Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Strange Place for the Summer

I haven't managed to mention this to anyone else yet, but Peterborough, because I'm arriving in the summer, seems to me like an eerie mix of Esteli and Edmonton (the two places I went on my Canada World Youth exchange) - its lush greenery reminds me of the climate of Esteli, while its used bookshops full of paperback romances and buses always zooming around remind me of Edmonton.

By the way, everyone and their dog seems to have a vacation or escape plan scheduled for July, and I'll be working. For a person who used to be swept up by wanderlust, this is torturous. Can't complain about money rolling in, though.

Friday, 26 June 2015

In Toronto Again

So I'm in town with some folks who hate Toronto and think that Torontocentricism is a thing (which it really is). Yes, there are too many suits, too many cars and too much noise. But I see moments in which, amongst the anonymity, I observe a nod from one subway driver to the next upon shift changes. Amongst all those people craning their necks into their smartphones and stuffing their ears, I observe a woman reading a book, and the woman next to her looking over her shoulder to take a peek at what she's reading. These are hardly what one could call intimate moments, and yet I feel that because, within a crowd, they are silently shared between two people, they are heartbreakingly beautiful - they slow time down amongst the bustle.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wake Up and Smell the Artificial Sweeteners!

One thing I do notice as I settle into Peterborough is the wafting smell of the Quaker factory as I walk down the street. The first time I noticed it, I had already read a post about the smell. But I at first did not connect it to what I had read. I passed by someone and thought, "What strong perfume they've put on!" but then the person had gone far away and I still smelled it. That's when it clicked that it was such a weird strawberry-like artificial smell. Today, on my way to work, I smelled a sort of burnt toast, and then on the way back it smelled like maple sugar. I've written before that I associate smells strongly with places - Hong Kong with sewers, Reykjavik with sulfur and the like, but what will I associate with Peterborough? Breakfast?

Road trip

The past two weeks, I've been driving between 3 cities in a sort of triangular fashion, about 2 hours away from each other.

Fun times to be had commuting at 7am then working until sometimes 8pm! In any case, the most memorable thing of this road trip was my realization of how much gas costs not in environmental or political terms, but the dollar value of it. I drive one-way and it's already costing me $25-$30! I'd rideshare or wait for a bus any day now. At least on a bus I can read or sleep.

Then again, on a bus, you can't take your own detours. I drove through several routes and small towns that I've never been through before. I'd forgotten what southern Ontario farmland looked like. These are idyllic landscapes that are quite contentious: some of the best farming land in Canada, I heard. Why are so many houses being built, I heard. People shake their heads. Many layers to this issue: multiple levels of government, developers, people moving in and looking for cheap housing, people moving out, people staying, no consultation with people who were there before...then again, there wasn't consultation before indigenous peoples all over the world were colonized, and not for those on Turtle Island, or even if there was "consultation", the power was not in those people's favour.

Speaking of power, the thing that I remembered the most about this road trip was noticing how much roadkill there is out on the road. I'd see so many every day. Anyone have any statistics as to what percentage of animals die due to being run over by cars?

Monday, 8 June 2015


It's always stressful to pack. After less than one year of living in Kingston, I am moving to Peterborough to pursue one of my dream jobs.

I am moving to increasingly smaller and smaller communities. Montreal was about 1.6 million people, Kingston was 120,000 and Peterborough is 80,000 (I don't count the metro areas).

My first impression of Peterborough is its greenery. It's full of trees, probably because it's summertime. It's a city (if what counts as a city is 80,000!) surrounded by farmland and I think that's the gorgeous part of it. It reminds me of what the Greater Toronto Area once was.

It's two hours away from Toronto, which seems like forever.

I think I'm trying to find community, but I'm a bit hesitant. I'm an urbanist at heart - will I find enough city life? The Peterborough Public Library selection is already disappointing. I tried searching for a number of books but they don't have any of them in their catalogue. Getting a bit nervous about that. They don't have an independent movie theatre, either.

So what they lack, they make up for in ____________. It's up to me to fill in the blank!