A Different World
Sitting here and typing away with a view of the Toronto skyline amazes me. While the view is spectacular from where I am, what truly amazes me is how different my life has been from my last blog entry to…well, now.
Back then (September 2010), my view was my gardienne’s courtyard which were fenced off by intricately winded plants. They have a dog as big as a pony, and a cat as big as a dog – no kidding! I have always wanted to ask our gardienne if her pets were genetically modified or something, but since my French is…uh, elementary, I never got to ask. Good for me, I guess! Oh, I also remember that if I wear my glasses (I have such bad eyesight), I can also see my retired neighbor’s uncoordinated flower pots in full bloom from her window sill. At first, it bothered me that her pots and plants were mismatched. It goes against my idea of beautiful, which is having to see a certain rhythmn and cohesiveness in what I am looking at. But having to live with her mismatched garden for a year, I have come to see how it lends that typical french charm in our neighborhood. In fact, I think I will get myself some mismatched pots in memory of my neighbor. Oh, there’s also this guy from across the courtyard who takes the time to put all those half-naked victorian statues around his plants. He has a whole courtyard for himself and that is definitely a big bonus if you’re living in cramped Paris. He has such a pretty little garden that watching him rearrange everything — plants, statues, and little fountain included — every Tuesday morning is quite a treat for me. Well, I also have a neighbor who cleans his balcony wearing nothing but his thong! That is not a typo, I really did mean “thong”. I guess everybody gets an odd neighbor every now and then. :)
Fastforward to now (May 2011), I am taking in the beautiful Toronto skyline from the 18th floor. The view is cosmopolitan, but there is still more than enough green patches to calm a mom’s racing thoughts. I love it that Canadians managed to marry nature and city-life so well that neither one or the other is overbearing. Before coming here, I am not really so fond of nature trails, children’s park, and splash pads. I am more of a “boutique” girl and you cannot blame me for that — I can’t resist what Paris has to offer for the past two years! But since moving here, I must say that I gravitated towards the “greenery”. Where I live, we have an abundance of well-maintained parks and I enjoy taking my daughter there…weather-permitting. I am over the top happy with the community centers here, too. I was warned over and over again that I will die of boredome here in Canada…but that is so untrue! At the community center, I was given a 300-paged schedule book of all the activities that my family can sign up for. We did go for the parent-and-tot swim class because my daughter somehow got this idea that she’s Little Mermaid. When she starts going to school, maybe I can somehow fit the jewelry-making class in my mommy-schedule!
There is one thing, though, that I terribly miss — great food. I cannot help but notice that fastfood joints are still a booming business in this side of the world. That is the only thing that makes me sad. It has become very tricky to find a good restaurant here in Mississauga. In the four months that I’ve lived here, I have eaten in 16 different restaurants, and the only restaurant that has made it in my list is Cora’s — but I am still hoping that they’d soon use organic produce. I am confident and hopeful, though, that Canadians will soon move towards healthier and sustainable food options. I guess that will just be a matter of time since organic groceries like WholeFoods, Planet Organic, The Healthy Butcher (to mention a few) are expanding their businesses in Ontario…I guess that means more and more people are gravitating towards organic produce. Yey!
Before I turn this post into a “wellness campaign”, let me just say that on nights like this, gazing out into an entirely different skyline, a part of me still misses the charming allure that Paris has…but looking far into the night, a part of me is glad to be able to finally plant roots in this beautiful Canadian soil. I just hope that we’ll soon have an equally spectacular (organic) cuisine in this side of the world — sorry, just can’t resist!
Good night everyone!