I was absolutely humbled by the magnitude of the falls and the quantity of water. I could not resist a comment about how these were nothing to Cameron Falls...
Ok, this is a view from the Maid of the Mist. Going on that boat ride was the BEST decision I made that day. It was completely crazy!! When the boat goes right below the falls (see picture below for reference), it is like you are in the middle of a rainstorm from the spray. We somehow manoeuvred ourselves to the front of the boat (there were tons of people there!) and as we were right under the falls, I really couldn't see anything besides the water pounding into my eyes.

Here is a view of the main street of the town, which was pretty cheesy. A lot of hotels, restaurants, wax museums, and weirdly, assorted haunted houses. I can't tell you how much I didn't want to go to a haunted house, although if I had had a desire, there were plenty to pick from.

All in all, a great day!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A lovely Saturday and a stressful week...

Last Saturday, I decided to forgo the downtown celebrity hunt at the TIFF and I went instead to a Celtic Festival at Kew Gardens which is in the Beaches area of Toronto. It was about a 10 minute ride on the streetcar. (The streetcar runs along Queen St, and it is about a 5 minute walk from my house to Queen)

There were little booths selling many things including Irish jewelry, Scottish shortbread, and British candy. I sat and listened to some music by the Scarborough Pipes and Drums, and my far-off Scottish blood was dancing along.

After listening for awhile, I walked through Kew Gardens, which are absolutely beautiful. There were lots of families, people with dogs, homeless people, and even singletons like myself.

I walked down to the shore of the lake (Ontario), and there was a boardwalk with tons of people. It goes quite far, heading west all the way past downtown. I sat for a bit on a bench and watched the sailboats on the water.

I then walked along Queen Street east which is a wonderful little neighbourhood full of little shops and restaurants. I found a beautiful little walkway / parkette called the "Discovery Walks".

It wound its way up into a quite nice area with some beautiful houses. A lot of them were hidden by the trees (like the next picture), but you could still see how incredible they were.

It was a perfect Saturday afternoon and I really enjoyed scratching the surface of the city just a tiny bit more.

This week I am in school and it is definitely an adjustment to get back into a "scholarly" frame of mind. I have been to 2 of my classes so far, and it is hard not to feel overwhelmed when everyone else sounds like they know everything already. Hello! I thought we were here to learn? I think it is that most of the students are much more culturally and globally aware than I am. I will just have to do a lot of reading and research on the topics of the classes and hope that I can provide even a small opinion.

I hope that you all have a great week!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My first week in Toronto

So, it has definitely been a bit of a quiet week. I had had many plans of exploring the city, but the heat and the humidity kept me either pretty sweaty and exhausted or indoors.

There have been some highlights for sure. On Tuesday, we went to Ryerson University to see Peter Katz play, and he was as wonderful as always.

On Thursday, I went to Ontario Place, the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre to see the Jonas Brothers!! They were pretty cute, but I found the music was so loud, you couldn't really hear them. If that makes sense.

Today I went to a little tea shop that is just around the corer from my house called "Steeped and Infused". I got some tea and a beautiful little tea pot. I am drinking it with pleasure today because it is windy and cool...

Next week I have plans to see some great sights, especially since the weather is supposed to be much cooler...ahhh

In the meantime, here are some pictures of my house and my room to give you an idea of where I live!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer in the city means...

Hello from the largest city in Canada!! I have arrived in my new home for the next 18 months to 2 years, and I am starting to become a bit more acclimatized. It is extremely hot and humid here, the likes of which I could not have even imagined during my 33 years in the desert. It is unbelievably crowded and jam-packed with all different kinds of people. It is full of many, many things to see and do. I have been laying a bit low over the last few days due to a bit of fear, heat stroke (real or imagined), and tiredness from the trip out here, but have had the chance to see a few things. I am also in the middle of a 2 week long holiday, and so I am going to start exploring...

On Monday, I went to the University to find my building and do some registration stuff. Luckily, my building is probably the easiest to find on campus, as it is right on a main avenue and subway line. I came out of the subway at St. George station and walked about 25 steps. This was a blessing as the temperature yesterday was 34 degrees. (I was not so blessed as I tried to make my way home on the street car later, and not knowing exactly where I as going, walked a lot longer than I probably needed to.)

That evening, Travis showed me around downtown and along the lakeshore. It had cooled down a little, but it was still extremely balmy. We ate at a wonderful little Thai restaurant and then proceeded to walk around for the next 3 hours. It was great exercise, and I was able to see the legislature, city hall, lakeshore and a smidgen of the university campus at night.

Here is a picture of Dundas Square(I think!!), right across from Eaton Centre on Yonge Street.

Tonight we are heading to Ryerson University to see Peter Katz play!

More to come soon!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Up and Down

Well kidlets, I am 20 days away from leaving our fair city. 20 DAYS. I think it really hit me when I went in to the Telus Store yesterday to see if they could offer me some sort of student plan (p.s., they were monumentally unhelpful...are you shocked?). I told them "I am moving to Ontario in a few weeks", and though I have said it before, it suddenly seemed extremely real. I am moving to Ontario in a few weeks. Yikes.

I am extremely conflicted, of course. I am dizzy with excitement at the prospect of embracing new challenges and taking a pretty big step towards my goals. I am thrilled at the prospect of living in a bustling metropolis where I can spend hours exploring and shopping!! (Have I mentioned my love of shopping?) I am terrified at the thought of leaving the only province I have ever known, and being the farthest away in my family. None of us have ever moved this far away before. I am heartbroken to think of the family and friends I am leaving.

I am ready, though. I have a place to live with two other women who seem really nice. I am not too far from the University. I have enrolled in courses for the fall and the winter semesters. I have arranged to sell my car. I have given away my bed and am in the process of downsizing the rest of my possessions (including my books, which was pretty difficult) as I am moving to a furnished room. Hey, on that note, Denise and I are planning a day in the near future when we are going to have a free "yard sale" of sorts. I say "of sorts" because it will be inside the house and people can come and take whatever we don't need or can't move with us. Details to follow.

Also look in the next few weeks for me to do a few posts about some of my favorite spots in Lethbridge. Kind of a sentimental thing, but a farewell to this city!!

See you again soon!