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Canadian flag

When I moved to Canada to start my MA, I knew I didn't want to live in dorms anymore. I gambled on finding a place to live when I arrived, perhaps encouraged by University of Toronto brochures. In retrospect, my confidence in finding a place seems rash, although it did work out. I made a reservation at a B&B in Cabbagetown for my first six nights in Toronto, and off I went.

The B&B was both inexpensive and one of the few which had six consecutive nights available with only a week or two's notice. It was a house on a leafy street with two bedrooms for guests and shared bathrooms. The hoteliers, lovely people, generously let me use their number as a contact point in my search for a place to live. They took me to an art exhibit opening party, given by friends of theirs.

Their generosity was such that it always felt a little awkward to come down in the morning and be seated on the patio, under an umbrella, and be served. Each morning, a newspaper of my own awaited me. There was a bowl of homemade granola, mounded with fruit. There was a fresh muffin and juice. The air was cool and fresh and - given I was in the middle of a city - green.

I spent my days househunting, and by the fourth day had found somewhere to move in. I stayed out my six nights in the B&B, however, time to work out the logistics of moving in somewhere new - rent, buying a mattress, and all the paperwork of settling into a new department and a new degree.

On the last day, the hoteliers got out a box from a drawer and gave me a little Canadian flag pin from it. "Welcome to Canada", they said. We said we'd stay in touch, but I never sent them more than one postcard.

Today, in London, in England, I needed a Canadian flag for a photo shoot. I know I have some paper ones on sticks somewhere, free, courtesy of Canada Day, but where, I'm not sure. So instead, thinking it would be faster, I printed out an outline of the Canadian flag and colored it in with red pencil. And as I sharpened and colored, I thought about my little Canadian flag pin, too small to register in the photo shoot, but otherwise perfectly representative. Welcome to Canada - and I was.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
I love the story--it's rare to find people and hospitality like that.
Mar. 26th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
I really lucked out, in having supportive hosts AND in finding a place to live so quickly when the Toronto housing market was at its worst. (It had been deregulated no more than a year earlier, so prices and competition for space had, by all accounts, just risen dramatically.)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 26th, 2007 11:26 am (UTC)
And now, thanks to yesterday, I have a bonus Canadian flag! The question is: will I ever need one again?

Yesterday was lovely. Thank you for organizing such an ingenious project.
Mar. 26th, 2007 10:08 am (UTC)
Ah, finally worked out who you are on LJ.

Mar. 26th, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
Hello! When you only know me by my first name, I'm not very obvious here.
Mar. 26th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)

I've just friended you, so I thought I'd pop by and say Hi. We met on Thursday (when I was drunk and blue-tongued) and yesterday and you've just joined my lunch club, so hopefully we'll see you on Wednesday for burgers!

- Caroline
Mar. 26th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Dear Blue-tongued Caroline,

Hello! We did indeed, and I'm looking forward to Wednesday!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )