Hey family, I hope you are all well. I haven’t forgotten about you or anything, I promise!
Nearly fell off my chair when I saw that the last time I blogged was almost a month ago, wow, how time flies! At the same time, I can’t believe it’s only been just over 2 months since I arrived in Canada. I feel like it has been way, way longer. Moral of the story is sometimes time goes fast and sometimes it goes realllly slow. Life is funny that way.
Given that it has just started storming, and I’m in my lovely air-conditioned, wifi’d hostel room, it is a great time to spend a couple of hours writing and uploading pictures.
Anyway, here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to followed by a bit of a photo gallery – because it’s always nicer to be able to connect a story or anecdote to a picture.
Basically for the past month I have been doing normal life stuff like hanging out with friends, cooking, cleaning, movies, etc. I have also spent a bit of time with relatives of our good friends back home, who have looked after me and spoiled me by taking me out to lunch at Port Credit and also to a film at the Toronto Italian Film Festival. They are also going to take me to Niagara sometime soon which I am looking forward to!
I’m also somewhat famous… :p I’m going to be appearing on a podcast made by this group of Torontonian comedians. My friend J made buddies with one of the comedians who invited us to come sit in on the recording of the podcast which was pretty funny. Once it gets uploaded to iTunes I will have a listen and decide whether it’s too embarrassing to post or not!
So yeah, nothing too exciting happening in Toronto. Still no job which has been kind of frustrating so I am really leaning towards doing more of these short trips (at the moment I’m in Montreal and I’m off to Quebec City tomorrow for a few days!), and perhaps coming home early. There is just a lot happening back home that I don’t really want to miss out on – multiple friends getting engaged, puppies growing up, breakfast dates with my lovely girls, MY CAR, Hawthorn being awesome, etc. etc. I’m not homesick or sad or anything, but like I said, there is just so much going on back home!
Okay, here are some pictures. I really struggled to cut them down to a reasonable number as it has been so long since I’ve posted anything, so bear with me. I have an app on my phone that allows me to make collages of photos which is really useful as I can put 2 or 3 or 4 photos of the same event together – helps with brevity 🙂
Canada day celebrations at Mel Lastman Square! I celebrated with one British girl, one Hong Kong born guy, a Chinese born guy, a Kenyan born guy, another Australian and one legitimate Canada born and bred dude haha. So international.
By the way, that Canadian flag is being flown on a hockey stick.
My first baseball game with J 🙂 He knows heaps about it and we’ve been to a couple of games since so I’m learning about the sport and really enjoying it! GO JAYS!!!
Hanging out with the kitties…
Here is miss Flossie hanging out on my windowsill.
And Sebastian leading a very hard life. Spoilt boy! Hasn’t he got the cutest little face and pointy little chin?
A rainy rainy barbecue just hours before Toronto experienced awful flooding! It was all a big debacle, people were without power, there was massive flooding – a big problem on the roads and also in peoples’ houses as many Torontonians have basements. I’m not sure how we managed to get so lucky, but our house was just fine, and I was at home while the rain was pelting down so I didn’t get stuck waiting for a cancelled subway or anything.
As you can see the boys had their priorities straight and kept up with the barbecue-ing – just with added umbrellas!
Not my picture but this is how flooded some parts of Toronto were.
A pretty cool city given its eclectic mix of language, culture, architecture, etc. It’s also very very strange to hear French spoken in a Canadian environment. I have mainly been speaking English because every time I speak French to people they don’t really understand my accent (even though people in France told me I basically have no accent and all and sound much like I’m from France when I speak), and I have tremendous trouble with their Quebecois accent! Much easier for all parties to stick with anglais.
By the way, I will never ever laugh at any Canadian that refers to a ‘hot summer back home’ because let me tell you, it DOES GET HOT IN CANADA! It’s been sweltering the past few days, according to the weather bureau, if you take into account the humidity the felt temperature (i.e. what it feels like despite what the thermometer says) has been 40+. I certainly have been dripping with sweat sightseeing here in Montreal and I also got a pretty bad headache the first day partly from heat/sun. While Toronto’s weather has been pretty bipolar, for many of the days that I have spent there, it has also been really really warm. The problem for me is the humidity – it just doesn’t like me. Humid days always feel hotter than what the temperature actually is, I feel all sticky and shiny and gross, and my hair… let’s just not go there :p Humid is fine if you’re in a place like Thailand or Queensland or Fiji and you have beaches and pools and cocktails to cool you down, but it honestly sucks in the middle of a big city when you’re trying to do all your errands and stay looking decent.
In short – before I came here I would have laughed at what Canadians think of as hot weather, but as an Australian, it’s even hot for me.
First stop was the Jean Talon farmer’s market. This was absolutely fabulous – local, fresh, beautiful produce. There were also samples for pretty much every fruit and vegetable at each stand, so you could try before you buy. I bought some lovely strawberries (not as good as Pa’s, but close), nectarines, peaches, cucumbers and bananas to snack on.
See those plates kind of suspended over the fruit and veg? Those are the plates of samples.
Perhaps it wasn’t the most obvious first choice as a tourist, but for a foodie like me, a farmer’s market is a guaranteed good time.
Second stop – Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal). It’s almost like stepping into France, the architecture and streetscape is completely different. Of course it’s a tourist trappy area so you wouldn’t eat at any of the restaurants or anything, but it was really nice to just meander around and look at the shops.
After those two places and some lunch, I headed back to the hostel and proceeded to experience an awful migraine, so the afternoon was kind of lost 😦
Tuesday, I bought a ticket to one of those hop-on, hop-off tours. I did the loop which took about 2 hours, then the second time around I stopped at a few places. I couldn’t even count using all my fingers and toes how many people stop and point and laugh at the big red tourist bus driving around Montreal, I mean get real! a) as if it’s the first time you’ve seen it if you live here, and b) it’s a good way to get your bearings, get a feel for the city, hear some information, and it’s very convenient to get around to all of the major attractions, knowing that a bus comes every 15 minutes.
The Latin Quarter (Le Quartier Latin)
The Village (Le Village) or The Gay Village
l’Oratoire Saint-Joseph (St. Joseph’s Oratory)
Wowow this place was extremely impressive, it’s way more humungous than it looks in pictures! It’s on the top of a hill and it’s a bit of a hike up all the steps to get up to the church part but very impressive.
“Reserved for pilgrims climbing on their knees”
Crutches and walking sticks supposedly left by people who were miraculously healed by Brother Andre of St. Joseph’s.
A squirrel friend.
Basilique Notre Dame de Montreal
Very ornate inside as you can see.
Driving down Mont Royal, a hill/mountain thing in the middle of the city that is a big park.
At night, the girls that share my hostel room and I just chat and share stories about our home countries and stuff, it’s really fun 🙂 I enjoy hostelling actually.
Today I wasn’t really in the mood for sightseeing (so over the heat) so I went and treated myself to brunch and a pedicure.
Things that I do want to see in Montreal next time I’m here:
– the Jardin Botanique (Botanic Gardens), there is an absolutely incredible exhibit of sculptures there at the moment. Click on this link to see:
– Mile End, a hippie neighbourhood
– the islands (well, Montreal is a big island, but the smaller islands that have parks and some other cool things on them like the Biosphere)
– Schwartz’s – a Montreal institution, where they specialise in Montreal’s stereotypical dish: Montreal smoked meat. Given the hot weather, there just wasn’t a time where I was in the mood for a huge, heavy meat sandwich.
Well, that’s it for now, and I will try and edit in the pictures very soon. Tomorrow I’m off to Quebec City which should be lovely!
Missing and love everyone.