My partner recently asked me while chatting affectionately over brunch, what my first few months in the city had been like. He was referring to September of 2016, when I moved from the Oshawa suburbs to the Ryerson Campus to live and study my Journalism degree. At the time I was still 17 awaiting a late October birthday, I was painfully quiet, and worst of all I perceived myself to be in love with catholic boy who was casually homophobic and liked looking at himself in the mirror. Even though I had taken his supposedly protected virginity in the back of my mom’s car two months prior, he was too embarrassed to introduce me to his parents. We had been dating for a total of four months. And I clung to his attentions because I was living away from home for the first time. I was lonely, and felt in over my head.
But I was still a writer, and was enthralled with the notion of being a city girl so I wrote this blog post. I wanted to announce the exciting new start of my life in a manner both short, and funny, while maintaining the less comfortable truths. This post is what I first thought of when my partner inquired after my initial experiences in the city, and I passed my phone over his steak and eggs so that he could read it for himself. (It really is a short read).
Now I’m pondering how my life here has changed in the years since. I’ve graduated from the very program I reference in that post, a year later than I expected to. I’ve been in and out of love with multiple boyfriends, heart broken, cheated on. I’ve had a whole slew of different jobs, and lived in a whole slew of different places. Of course, my interests have evolved too. I’ve found that my confidence has grown out of the quiet demeanour that used to contain it. Sometimes these days I need to remind myself to hold my tongue instead.
Overall there’s been too many changes to note, but should I try to lay out a typical day for myself in follow up of my first edition— it would look something like this… Consider it an amalgamation of typical days.
- Begrudgingly hoist myself, reigning queen, out of bed at 11 am, after 8 hours of sleep because the bar I work at closes at 2. Quickly hide feet under the covers because the cat is hungry and about to begin nibbling on feet.
- Say good morning to the king. Yes, I think I’ve found a king— one with as much love of this city as I. The King forgets to hide his feet and curses because the cat is nibbling on his toes.
- Satiate the cat with wet food (wet food in the a.m., NOT dry food, insists the cat).
- Morning run for coffee. The barista says she loves my tattoos and I thank her. I’m almost finished building up my floral sleeve, and I get this compliment a lot.
- An Orthodox Jewish man says Happy Holiday to me as I pass him closely, and I wonder what holiday it is. It feels like a regular Sunday. His two young daughters traipse behind him with croissants in hand.
- A homeless woman asks for spare change, and I do have some. She’s gracious and wishes me a good day.
- I pass by a vintage clothing market: an outdoor festivity that has taken over an empty lot every Sunday of the weaning pandemic summer. Lot’s of young, cool girls are shopping overpriced, though well curated vintage pieces. I buy a chunky chain necklace adorned with the words BAD in big letters. I had been eyeing the piece with a sort of awe but had confided in the vendor (@jiggly_junk) that I wasn’t sure I could pull it off; that I used to be painfully quiet but in recent years had found myself outgrowing that nature. She encourages me to try it on, and next thing I know I’m buying it. She calls me a baddie as I walk away, and I feel congratulated.
- At home, I sit down in front of the window to journal, or blog. Or read? I find it hard to allocate my free time. But the September breeze is perfect, and I feel at ease next to the window. The cat does too.
- If I’m working, I travel on bike in the early evening. Lots of people are out walking and I find myself internally cursing at far too many passerby. Get out of the f***ing bike lane, wear a god d@mn helmet, signal for chr!st’s sake! ****! I bike fast, and don’t like to be slowed down.
- In Korea town the owners of the restaurant that I work at communicate to me in broken english. The man who cooks at the grill beckons me over and points at a piece of meat that I don’t recognize. He says “eat.” So I eat. He asks if it’s good, and I say yes. We both smile and he points again. “more, eat!” I think he’s concerned about my weight.
- I work for tips. On the patio, a group of three Italian men are using google translate to point to things on the menu. They pay for their meals and drinks with two $100 bills, and I hand them $50 in change, divided into fives, tens, and one twenty. They pocket the change and leave me a Toonie. Inside the bar, an older gentleman is falling asleep watching the election results. He’s drank 6 or 7 beers and tries to tip me $50. I say, “that’s ridiculous sir, I’m going to get you change”. He doesn’t recognize the difference, but manages to leave me $15.
- I leave several hours later with a decent enough wad of cash.
- The King and I decompress from our evenings in a similar fashion. We share a joint, have a late dinner, and fall asleep watching a movie.
- If I buy anything the next day, I do so with cash. The King and I are both service workers. So we pay with cash.
- I have an interview with a woman who I follow on Instagram. Over coffee, I am excited to speak with her and say “like” a lot. I’m still trying to stop doing that. I hope to post the interview on my blog.
- Now I may or may not be in a thrift shop. Though mindfully second hand, I do have a shopping addiction. I justify this with the city queen title— after all, I should have an iconic wardrobe… and I do.
- In cowboy boots I strut to the subway station. I’m meeting the King for Dinner because we plan to move in together soon. We are both intense people and I worry that the speed at which we are progressing will mean that I forget to let it feel special. So I’ve asked if we can go on a dinner date, so that he can ask me to live with him as if it isn’t already a given. I’m excited, and conclude this blog post just as I’m running out the door to meet him.