24 hours in Toronto

So, I began my one and only free day in Toronto auspiciously by being sick as a dog. I think the combination of stress up to the moment I got off work on Friday, wonky diet lacking in nutrients and some environmental changes left me vulnerable to the first bug to come by. But I had activities planned, waiting to be executed!

First up, after shutting out Lil Sis for a day and a half, working on my assignment in her apartment, we went out to Markham to have Japanese pasta at Shiso Tree Cafe where we tried in January to go with laughable results (they were closed to go on vacation while Mum closed shop to go on vacation to Toronto and try Shiso!). I called in advance and they were indeed open (but not on Mondays) and at least we could get pasta – dessert availability was another question for later. I mulled over the menu for a while – one Japanese pasta and one Japanese-influenced Italian sauce? We went with both Japanese and their famous nori fries, the latter which Lil Sis couldn’t stop munching on. Cod roe spaghetti in a lightly spicy cream sauce was a really good dish. The shrimp cream of corn was rich and garlicky and you could really taste the sake used but it stuck a little too much to your throat. The fries were well dressed in Wafu. And we did get our creamy black sesame creme brulee dessert.

 

 

The next morning, I took the last morning GO Train out of Richmond Hill and learned that one is much busier than the earlier one I used to take – I had to walk  to the next train to  find a seat.  It was on the train, approaching the city, and no other time in the day, when I felt emotional about leaving all of this. Not when I walked my usual path on Bay Street and not when I walked in the path with the Bay Street crowd.

I took the morning downtime to visit a medical clinic at which I am registered because it’s harder to get to my clinic in Vancouver since I no longer live  it.  The wait – with time spent playing Candy Crush – wasn’t so bad.

At first, Cous and I were going to meet at his usual Starbucks but I learned of Dineen Coffee opening recently and it was a happy hour spent in the new shop in the beautifully restored building. The servers need another week to get the lay of the land but it was good. We got caught up on our other cousins, recent travels, favourite new apps, the usual stuff.

 

Soon after, I head to Guu Izakaya on Church to meet up with Carol for lunch. Guu didn’t have the izakaya menu for lunch but instead it was bento boxes and ramen which suited me fine, too, for the occasion. On a small patio on a slightly overcast day, I got in my “Patio Time” and caught up with Carol about work, colleagues, the future, her plan to vist Vancouver in a westerly trip in September and party plans. I try to keep party planning talk to a minimum, or its deserved proportion.

 

Carol told me that it was photo day at work and while she wanted to avoid it, I entertained thoughts of “photobombing” it because I no longer work for that office, or doing the uncanny and appearing in two offices’ photos! That didn’t happen at all because we were waiting at the wrong location. In any case, I was headed to  to the old office anyways to say hi. Six ladies surrounded me asking and wanting to hear about my new life and then I felt so self-conscious being the center of attention!

KK and I made a getaway and went downstairs to Starbucks and it happened to be half-off frappuccino hour(s) so I got their limited edition mocha cookie crumble with chocolate whipped cream. Couldn’t resist. Also caught up with KK on work, family life and house hunting, which we’re both involved in. I can’t wait to show her the Vancouver office and the city when she visits in July.

Then it was time to visit colleagues who had transferred to the other downtown office have and ended up walking into a party! They were celebrating the end of busy season with an office-wide party and I didn’t feel bad taking anyone’s time away from work! The reception area became a bar, hors d’oeuvres and candy were plentiful and music was blasting. There were different games stations and I tagged along and got caught up with my colleagues, thoughts on working in the new office, and our next steps. It was cool seeing them in a relaxed element, letting the alcohol in them talk but I didn’t actually have any at all.

The work party tied me through to the time when LV was off work and we decided to head out to Etobicoke for dinner. On the way, the car overheated and we spent the bulk of the time arranging a tow truck and a cab ride back to LV’s condo. We picked up shawarma at Liberty Shawarma, the place I was always curious about and ate them in the comfort of LV’s place. It was like old times, and since it was only four months ago I left, we all thought it was like I never left. Although the earliest I will be back again is in December 2013/January 2014, I want to keep that feeling going.

On this day..