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The International Writers Magazine: The Return of Tabytha Towe

Learning to Love Toronto
Tabytha Towe
I have clearly gone well over my expected time limit of living in Toronto. By March 2011, it will mark my two-year residency here! I certainly did not expect to be sitting here 21 months later, after having to leave my life in Australia so suddenly and thinking that I would have been on the globe trot already. To be just sitting in this place with a cat, a lease and a boyfriend is a surprise. Commitment was not part of the plan! (And yes, I do still use "Pay as You Go" for my cell phone.) 

Recently however, it appears that I have finally let myself be settled. Only took me a year and a half to sort it out. Nonetheless it does not mean I have everything figured out, only up to this point I have accepted 'staying' here, calling it my back yard and having no doubts about it. Yet I do still have that inner voice telling me I'm not totally convinced that this is ultimately where I should remain.

Upon day one of arriving back in Canada (which I left in September of 2007 and returned in 2009) I was adamant it was to be a temporary visit. I wanted to see the province of Ontario for my first time and to catch up with long, lost friends. But I also needed to get a job  'asap' to ensure getting my ass back on to a plane and then, you know, frolic on other continents. I was just going to give this place for a couple of months until I could tell what my finances would allow to pursue other soils, and until then just enjoy as much of what I could of this city.

I very passionately want to travel as much of the world as I can, especially after having spent nearly two years in many glorious countries where I felt at home. Coming to terms with the realisation that travel isn't a race is hard. Realise that I actually will have more opportunity to once more taste foreign climes, and colorful food and drinks; to dance to another beat in the street, to hold a conversation in another dialect as much as can be expressed, to see a new people and walk a mile in their shoes. I need to experience different cultures and get lost in exotic places as I learn more and feel those emotions. Well yeah,  that is what I want! But I can't expect to have it all now, really.

I am very fortunate to also have had all of that travel before, and the pleasure of meeting others along the way that shared adventures with me, which I'll never forget. However, like a lingering aftertaste, one always wants more. Not to sound too much like a glutton, but it's like an emptiness that's always hovering over you, to feed off of that anticipation again, it can make one mad I think. 

Today, getting older, I'm panicking that time is expiring (forgive my melodrama, but yes I do concern myself with the fact that I'm in my last couple years of my twenties), but I've also learned that it's not a "now or never" circumstance, not only for travel destinations but also in life. I was so anxious to go to the next place that I forgot to jump into everything that Toronto has to offer. I had one foot out of the door since I arrived and never really gave it a chance because I was so eager to leave rather than to get grounded. Canada itself is quite multi-cultural, but in Toronto, Ontario, it's presumably the worlds most multicultural city. Therefore I can see many faces of races every day, listen to Portuguese music on Dundas street if I want, or eat Italian meals all along College street then go to a cool little bar where I get to listen to wicked, live bands at my local watering holes. I mean I could join a Brazilian dance class if I wanted to and I love to shop in Kensington Market for fresh ingredients....

There is something happening here all of the time and I have been lucky to go out and try these things within a few blocks or a subway stops away. Only now have I come to appreciate that fully. This is not to say that many places do not offer the same, only that I took it for granted that I could do it here too. Let's not forget to mention the amazing people I have met and befriended and love to pieces here either.

The route of a (then) heart broken girl new to a city from another beloved city (Melbourne) having been torn away from people who pretty much became my family, this was all extremely tough, especially because I chose not to come home (Vancouver) first to see my own family and friends when I was so close to them being in the same country an' all.                                                                                 
I managed to get the job I heard about and wanted within a month upon arrival, so at last a schedule was falling into place. So when I got work all I did was work, and between shifts I would just go out and basically drink or read anywhere I could find 'cause it was new and exciting. I met great people and soon enough moved in with friends so then I was coming together a bit more, rather than couch surfing and complexly broke ass. With a bedroom to myself, a busy job and a social vindication, my heartache seemed to alleviate. Back then I was going out all the time or even just going to bars alone, entertaining the idea that I had to do it all hard and in the now because I was going to go somewhere else soon anyhow. Of course I still do have a lot of fun, but for the moment while I'm still here, the last nine months I have had someone to cook dinner for and have coffee with in the mornings. If home is where the heart is then he is where I will be...for now.
He can come with me to the next nesting place though.                                                                         
My heart has been stretched so much it may have cellulite from being pulled so far across, but every person and moment is worth it. Love well and prosper, because life is too short and once in a while you'll never know when you'll get to see someone again. Things change, memories last, a mind can be re-arranged and time goes too fast. Make the best of it or fake the rest of it!
During the winter months I tend to get a bit, err, aggravated lets say. That's a fucking lie I hate the cold, period! Sure the snow looks pretty for one day and I like to wear toques cause they are cute, but windy, stinging temperatures hitting your face is not fun. I don't have a car nor the funds to take off up North for a few days to go snow boarding, so day two when it becomes mushy, grey, dirty city snow, then it's slippery and ugly and can go away already. For some reason that depresses me a lot. I crave sunshine in my life. I haven’t rode my bike in nearly two months, am getting out of shape here! All I do in winter is hibernate cause I cannot frolic in these conditions. Gimme sun and I'm up and at em!  Although I have learned new soup recipes and caught up with many movies.

So yeah, just turned 28 years old and 2011 is here to kick me in the butt and say "smarten up, do something!" For example, I could finally quit smoking like I've been saying for a decades already. I could grow my nails and learn Spanish and play more than 3 chords of guitar. I could be a great girlfriend (which I honestly am) and petition more for the wellbeing of girls in Africa or fighting cruelty against animals (which I also do) but then again, I could also be more involved in projects I care about. I could also try to pay off my debts and go back to school... likely story. Would be nice though. I just need to do better.

Right now despite the misery of my thoughts and the weather, I am quite content. I am actually comfortable here in my new home with my boyfriend (I know, the scary B word!?) and I'm even comfortable in my own skin. I have it pretty good, a wonderful, loving partner and room mate whom adores me, does not judge and whom I can have a great time with no matter what, that is very important to me. To have a decent work establishment to work where I have fantastic colleagues and get opportunities to grow in the industry. That is relaxing, (except for when the politics get stressful but hey, isn't that every job.) To live in a character neighborhood close to what I need and can walk around naked in my flat if I want to.... yes, will be just fine here and can travel when I please, even if it isn't this second or 40 million miles away. Plus, many flights from Toronto are quite cheap! I've got away a few times, tell ya all about it....
after I meet my man for a glass of wine.
Cheers! Till next time, and Happy New Year.
© Tabytha T Feb 1st 2011
tabythat at

Tabytha arrives in Toronto
Tabytha Towe

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