3 Weeks In: Thoughts on my Toronto Home
It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Toronto for three weeks already.
My sense of time since I’ve arrived hasn’t been the most accurate: somehow long days of learning code makes for some really short weeks.
At times it feels like I’ve been in Toronto for an eternity. My home in Halifax feels incredibly far away right now, and I had to ask Ryan what our address was when I was sending a package home the other day. Granted, we’ve only lived there since December 31, but I still can’t believe I forgot. There are times when I feel incredibly homesick for Halifax and even though there are 25 others in my class who are quickly becoming some amazing friends – it is hard sometimes not seeing a familiar face around. Despite the occasional homesickness, I am learning crazy amounts of things, discovering this crazy city and all of its quirks, and meeting some inspiring people.
Here’s a picture my instructor Wes Bos took on the first day of school (I’m on the left in the second row in the middle). It’s crazy to think that this picture was taken just three weeks ago when we were all pretty much strangers to each other, it definitely doesn’t feel that way now.
I feel so lucky to be working alongside of everyone in the course and the HackerYou team, it’s such a diverse crowd but when you’re all going through a 9 week bootcamp with lots of screen reading time, you tend to find ways to bond.
After finishing class on Tuesday evening, we cleared out another classroom space and turned it into the HackerYou yoga class featuring our awesome instructor Kathryn Bruni-Young, who is going to whip us into shape over the next 7 weeks. After being downtown for 8 hours, it’s really hard to motivate myself to get to the gym when I get home. Having the gym come to me once a week is so incredible.
We tend to take healthy habits pretty seriously over here – Wednesdays are salad buffet days. Each person brings one veggie and one carb or a protein and then at lunch hour you set up a giant salad bar. Wednesdays are easily my favourite day of the week because we end up with such an awesome range of food that I would never think to put in a salad.
I really can’t stress enough how much I love going to school every day at HackerYou. It is a million times more effective and fun than just doing a “regular” college certificate program where I only have class for a few hours a day and little time to work directly with my instructors and get familiar with my classmates. Plus, I got to try Google Glass! Spoiler alert: it wasn’t that exciting because the device wasn’t fully set up just yet, but it’s definitely weird hearing the voice coming from inside your own head. Bone conduction sound! The future is now.
Aside from school, I’m slowly acclimating to the city of Toronto. Maybe it’s because I arrived in the dead of winter while the city was experiencing the effect of the polar vortex, but it definitely wasn’t love at first sight. Toronto’s vastness and bitterly cold weather combined with a remarkably draconian transit system has kicked my butt more times than I’d like to admit. For someone who is used to either biking or walking almost everywhere – getting used to taking 2 often overcrowded subways in the morning is a little bit difficult. But I’m slowly warming up to it. As the weather gets warmer I’m hoping to get my hands on a bike and that should take my commute down to a mere 20 minutes from the 45 that it is right now.
Also, this is the view at the end of my street. Worth the commute? I think so. Despite what I had heard about Torontonians being the Canadian New Yorkers, everyone here is amazingly nice. Strangers are so kind everywhere I go and have helped me out many times when I’ve been a true Toronto rookie.
Lastly, this is my home for the next couple of months! It’s a quirky apartment on the top two floors of this building that I share with 3 other people. The building is part of a larger co-op on my street, so it has a real neighborhood/little village vibe to it, which I really love. I’ve acquired two cats living here, as they belong to my roommates and they are hilariously named Jesus and Judas. Jesus is a girl and she is almost never around as she prefers the great outdoors. Judas however, is the worst cat I’ve ever encountered and has no redeeming qualities.
So there you go: Toronto so far! Of course, there is much more to come and it will be interesting to see how my feelings for this city evolve over the coming weeks.