I have arrived! A long-overdue update.

Ok, so I’m sorry that this is the first time in just over two weeks of being here that I have actually bothered to update this thing. I’ve had time to sleep in, I’ve had time to watch TV and I’ve had time to go shopping. But the blog has been neglected. We’re moving downtown on 1st September and then I hope that I will be out and about, exploring and blogging in a more interesting way (I have a few ideas of things to blog about!) but for now this is more of an update of what we’ve been up to which I will add to as much as I can. Another reason for the lack of updates is that I don’t have a Canadian data plan for my phone yet so I can’t update on the go, only via wi-fi which makes it more difficult. Anyway, enough excuses, I’ll get better, I promise.

So, here goes –

Wed 31st July – arrived after a long flight sitting next to my temporary and not entirely required friend and travel companion Jeff (think Will Ferrell only fatter and less funny) who had been everywhere, done everything yet still ordered everything I did from the flight attendants. Special thanks to Becca for taking me to the airport in plenty of time for my flight – don’t worry, I killed the time in duty free using up every last piece of sterling I had in my purse.

Thur 1st August  – went to my cousin’s for dinner and drinks and a long overdue catch up, as I hadn’t seen her since her wedding almost 10 years ago! Proceeded to get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Made a mental note to NEVER sit outside without bug spray again.

Fri 2nd August – partaking in a very Canadian tradition, we embarked on a couple of hours drive to a beautiful cottage on the Georgian Bay to spend the weekend with some friends of friends. I was a little apprehensive at first as it felt like gatecrashing, however everyone was lovely and so welcoming. We spent two days there sitting by the pool and the lake, drinking, eating and discovering my hidden talent for the game horseshoes. I might start my own league, I’m that good. (?!) We slept in a tent under some trees next to the beach, so naturally I was doused in bug spray the whole time. And still got bitten. Made another mental note that bug spray doesn’t work.

Also, I met a girl at the cottage who is from the same area as I am, went to the same primary school and high school and knows some of the same people I do. What a small world!

Tues 6th August – visited another lovely cottage for a bbq dinner with some more lovely, lovely people. Only one bug bite this time, but strategically placed on my neck. How do I not notice these damn things?!

Thurs 8th August – the 8th of the 8th and mine and Matt’s 8 year anniversary. Did we celebrate? Err… no.

Fri 9th August – my first trip on the subway and into downtown. All by myself with no phone and no means of contacting anyone. And I made it. The only thing which gets me confused is being directed to “walk south” or “walk east” on a certain street. Nobody says turn left. How the hell do you know what direction you are facing when you come up from the subway on to a street you’ve never been down before?! After meeting Liz for lunch and doing a spot of shopping, I then went to city hall to get a SIN (basically a national insurance number) so that I can work (yay). That was an experience which took from 2.45 to 4.30 waiting in line. After obtaining said SIN, I was busting for the loo so went to find the nearest one. It just so happened to be a disabled washroom near the door of city hall with one of those “push button to open” automatic doors. So I pushed the button to open, only to discover a man using the facilities having forgotten to lock the door. After that split second where you don’t know how to react, I walked away slightly only to notice that as the door was automatic it had opened fully and stayed open for an eternity before closing as slowly as it possibly could, leaving the man on view to the whole of city hall and absolutely nothing either of us could do about it. Needless to say I made a quick exit, followed some signs to some other washrooms and left him to deal with the shame on his own.

I was then massively late to meet Matt as we were supposed to be viewing apartments and I was to meet him at 4.30, even though I was still in line at 4.30 and then had the whole toilet episode to contend with. And I had no idea how far away from the designated meeting spot I was and no means of contacting Matt. So I pegged it, and I was very late and then we couldn’t find the apartment building we were supposed to be viewing. With hindsight, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we never found it. Think the hotel from Ghostbusters / Trump Towers and you’ve got it. The apartment was a bachelor apartment, which basically means studio and everything is in one room. Not. A. Chance. So we politely inferred that it wasn’t really what we were looking for and then headed to see a second place, which was marginally better but the furniture was all from a car boot sale by the looks of it and there was no room to swing a kitten, let alone a full size cat. So, back to the drawing board we headed to an Irish bar to console ourselves with a few pints of Steamwhistle, a yummy local beer. Then we moved on to a Thai restaurant for probably the nicest pad thai and green curry I’ve had. Things were starting to look up. And then we hit gold – a beautiful gelato place in St Lawrence Market which is voted the no1 restaurant in Toronto on Tripadvisor. “Restaurant” is pushing it a bit as it’s a gelato shop and espresso bar but the gelato is to die for. I had salted chocolate and I urge you to try it if you ever see it anywhere as it is amazeballs.

Sat 10th August – today saw a trip out to Milton to go bridesmaid dress shopping with my cousin and an old friend from my holidays in Burlington years ago. A great day visiting the old stomping grounds and looking at beautiful dresses, topped off with a burger and a few pitchers of beer outside a nice bar. Perfect. Until the 2 hour Go Bus ride home.

Sun 11th August –Matt and I wandered down Queen Street, looking in the shops and sitting on a few patios for a cider on the way before heading down the boardwalk and watching some beach volleyball and taking a stroll in the park.  A perfect, lazy Sunday.

Mon 12th August – (happy would be 99th birthday to my granddad Len!) After a much needed run, I took another trip downtown to view an apartment. Which turned out to be the one! It’s part of a hotel and shares the facilities with the hotel, so the pool, hot tub and gym are all on site and can be used whenever. No maid service or room service but it’ll certainly be cool to live in a hotel downtown! And I believe it is the hotel where One Direction stayed and where the actors stay when they visit the Toronto Film Festival, so I might get to meet someone important if I hang around the lobby long enough!

Tue 13th August –Today, I went for a wander and found a dollar store. Heaven! What is it about those places that is just so appealing? I spent a good half hour in there and went up and down every aisle and looked at everything. My wander turned into a 5km trek with a stop at Tim Hortons much needed by the end of it. I also picked up a cheap Canadian mobile phone, cerca 1999, which flips open and has proper keys where you have to press the 4 twice for an h. But at least I am on the map now and can contact people when I’m running late and exposing people in public washrooms.

Wed 14th August – Happy Birthday, Andrew! Today after another much needed run, I had a lazy day watching TV, tidying the kitchen and ironing. The evening saw Liz and I going to one of her friend’s beautiful house for dinner and a girly chat, which was lovely. On return, we sat on the sofa drinking beers and watching Real Housewives – bliss!

Thur 15th August – and here I am. Two weeks in and having the time of my life. So now you are totally up to date with the goings on here. It’s hot and sunny and life is good.

Sending lots of love to everyone back in the UK, especially to Emma and Chris and wishing you lots of luck for the next few weeks.

Today’s overheard conversation –

A little boy sat at the table in front of me in Tim Horton’s with his mum. A bird was sitting on a ledge outside the window. I could see it and the boy could see it, but the mum couldn’t from where she was sitting. The boy says “look, mommy, a giant bird!” (it wasn’t giant) and he points outside. The mum looks, sees nothing, and thinks the boy is lying and/or crazy. He persists; the mum gets up to look just as it has flown away. Tough break, kid!

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