Another great night’s sleep in Kitchener, Mike and Nina drove Sam and I to Sam’s apartment and we hung out there for the day. Sam worked and I got my blog going finally. At 3pm we walked 5 minutes to the bus station, and 337pm GO Bus to Milton driver proactively loaded my luggage in storage, asked if I had a ticket but didn’t check (i look that trustworthy?) hugged Sam goodbye and off to Toronto. So great that Sam is living exactly the life he wants with Julia, equal parts family friends work and social activism using all the education and experience from his past. What else could a parent want?
A bit of rush hour traffic meant we arrived in Milton late but Ashley knew so arrived just as the bus pulled in, we loaded up the car and headed for Oakville. Ashley is my oldest friend, he moved to Nepean in high school and we had some university classes together. He’s the one to thank for my 4 year UAE adventure as he mentioned that our old university classmate had a business there and that I should look him up when travelling. It’s been 3 or 4 years since I saw him but that’s nothing for old friends. He and his wife Aruna have settled in to Oakville, maybe 15 years now same house and jobs. Aruna is proudly from an upper caste Indian family and very nice personality and to talk with… but always anxious about daily life. Today she’s messaging and talking to Ash about her charity’s Christmas tree lighting event at Toronto City Hall tomorrow night, not sure if all the arrangements are made. We stop at some grocery stores to pick her up last minute supllies. Ash is the perfect foil for her, he finds this constant need endearing while she lets him plan their lives… they’ll both probably work forever and keep the same lifestyle. Ash has made a full apartment in his basement – his daughter Anjali is currently there although leaving for 2 years in England shortly – and next wants to buy some land and build a house on the water. He’s suited to his job, and his son Arjun has followed his path and settled with his family in Guelph an hour away.
I’m just staying overnight due to tomorrow’s event chaos but great to catch up. We’ll always be best friends due to our past and it’s so easy getting together. 5 or 6 years ago they came to Florida with me and Debbie (whom Aruna keeps in contact with lol) and i hope we can vacation together more in the future. It makes me happy to have old friends and see them happy; i remember when his kids were born, etc and it is great to now have time to reminisce.
In the morning (14th) ashley anjali and i headed out for the 657am GO Train – I had to buy a ticket so caught the 705 and had plenty of room to put my golf clubs and suitcase. memories of when i commuted to Toronto 20-25 years ago on the GO Train, everyone sleeping and looking beaten, boy no wonder I hated it and stopped. The GO Station is connected to both the train (VIA) and subway at Union Station so I transferred over to the subway. Great ramps for wheelchairs that made dragging luggage around at rush hour easy.
First stopped and had a bagel breakfast. Did my good deed for the day when an older lady with lots of luggage dropped her coffee lid then picked it up to re-use; now there is no way she wanted to re-use it but she couldn’t get up with all her luggage so I went and got her a new lid and she gave me a thank you and smile. That’s something i learned overseas, to be kinder, so my goal is to be kinder in general.
Entering the subway with all my luggage the attendant asked where I was from and then said it’s free today for you – when did Toronto people become so nice? – and the subway came a few minutes later.
Headed up north to York Mills station roughly 20 minutes, again weird being transported back in time to my commuting days. Terrible photo I was trying to show the new long cars. A guy my age on his morning commute asked where I was going golfing and then mentioned he and the guys just got back from Myrtle Beach. I used to go on those fall guys long weekends with my friend in Whitby Harold Huitema, 6 guys in a condo and 5 games of golf for a few hundred dollars, fun back in the day. Got out cold weather waited 10 minutes to catch the bus 95A east on York Mills Road 20 minutes to my hotel. Again there was space for my luggage amazingly as it’s wide at the front of the bus. Got out at my stop and amazingly there is a Cora’s restaurant, my favourite breakfast restaurant from Ottawa so filled up on both an omelette and dessert crepe. Walked across the street to my hotel, Westin Prince. Great hotel that I got on points from a UAE card. As it’s only 10am was hoping they’d store my stuff until checkin but blessed they had a room ready and gave it to me.
Caught the same bus further 20 minutes east to Scarborough Town Centre for a very exciting occasion – meeting my sister for the first time in 9 years! She works nearby and had reached out a month ago so it is amazing to meet. My dad got re-married around 1980 and i have 3 new sisters and a brother whom I haven’t seen much due to their mum’s insistence.
We met at Timmie’s then had a Thai meal together in the food court… ironically I used to meet my Dad with my kids in restaurants – and spent an hour talking as old friends about our Dad and lives. She teared up a few times, she was the closest to my dad and is still getting over his passing 8 years ago. She is amazingly smart and beautiful with a young family … God willing we will meet again soon and keep in touch. So great that my family continues to expand. So great to learn new things about my dad. God has given me such a life of new adventures every day I am so blessed.
I did a bit of shopping then headed back to the hotel and relaxed all night. Called the Florida car owners with meet up arrangements for the morning and relaxed. Had a great small dinner in the hotel, the wait staff were so nice, I was going to order the soup for $9 but the waitress said she’d throw it in free with the meal … she knows how to get a big tip. So great to be back in Canada where I know how things work. I left a voice message to say how much it meant to me to meet my sister after so long, so amazing I can’t explain. She told the rest of her family so God willing I will meet them soon also.
So – great day of memories new and old in Toronto.