Monday, September 01, 2003

Oh, Caaanada

I am back in Canada. Surprisingly, I am missing Scotland much less than I thought. All the travelling before flying out to Toronto probably helped and I am also really enjoying discovering Toronto. While I may have lived outside the city for a long time, up until now really all I have done is taken the subway somewhere. Now I am becoming familiar with all the big intersections and am slowly developing a mental map. Real Torontonians find me a bit funny (Jas...), as I have bought myself a Lonely Planet to the city, but I am only here for two months and I do want to make the most of it.

I flew back on a Friday, with only three hours of sleep under my belt to prepare me for a day with five extra hours in it. I seem to have started a habit of going out to the pub the night before early morning flights-not the most intelligent habit in many ways. However, how could I miss one last night at Sandy Bells, listening to folk music, and blethering away... I couldn't of course.

I spent the first weekend in Bolton, finding out that my dog is very, very deaf (and looks stupid clipped, don't try this with your Shelties!). Otherwise, Bolton is familiar but so different, so it is an odd place to visit again. I managed to hook up with Sarah and Amy in Bolton and we went to Mainstreet for a couple of drinks. It hasn't changed!

Then over two days I moved some stuff into my gran's house (really just a lot of dirty laundry from my travels and a CD player-so the essentials). It is a very bizarre room I am staying in. If I ever get access to the internet and a scanner, I will post a photo because this room really has to be seen to be believed. First off, there is a totem pole in one corner. Then there are the fox tails on the wall, alongside a wooden plaque with a hunter's prayer. The wallpaper is a mixture of newspaper design, and horses riding out to the hunt. A macrame owl, an interesting colour of carpet, and it's a basement room with fun fluorescent lighting. But it's in Toronto (ok, ok, North York) and it's mine for the next two months. I can't express strongly enough my desire to have my own place again-well, Alan can be there too ;).

So, of course, my first days in Toronto I went shopping. I threw out so much stuff in Scotland, since much of it didn't seem worth paying excess baggage charges to transport. However, a surprise purchase on my part was a suit (which I bought in about a half hour of shopping, rather quick really). I know, I know, shock horror, Amanda has caved and bought a suit. It is remarkable how long I have managed to work in banks without one, and I thought with interviews in Vancouver just on the horizon it would be a good idea. The funny thing is, I actually kind of like it... I fully intend to wear funny shirts underneath it of course ;)

I went down to drop off resumes around temp agencies, and got signed up with one of them on the same day. They made me do a series of tests and I was shocked to only score 60% on the grammar test! Worse, some of the answers were only scored incorrect because they were in the passive!!! It isn't actually wrong! However, the only other one I was crap at was the one on Microsoft works, and considering I operated a Windows 3.1 system all through uni, I am quite proud of my 55% score. They are such funny tests they have you do at temp agencies.

This all happened on the Wednesday, so imagine my surprise when I am woken at 8.45am Thursday by my gran and am told I have a call. The temp agency wanted me to do a one day job, and wanted me to go asap. I ended up doing reception for a day. My TTC route knowledge being limited, the agency called and told me exactly how to get there. Which was good, until there were power problems on my way home. Our streetcar stopped, so I walked to the subway, it stopped. They sent another, we went a bit further, it stopped. I had to grab a completely different bus back to Lawrence west-took me over two hours for a one hour trip. Hence, the purchase of a guidebook with maps.

For Labour day weekend, Janice came down from London and so we headed out with Vanessa to grab lunch at Marche. Janice and I went to see the Tom Thomson exhibit at the AGO, which was great as I got the advantage of all her history of art class knowledge. I really should have tried harder to fit that class into my schedule, I am thinking. Today I met up with Jas and we went to the Gardiner Museum of Cera mic Art (as Jas said, it is about as interesting as it sounds) and then met Vanessa for some shopping. And I finally saw the Magdalene Sisters at the Bay-Bloor theatre
(ok, now I am totally just showing off that I can find my way around the city!). It was phenomenal. The film, not my map reading ability ;) (or apparently, my grammar...)

So, all I need now are some more temp agency positions, and to get back out of Bolton (I need to fix my bank account here, I didn't use it enough for their liking, it does only have $6.90 in it). Scottish people, beware, Canadian banks are just as bad as the English when it comes to accepting Scottish pounds. It was not an easy thing to change my last 10 pound note. The teller seemed convinced the Scots were actually on the euro and only the English use the pound still. Don't these people read newspapers... (even if they did, I think the brits are right, our news is dumbed down, even in the papers. I may need to start buying British papers over ere if I want to read something really intelligent). Feel free to take shots at me over that comment, Canadians, but I do miss the BBC... And channel 4 news... And the
Guardian and the Herald, and the Scotsman...

The TV over here isn't interesting me either (so Alan, I am totally not up for your "lets buy a TV for the year that we will live in Vancouver" because it isn't worth the cable costs!). Ok, maybe this is contradicting my earlier statement about not missing Scotland...

I also the use of a cell phone for a bit (I hope for the next two months if I can avoid giving it back to my mum for that long). I have tried texting you British folk, but I can't make it work (or you are evil and are not responding to my texts!), so if anyone can manage to text me, maybe I can figure out what I am doing wrong. And it's back to cybercafes, since my gran isn't wired up yet!

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