I’m not going to write about living in Toronto every time I blog, but for now, living here is still a fresh enough experience to be the focal point of my processing. So please bear with me as I share another post about settling into life here.
There have been so many kind and caring people who have asked me how settling into Toronto life has been. I usually say that it’s gone surprisingly smoothly, because it has. (We shan’t get into the complicated questions that have arisen inside me. Questions like, “Now that we are successfully here, and surviving, how will we figure out when it’s time to leave?” or “Maybe we will just stay here for years and years? Could it be done? Should it be done?” It is too soon to think about these sorts of things. But just the same… if you have an answer, let me know.)
The other thing that I have been telling people is that the more ordinary experiences I have here, the homier it feels. Things like going for a bike ride or a run or visiting a nearby café go a long way in helping a new place feel like home.
I would like to share two completely unrelated experiences that I have had here. The only thing they have in common is that they helped me to feel more like this is home. And I liked them. I’ll share the first one today, and the second one sometime later this week.
The first experience I like to refer to as my “Polar Express Moment”. If you have never watched The Polar Express, then that won’t make sense to you, and that’s okay. (But you should really consider watching The Polar Express sometime. It’s one of my favourites. I’d love to watch it with you. I’ll even make a snack or two.)
Here’s what happened.
It was a grey and windy and perfectly drab Thursday afternoon. I was feeling pretty good. I stopped at Dollarama on my way home from work to pick up a few things that I needed. On my way into the store, I noticed that there were two young guys standing by the entrance. (Somewhere between ages 14-17, maybe?) They were wearing some kind of uniform and it looked to me as though they were supposed to be collecting money for an organization of some sort. I say “supposed to be collecting money” because I witnessed several people walking in ahead of me, and not once did these boys attempt to ask for any donations. I walked into the store, collected my things, paid for them, made some witty comment to the cashier about how “the nice thing about buying a basket is that you don’t need any bags because you can just put the rest of the stuff in the basket”, put my receipt in the basket, and walked out.
Now here is the Polar Express moment.
Once I had a taken a few steps away from the door, the wind snatched that receipt right out of my basket.
At this point, time seemed to pause and many thoughts ran through my mind.
It’s just a receipt. You would throw it out as soon as you get home anyways. Let it go.
You will look like a crazy person if you choose to chase this receipt hither and yon. Also, starting to chase it and then giving up seems a little bit ridiculous. Might as well not even start.
Those two teenagers are right there and probably watching and so you should be an adult and not litter.
The rest of the world faded away, and it was just me and my thoughts, with that receipt dancing and twirling tantalizingly in the wind. I watched that receipt, resisting the urge to frantically start grabbing for it. Somehow I knew that frantic grabbing would not work.
I felt myself pause for the briefest of moments, and then I reached out…
And I snatched that receipt right out of the air.
(I’m a little bit proud of this. I am.)
From one of those guys who was standing by the door of Dollarama, I heard the words, “Nice catch!” and the only adverb that seems to accurately describe the tone in which he said it is the adverb admiringly. I turned around and both of them were smiling at me, and I was smiling (probably because of the adrenaline rush), and you know what I said?
I said, “Thanks!”
They seemed like very nice guys, although not great at soliciting donations.
And I felt like I had been seen.
Tune in later this week to read about the second experience, in which I felt “unseen” in the very best of ways.