For most of last year, Toronto felt like a place I was being held hostage in. I didn't venture far beyond the half mile radius around school, my apartment, and the grocery store. I was desperate to get away any chance I could. When I went home for the holiday break, I pretty much pretended it didn't exist. Getting back on the plane to return in January was hard. I cried most of the flight and the first night back I went to see a movie by myself and imagined that I was anywhere but back in the city of misery.
Then this summer I had a full detox from nearly everything related to school and Toronto and when I returned, it was to a lovely trip in cottage country and a fresh start in a new apartment. This year feels so completely and fundamentally different from the last that it's hard to believe I'm in the same program (well, most of the time) or the same city.
So today, I boarded a plane for the States and was not a little surprised to find myself sad to go. I was super excited to see my partner, of course (hi, D), but it actually feels like I've built a real life in Toronto, with people who are starting to feel a bit more like home. And while I love the city streets and great food and quirky Canadian things, the people are really what does it for me. My tribe. Which was harder to build than I thought it would be at 30 in a new city, even with the huge ice breaker that graduate school provides. But here I've found amazing people who I can cry with, dance with, drink too much wine on a Wednesday night with, struggle through Operations homework with, explore Canada with. The really good stuff.
I still miss Seattle deeply. My family, my friends (who sometimes know me better than I know myself), the mountains, the Sound, the damp winters. But Toronto is, for now anyway, home. And it sure feels fine.