Hi everyone, I hope you’ve had a wonderful week as of yet. As I sit here in my empty apartment spending a few last hours to myself, I’m reflecting on all the things this city has offered me since May 2014. I guess I should start at the beginning so you guys can truly grasp how emotional this is for me. At the time I was 18 years old, confident, bold and ready to take on the world. I had no fears so to speak of, I hated the dark but had faith in life and the universe taking its proper meant-to-be course. I knew if something didn’t work out, a new opportunity would present itself. I just had to keep my eyes open and all would be okay. So it was late one evening after a long shift at work, serving a group of 100 people that I had decided I wanted more. I wanted more than living at my dads, being yelled at for being away from home too often and not walking my dog. I wanted more than going to visit my boyfriend and driving home every time night fell. I wanted more than going to school not knowing what it was I was doing or why I was doing it. I wanted more than to be told what and when to do things. I wanted freedom, I wanted independence and I wanted to prove to everyone who questioned me that I could and I would do what my heart desired. So that’s exactly what I did.
In less than four weeks my life had flipped upside down. I was on a crazy adventure which I didn’t have the time to stop and think about. I had applied online to become a flight attendant and shortly after I found myself interviewing by phone, driving to Toronto from Montreal to do a group interview and finally arriving home for a medical clearance. Within a week, I had started a 6 week intensive program harder than anything I had ever studied before. Thankfully my training took place in Montreal so I didn’t have to move until after my first flight. Anyway, my boyfriend, Tyler and I had decided that long distance was not going to work out. As the weeks past we prepared ourselves to say good bye to one another. It was a very sad time for the both of us as we were not ready to be apart from each other. We had been each other’s rock for the better part of 4 years at that point. However, Tyler knew he couldn’t win this one. I was going one way or another. It wasn’t to leave him, it was to leave Montreal and start my life which had felt so stagnant and so old.
Our service training came to an end and it was time for me to have my first flight. I was using up all my savings in hotels when my dear friends Mel and Jessica took me under their wings. I stayed with both of them a couple of days. I couldn’t thank them enough at the time so here it goes again, Thank you Jessica for opening your family’s home to me in a time I felt lost and alone. Your kids made me feel so welcome giving me a spot to sleep in their bed! Mellisa, our friendship grew quickly after I stayed at your parents house, you barely knew me, in fact you didn’t think I liked you and you still opened the door to me. I’m so glad we became friends and that you, kev and franky have become part of my Toronto experience. Please don’t be a strangers now that I will be living in Montreal. You’re very special to me and I look up to you!
The moving day approached, I got a call from the owners of the apartment I wanted to rent to which they explained to me they believed I worked for an escort service and didn’t think it was safe for their children. I know, I know… how did that come to be I have no clue. On minute I was a kid trying to better my life next I was apparently an escort? I was shook to my core, terrified I’d fail at finding an apartment and experiencing some of the worst Toronto traffic as 2 lanes on the 401 had been shut. I stared to cry as I made my way back to Montreal when all of a sudden my car started to over heat. I had never experienced any car issues before so I had pulled over onto the shoulder to let it cool down. Within minutes police had speeded up behind me and told me to get back in my lane. I pleaded with them that I was having car issues to which they replied to get off at the next exit. Getting off at the next exit took over an hour an a half. By that point my eyes burnt and I knew I couldn’t drive anymore. I pulled off the highway right after Yorkdale and found the nearest hotel which happened to be a Novatel. I parked my car underground and made my way to the lobby to fetch myself a room. As my luck had it, you needed to be 21 to rent a room but the guy at the front desk was more than an angel and realized I had been having a horrible night. Before asking anything further he handed me a key card, swiped my credit card and rang me the bill. I didn’t realize until the next evening when I checked my credit card statement that he had given me a massive discount on top of not further questioning my age.
