Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, I’m back home. Yes, home means Toronto.
The surprise worked out quite successfully. Well, I suppose it was only a surprise for my family. I had been planning the entire trip since around April, and it was a rather big operation as I had to keep it a secret from my parents and my sister. Everyone else knew I was coming back, and my only plan was the show up unexpectedly at the door. And certainly, my family was flabbergasted, so that was mission accomplished.
So, Toronto is the same as usual. The moment I stepped off the plane, I just felt like I BELONG here. The same air that I’ve breathed, the same language that I’ve spoken, the same atmosphere that I’ve grown up in for most of my life – I was immediately immersed in the luxury of home, all that is Canada. It was as if I’ve never left, and I wondered in my head whether it was an elaborate dream, or I had really been in Europe for 10 months.
I’ve been back for 5 days and every single day so far has been busy with seeing friends and spending time with family. With only 26 days in Canada, every moment is to be cherished and every precious second well spent. I’ve also been taking photos of this place I call home, non-stop. In fact, I got a DSLR the second day back (yes I gave in, okay?) Details will come in the next entry, which is hopefully soon.
The more I went around, the more I realized how scarce photos of Toronto are in my collection. When I lived here, everything was just “matter of fact” and I took my life here for granted. I didn’t bother trying to capture the beauties of everyday life in a place that I felt I’d be for an indefinite amount of time. When the time came to head over to Europe, it was already too late to record all that I’ve missed in the 14 years I’ve been here. That’s why this time, as soon as I came back, I took pictures of every corner possible. The following are photos taken upon my immediate arrival in Toronto, still using my Canon point-and-shoot.
Yeah, perhaps Toronto isn’t as elegant as Bordeaux or as pretty as Europe in general, but regardless, home is still the most beautiful place in the world.
Boarding the connecting flight from Zurich to Toronto. Yep, there’s that familiar maple leaf again…:)
A view of Zurich from the sky moments after take-off. I have a 5-hour layover in Zurich when I return to Bordeaux in a few weeks. Is it possible to explore the city a little bit within this time? Anyone have any good suggestions?
9 hours later, I arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Good to be out of my seat, and even better to be home. My steps accelerate as I followed the signs to the customs.
Welcome to Canada? More like, home sweet home!
At terminal 1 waiting for my friend to pick me up. The Toronto airport is one of the favourite airports I’ve been to so far, along with Hong Kong and Brussels, clean, spacious, and well-organized.
And what better time to arrive than right in the middle of rush hour? My flight landed at 4:20pm or so and by the time I got on the car, it was near 5pm. Perfect timing. On the way from the airport to Scarborough, it was inevitable to see that dreaded sign on our good ol’ highway 401.
Cars. Lots of them. Other than that one time going to the Netherlands, I haven’t been on a highway in Europe and definitely haven’t seen traffic like this.
That’s right, there’s our beloved TTC, Toronto’s public transit. My mom, my sister and I were on the way to my dad’s workplace, as I couldn’t wait to see him. The trip turned out to be a complete failure because my dad was working at another Pizza Pizza location on that day and I had no idea where it was. Not cool.
Lunch with Florence on day 2, right before the camera shopping. Boy did I miss good Chinese food in Toronto, especially the simple “cha chaan tang” (tea diner) that can be found in every other corner of the city. And food is so cheap. SO cheap.
The bumper sticker says “Keep a distance; don’t force me to transform”. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was a reference to Transformers, which reminds me that I should watch Transformers 3 sometime soon. The license plate saying “I ❤ WO LP" probably means "I love my wife", as "wo" means "me" (or "my", in this case) and "LP" is likely a short form for "lao po" (or "lo por" in Cantonese), meaning wife. Either the owner of the car really loves his wife, or the car IS his wife…:P
I've been thoroughly enjoying my time in Toronto and I will certainly have a lot more to share with you in the upcoming weeks!