I spent this week highlighting various moments from my Toronto trip last month. It was my first ever truly solo trip. I travelled by myself, stayed in an AirBnB and had no friends around me. I had a few emergency contacts, but I never met up with them. I did manage to meet up with a coworker I hadn’t seen in 3 years. I missed her so much I cried with joy at finally seeing her again. She is one of the sweetest most thoughtful people I’ve ever met and she made many days on the job more bearable. Getting to see her was a bit of a challenge as I was only in Niagara Falls (it’s not just an attraction, people actually live in a town by the falls called Niagara Falls) for about 2 hours, with 1 one each for lunch and the Hornblower cruise on the Falls. I still remember her pulling up in the front of the falls to give me a quick squeeze and chatting for two minutes before I turned around and realised my group had proceeded to the falls. I had to run very quickly to catch up with them. Truthfully this was only one of the many moments I ran on the trip and it was all because I had no idea where I was going.
So here’s the thing, I don’t always have the best sense of direction. I can tell someone if something they’re looking for is North, East, South, or West or something, but when it’s time for me to find it for myself, I typically fail.
Toronto is a BIIIIIIIIIG city. Even though I had visited a big city before (London) Toronto still felt bigger. Even with the best instructions, I still managed to “get lost” in London one day on my way home, when I got on the wrong train THREE TIMES and had to come back to the same station, THREE TIMES! It was then that I learned trains have their destination on the front and I should read it instead of assuming that only one train went through each station. You would think i would’ve applied that knowledge to this last trip……Ha! You have more confidence in me than you should.
The first day I had a shoot at Union Station that went into the Distillery District. I had no problem getting to Union Station and even found time to look around and enjoy a Poke Bowl for lunch from Lahuna Poke. I had so much fun this day because when I got back to Union Station to go home, I realised that, that is where 6 in the 6 is. That night was Bingo night, and each square was a song. The hosts played the song, and if it was on your sheet, you marked it off. I had so much fun with complete strangers as they helped me identify Canadian songs, that I missed not one, but two trains! Each train was an hour apart. Instead of going back and risking missing another train, I simply waited at the McDonald’s in the station (finally tried the Mozzarella chicken burger - it is amazing!) and made conversation with another stranger before finally finding the right platform for my train. When I got lost I was coming home (notice I always get lost coming home, and not when I’m going out). I got back to the station, but didn’t know how to get out, so when I went the wrong way and got on the wrong bus. I was looking for an 84A or 84S or about 3 other options. So when the 84 came I thought, oh that’s my bus. *Narrator*: It wasn’t her bus. Luckily the bus driver told me how to catch the correct bus and I made it home safely without further incident.
Day 2 I went on a tour to see Niagara Falls. The first stop was a wine tasting. I didn’t purchase any of the expensive wines, but I did enjoy the 6 glasses of wine before lunch! Getting liquored up before noon did not in any way compare to seeing Niagra Falls close up! While this day was amazing, I almost got on the wrong tour bus, and kept getting left behind to the point where I don’t think the tour guide will EVER forget about me! A few times I lost track of time and had to do a lot of power walking to and light jogging to catch up, especially when I ran into my old coworker in front of the Falls. This was an intense day for anxiety. I did my best to stay with the group and follow directions, but somehow still got on the wrong bus getting home.
If I wasn’t getting on the wrong bus, I was waiting a long time for one, so i used a combination of public transit and Lyft to get around. There were times I simply walked in the wrong direction coming out of the train station. I used City Mapper to get around. The app gives amazing directions, but I needed step by step (like a GPS kind of navigation).
Now for the food! I loved the food in Toronto, it was truly my favourite part. From the poke bowl I got from Lahuna Poke to the Vietnamese I had for dinner on my last night in town, I ate well! Most nights I cooked my own dinner to save money, but I still tried to enjoy the restaurants. One of my favourites was Little India, an Indian buffet on Queen Street. And I loved the Vietnamese (finally tried Bubble Tea) I had from Huong Trang on Keele, although I really didn’t like the service. I wasn’t fond of the Turkish food from Best Istanbul (I ordered the Lamb Liver, because it was the only thing on the menu I never had before) because it was charcoal grilled and I HATE charcoal grilled foods - they always have an ashy taste, making for a most unpleasant experience. Even the complimentary bread started to taste bad after awhile. I think I’ll try Turkish food again, but only if it’s not charcoal grilled.
I loved my trip! I learned a lot about myself. The time I spent alone, away from everyone and everything I knew really gave me a chance to think. This has been a very hard summer: I’ve lost 3 loved ones and they each have left a whole in my heart. I took on a large project to distract myself and although it’s proving to be more of a challenge than expected, I’m amazed at how I’ve been pushing through. Again the support of friends and family has been tremendous and played a big role in my grieving process.
I hope you guys have a great weekend! I’m excited about something happening next week, but you’ll just have to wait to see what that is. Check back on Monday for my newest post. I’m sharing a new recipe for chicken that you’re definitely going to want to add to your weeknight menu!