the brighter side of the big city

My last post didn’t speak highly of Toronto, but in my world the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” does not apply, and after spending a couple of weeks here, I like it better. I went for a couple of morning runs in Queen’s Park that were quite nice, despite the thunder and lightning, and there I experienced some greenery that was actually real. And on Tuesday night I went to see a live production of Billy Elliot which was absolutely fantastic…something that I couldn’t do in Victoria. As my sister said, it was a good “big city” thing to do.

I took the subway each day to work, and it’s a pretty efficient system that isn’t too expensive. I wouldn’t want to be down there on my own at 2:00 in the morning, but with the rush hour crowds it’s just fine. Especially when you’re riding the opposite way from most of the population (i.e. I could always find a seat).

And for me, just being more familiar with something does endear it to me. I got to know the few blocks around the hotel, and had I stayed any longer I would have done some more exploring by way of more runs (it was too hot last week to do this).

So as I sit at Pearson Airport waiting for my flight, I think I’d be quite happy to come back here if work dictated. It’d be so much easier this time round, knowing things a bit better. But for now I’m feeling pretty darn happy about the fact that I’m heading west. To my husband, my son, my daughter and my home.

home away from home

I’m sitting in the Billy Bishop airport in Toronto in the nicest airport lounge I’ve ever been in. Comfy chairs, dividers between each group of four chairs, individual lamps for reading…it’s very impressive. Although no wi-fi. The airport is right in the city on Lake Superior, and I had to take a five minute ferry to get here.

I’m on my way to Ottawa for the weekend to see my sister and her family. It’ll be nice to hang out in a home instead of a hotel, eat home-cooked food and be around family.

I’m almost half way through my 12 days away, and it’s a long time! The work is going well. I’m not in over my head as I thought I’d be, although I have to be “on” all the time, so it’s tiring. This is the first time I’ve ever spoken with real end-users on this particular project (it’s an application I’ve been involved with for over three years), and it’s interesting to see their perspective.

My hotel is in downtown Toronto so there’s lots to see and do, but I have to admit to not doing a whole lot. Partly because I’ve been working in the evenings and partly because I’m enjoying sitting in my hotel and having some time to myself. Oh, and partly because it’s HOT. Especially in the middle of a concrete jungle. I can’t say that my impression of Toronto is positive. It’s dirty (perhaps the lack of rain causes that?), it’s stinky and so far the only greenery I’ve seen is fake plants. The Hockey Hall of Fame is within walking distance so I am hoping to take that in before I go. And I want to Eaton Centre last night. Nice mall, but it’s still just a mall.

I’m obviously missing Greg and the kids, but Skypeing with them has helped. Not sure if it’s helped Amy and Elliot as all they want to do is play with the effects on Greg’s webcam, but it definitely helps me to see their faces. The last couple of times we’ve chatted Amy has wanted to see my go to bed. So I point my camera towards the bed, climb in and turn off the lights. I say good night in the dark and then Greg disconnects. Then I turn the light back on and get out of bed. It’s pretty funny.

I imagine Greg is tired but he hasn’t complained at all. I know how much work it is to be the only parent for a week…and that’s the longest I’ve done it. He is camping with Elliot this weekend while Amy is at Gramma’s so hopefully that’s a bit of a break for him.

There are definitely pluses to being away for a bit. Yes it’s hot, but it’s nice to actually have some summer weather for a while. I haven’t worn a jacket or a sweater in six days. And last night I have to admit to having a big grin on my face as I sat down to room service (the food at the hotel is good), a beer and Season 7 of Entourage.

But I’ll be happy to be home.

i’d rather be somewhere else

I’m at the Victoria airport waiting for a flight to Toronto. I’m going for work and I’ll be gone for two weeks. I’m nervous about the work I’m going to be doing, I’m missing my kids already and I haven’t seen much of my husband this weekend as he was away.

I’m crossing my fingers that tomorrow I’ll be able to write a post that says the work IS something I can manage. I’ve known about this trip for over a week and I’ve been fretting about it ever since.

Also crossing my fingers that the two weeks goes by fairly quickly for me and that Greg and the kids don’t miss me too much. I know I’ll miss them a lot!

the extinction of a word

I don’t know what Elliot’s first word was. People have asked me, and I was paying attention at the time (he is my firstborn, after all) but I don’t think he actually had one. There were several words that came out all at once. “Car” (big surprise), “ball”, “moo”, to name a few.

Amy’s first word, without a doubt, was “Aiya”, her version of Elliot. It came well before any others. We’ve heard it sung sweetly, we’ve heard it screamed, we’ve heard her say it countless times. And then about a month ago, out of the blue, she called her brother Elliot. And yesterday I realized I haven’t heard her say Aiya in at least a week. She doesn’t say Elliot the same way we do, it’s more like Elleeyut, but it’s definitely close. It’s still sweet to hear, but I will miss Aiya. A lot.