If you haven’t read part one of my Toronto recap, do so now. It’s important to understand the first part of the journey as I am picking up where I left off.
After the magic that was Rep Tour Toronto, Mom and I met up with dad outside the stadium. I know, I know … how is it possible he didn’t want to see Taylor??? He enjoyed walking around the city and resting in the room while we were at the show. Concerts aren’t always his favorite and it’s easier to buy two tickets anyway.
After a quick walk back to the hotel, we knew we wanted to get a drink in the lounge. We sat on the terrace for a minute which is really beautiful but the night was hot and humid and we all felt like hanging in the air conditioned lounge.
Josh was our waiter in the lounge and he couldn’t have been nicer or more knowledgeable. Though they were out of their frozen margarita, they made Mom a regular margarita, Dad had whiskey, and I tried the frosecco. Major yum! We also had some truffle fries with real truffle on them – no fake truffle oil there! And some vanilla soft serve with caramel sauce. I totally dipped the fries in the ice cream because that’s the best way to eat fries and ice cream.
We headed up to our room a little after one in the morning. I was as wired as ever, logged into my Netflix account (after snapping some pictures, naturally), and watched Like Father, a cute movie and the perfect thing to watch to unwind. I put Gilmore Girls on when the movie was over and drifted in and out of sleep. I love Gilmore Girls … and also the fact that it has a habit of lulling me to sleep.
I woke up early, around six, and watched some news while Mom and Dad grabbed a few more moments of peace before the craziness began again. Mom and I got dressed and checked out the Lounge upstairs at the Ritz with spectacular views of the CN Tower and surrounding water.
We met back up with Dad and headed to the Four Seasons for breakfast. Though we could have eaten breakfast at the hotel, since I don’t travel a lot, I don’t know if or when I will be back to Toronto, and I wanted to see more of the city. This was also my chance to check out one of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants, Café Boulud to be exact.
It wasn’t very crowded, but I suspect their brunch is more popular than an early morning breakfast. Still, we had a great waiter and great food. There was a small issue with some moldy berries, but the chef hand picked new ones and the item was also removed from our bill.
The omelets were outstanding – not a speck of brown on them. The housemade sausage was also a delight, and they make mean almond milk cappuccinos and regular lattes. I am craving another one right now. The heart and tulip designs blew us away.
We returned to the Ritz once breakfast was over. I wish we would have had time to stick around and check out some shops, but as it was Sunday, they didn’t open for several more hours and we needed to get on the road before long.
We stopped at Starbucks, because I just had to check out a Canadian Starbucks, and no surprise here, it was awesome. Though I couldn’t get to all the spots on my list, partly because of time, partly because there is only so much alcohol, ice cream, and caffeine I can consume in a 24 hour period, I definitely wanted to hit up Sweet Jesus. My desires were intensified when everyone we mentioned it to raved about it. We took a walk through town to find it and thought it wasn’t open yet. We decided to drive back just as we were about to hit the highway.
We packed and checked out. The nice lady who checked us out said she didn’t want us to leave, and we didn’t either. It was everything I hoped for from the trip and more. I would happily return to this Ritz and possibly others in the future because it was a delightful experience.
We did head back to Sweet Jesus and found that we didn’t have the correct building the first time around and it had been open. First time in a new city, ya know??? No big deal though, as we ordered a strawberry vanilla twist and a vegan coconut soft serve affogato. It was everything people said about it and then some. The ice cream was smooth and flavorful but not artificially so. I really can’t think of a better way to begin a long drive than with some ice cream.
After some major construction issues (and I thought we had it bad in Michigan), we were back in farm country with the wind turbines dotting the landscape. Finally, it was back to the bridge, this time the Ambassador Bridge, a bridge we have passed numerous times, a bridge that on this Sunday at about five o’clock stopped moving. All the lanes. Again, so close to our destination and yet so far.
My theory is that it was a shift change and so all the lanes came to a standstill for at least ten minutes. Regardless of the reason it was annoying, disheartening, and stress inducing. Suddenly the lines began moving and it actually turned out Dad had miraculously chosen the right lane. Our customs official was friendly and got us through and back on the highway quickly. Dad got us home the rest of the way even faster.
With the adrenaline that had been pulsing through my veins since we left depleted, I was completely and totally exhausted. The drive both there and back was brutal and suddenly my anxiety was questioning every single thing I had done. With a good dinner and a little time to rest, I calmed, but even when I was upset, anxious, nervous, I never once regretted the trip.
I am so glad I went. I still am living on the fumes of it because it was one of those absolutely perfect moments I want to remember and cherish forever and ever. The thing that I always thought would happen after a vacation, even one that ended in the blink of an eye such as this is the letdown, the return to reality.
And it did happen. Is happening. It’s why I want to talk about the trip, tell everyone, I’d shout it from the rooftop if I could. It’s not because I want to brag, but because I enjoyed myself. I’m proud of myself to be honest. I felt alive, free; I didn’t worry or overthink anything, I just did and it was EVERYTHING!
I am searching for permanent changes in my life, and it’s easy for me to see this as a temporary event. Now that it’s over it has no effect on me I sometimes think, but that’s not true. It can’t be. I did something that I haven’t done in twenty years. Something that terrified me. something I seriously thought I might not be able to ever do. And I did it. Furthermore, I liked it. Loved it!
The trip might be over, but a huge step like that will forever be a part of me. I am different now. I don’t quite know how and I might not for a long time, but there’s no way this didn’t alter my being in some significant way that is going to guide and help me through the next phases of my life.
And to think it all started with a text, an idea, and a whole lot of Taylor Swift music. Taylor, look what you made me do. And thank you for it. Thank you also to my parents for doing this with me and for my friend Jay, I highly doubt I would have done this if we hadn’t have met. Though I still have bad days and probably will no matter the circumstances, I can genuinely say I am excited to see what happens next.