Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maple Syrup and Hockey, eh?

I never thought Canada was my type.

Or at least I didn't think we would hit it off like we did. I mean, I always figured it would be nice, but nice in that kind of 'we could be friends way,' not the 'I want to spend every waking moment in your presence kind.'

It is a love affair, my relationship with travel–some countries will set my pulse racing with excitement, while others draw lukewarm feelings, no butterflies in my stomach.

But you can never really know a place until you visit it, go out at least once.

That seemingly quiet and simple country could turn out to be packed with all kinds of colorful delights and adventures once you get to know it; things you might never have otherwise discovered.

That was Toronto.

The warm summer days were filled with sights and culture, and the equally warm nights with an array of worldly cuisine and cozy bars.

A quick subway ride brought me into Mirvish Village one particular evening. Trees partially camouflaged the charming, old-fashioned buildings. There was something comfortably quiet about this place even though the restaurants were packed and the bars filled.

We ventured to the end of the street and took a seat on the patio of the Victory Café. The wooden, almost picnic-like tables gave the place a relaxed feel. It really was cozy. In my world, cozy usually depends on how nice the designer couches and chairs are in the place. But this was a different kind of cozy, the company also made it that way.

We ended up chatting with the groups of people on either side of us (sure it was after a couple of shared beers by each party, but so what?)

Marcus, a sweet-faced, glasses clad guy to my right was especially friendly. We fell into deep conversation about life, politics, and misconceptions as they exist both in Canada and the United States.

Being a traveler himself and having experienced other places, he tells me, "I really do love it here, Canadians are just nice people. We actually get made fun of by the States for being so nice."

I was ashamed to admit I had heard a joke (or two...) of that nature.

Marcus's chipper friend decided to pipe in when he heard I lived in California. In all seriousness and enthusiasm, he turned to me and said, "California? So do you hang out at Venice Beach and go rollerblading?"

I looked back at him with the same seriousness and enthusiasm and said, "Do you love maple syrup and play hockey?"


I didn't think so. We both laughed when he realized the silliness of his comment and the mockery in mine.

Sure, there are Californians that go to Venice and rollerblade, and I am sure there are Canadians that love maple syrup and play hockey. But not everyone does.

Travel is the most supreme education. I shudder to imagine the things we would run around thinking of places and people if we were never to experience them and learn that there is so much more than what little we might know.

Marcus ended the evening by saying, "It was nice chatting, eh?" I smiled and said yes. He smiled back and said, "Yes, we really do say eh."

While some things might be true, there's way more to this place than maple syrup and hockey.


Eurotrip Tips said...

Great post! I love the storytelling tone you used.

I'm glad you like our wonderful land. Let me know if you visit Montreal. ;)

p.s. maple syrup is an heaven sent. not the plastic bottle kind. the can kind. mmm.

Tara said...

Thanks! I can't wait to visit Montreal! The sad part is that I never even got to try the maple syrup! Definitely next time.

canuckingabroad said...

haha I like it yank, I like it.

Tara said...

I'm glad ;) Thanks for stopping by and for the comment!

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