Goodbye, Toronto.

Goodbyes never play out the way I expect them to. How can I tell someone that I’m going to miss them? That I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me, and that I’ve enjoyed and appreciated their company? …and how do I do that without creeping them out?

Goodbyes are my weakness. I’m the kind of person that needs to think about the words I want to use and the way I want to say them. I can’t string complex thoughts in the moment, and goodbyes deserve better than my poorly thought out see-you-laters and peace-outs.

So now I’m here at a bus terminal, surrounded by strangers and a strange sense of peace that has allowed me to collect my thoughts. I feel like I can finally say those things that I want to say.

I am not afraid to begin my second year at ICO. I’m actually pretty excited. I am only afraid that things will change so rapidly from this point forward that I could forget where I came from- my roots. So, this goodbye is dedicated to Toronto, and in a way, it is the ending of a big chapter in my life.

Dear Toronto,

We haven’t always gotten along. Your bus service is the bane of my existence, and for a long time, I resented your often late or missing buses. But home doesn’t feel like home without the sound of buses passing by every 10 minutes right outside my window during peak hours. And home doesn’t feel right without the hour-or-longer bus rides I need to take to see my friends or do anything even remotely stimulating. You have, in a strange way, helped me develop selective hearing, zen-level patience, an ability to temper my own frustration, and a love of reading, all of which have served me well on many occasions.

You are a beautiful city. I recently visited the Lakeshore and those rocks I used to climb as a kid, where I would stand at the top and watch the cityscape from across the lake. The shore has changed in the many years since I’ve been away. I remember vividly how freeing it felt to be there, with the wind sweeping along those curving paths and the water dancing along the paths. Now, it is over shadowed by a row of newly built skyscrapers. The place that used to seem like my little secret is now teeming with joggers, cyclists, and young families taking selfies on the beach (if you can call it a beach.) It is bittersweet, knowing that the Lakeshore is no longer mine, but at least you are not lonely anymore.

We have had our differences, but Toronto will always be my home. I will miss you Toronto. Thank you for raising me.

Before I left, I took one last walk around my neighbourhood and watched the moon sitting serenely up in the sky. I took my time breathing in the still-sweet air- literally sweet from the cookie factory down the road.

Toronto, I have known you for over half my life, and although that may not be as long as some friendships out there, it is among the longest that I have ever had. We had lost touch over the years when I went to undergrad at Waterloo and in that time, I had also unknowingly lost my creativity and imagination. It has been a joy for me to rediscover these in your presence. You have inspired a creativity I have not had in a long while. We don’t always agree on everything, but that’s OK. I have learned a lot about my biases and broadened my horizons. I am excited for the things you will discover in the coming years and I am proud of what you have accomplished these past few months. We will be going our separate ways for now, but “with friendship, we can do anything.” Until next time. We will always have call of duty and energy drinks.

Goodbye, old friend.

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