The next day went smoother. I had woken up at the hotel, went on kijiji, called the first decent apartment I found which included the following key search words “apartment near airport Toronto” and rang up the guy. I stated I was 18, moving out on my own, responsible, a flight attendant and that I could provide first and last. Within 5 minutes he called me back letting me know that his wife and daughter approved my dog Oscar. A few days past and I rented the Uhaul, I had asked Tyler to drive it for me because I couldn’t drive my car and the Uhaul too. He agreed so kindly and decided on the spot that he would come with me. He had decided that our relationship was worth this adventure and that he was ready to move in with me even if the apartment I had chosen was just meant for me. So that day we packed my stuff from my dads, we stoped at his house to pack his stuff, we stopped at my moms in Ottawa to get the rest of my belongings and he headed off into the night. By 11 PM we were stuck in traffic in Toronto with a Uhaul and not much else. We called our new landlord hoping we’d have a place that night to which they greeted us with a bottle of rose and a drawing made by their daughter saying “Welcome Home Jasmine and Tyler”. My brother Noah, had joined us and was a massive help getting us settled in.
It wasn’t long until I was gone away for the summer flying to places like Barcelona, Dublin, and Athens! Before you knew it, it was October and I still didn’t know my way around the city. I had traveled so much that summer I didn’t even know where the highway was without the GPS. Tyler had settled in, stared school and worked full time. My schedule simmered down and we started to appreciate our own city even more.
I’d be lying to you if I said I loved it right off the bat. I didn’t. I didn’t know what my favourite restaurant was, I couldn’t find good pizza & I didn’t have a local bakery to count on. It just wasn’t home for a long long while. We searched and searched for things to enjoy but found ourselves lost and wasting money all the time on new foods and adventures.
It wasn’t until year two that we felt at home in our new city. Shoutout to Adam P. for taking part in my toronto experience with out even knowing it. One day we flew together and you had told me about this awesome burrito place you had gone to the night before where they gave you all the extra rice. So I took a mental note of what it was called and that evening Tyler and I headed to our local Burrito Boyz and indulged in what felt like the first great fast food we had in the city. Burrito boys have become a staple every week in our house hold. We are so upset Montreal doesn’t have any!
Next up, Haider or whatever your name is! Thank you for being so kind to Tyler when he bought your motorcycle by bringing us all the way back to Brampton. Tyler had little to no experience and you recognized it was traffic time and not the best idea for Tyler to ride. We then when out to eat at one of your local hot spot which has also become a popular go to in our home. Yes, we make the drive from Brampton to Scarborough for Luckys Hakka Chinese Restaurant.
I will also miss how late Walmart stays open. I know this seems like something so small to you guys but, in Montreal Walmart closes at 9 on weekdays and 5-6 on weekends so compared to our GTA Walmart being open till 11…. that limits us big time. Both Tyler and I hate doing groceries in stores that our busy so we usually wait until 10:30 PM on Tuesday night to grocery shop. So long late Walmart trips!
Have I forgot to mention traffic… While I won’t miss being stuck in traffic, I will miss the sense of the city being busy because no matter how late at night Toronto and it’s 400 series highways always have a lot of moving vehicles. Just last week I drove on the 15 in Montreal at 11PM and it was like driving in a barren city. No one was on the road, I even found it hard to stay awake since I’m used to being in such a fast moving environment.
Lastly, amongst a list of other things that don’t make it as high as these… I will miss the people. So far everyone I have ever met here has been so kind and open hearted. I really loved being a part of the city, I never felt excluded or outcasted. I love that everyone spoke a common language. I loved that everyone was so multicultural and that people didn’t see in colour. Everyone was equal. I loved that during my time here when ever someone found out I was from Montreal they said something along the lines of “so, you know how to speak French? That’s so cool!”
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed my post. I will be reviewing burrito boyz and all my other favourite restaurant very soon! Stay tuned to be the first to read them!!! Once again, thank you Toronto and the GTA! My time here has been great!