….where the heart is?
….or where your stuff is?
….or where you hang your hat?
….or where your family is?
….or where you make it?
For me, home is at about 43° N lattitude and 79° W longitude: Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is easily one of the most diverse cities in our world and one of the largest in North America. People of the area refer to it as T.O., Toron’o (that’s a silent “t”), and the GTA (greater Toronto area).
My first trip to Toronto was my first step out of the Deep South, out of the United States, and into another country. Now, 10+ trips later to the GTA, I’ve identified many differences, but have chosen to name three of the ones that are important for actually making any place into a future home for ME.
Head for the hills! Toronto has hills. Anyone who has ever driven down U.S. Highway 61 through Mississippi (where I’m from) and into Louisiana (where I live) knows that once you cross the state line not only do you lose the home of the delta Blues, you lose the scenery. Southern Louisiana is as flat as a starfish’s ass. Toronto has hills similar to the ones I grew up around and that I occasionally found a miniball or an arrowhead in as a child. I like that.
Places to go; people to see: Toronto has lots to do. You can go out for pizza at midnight (!). Everything isn’t closed on Sunday (!!). You can buy alcohol that is not necessarily beer on Sunday (!!!). You can shop for true vintage in Kensington Market or for high fashion in Yorkville or for Kraft Dinner at the Dominion near the corner of Lawrence and Yonge. On my most recent trip to Toronto, I saw 3 concerts on 3 separate evenings of my 7 day stay, probably the most going out I’ve done in a good long while.
Oh, the places you’ll go! Toronto has alternative modes of transportation. In the Deep South, everyone drives. US I-10, US I-55….those are your friends, and you get to know them well. I’ve never driven in Toronto, but I’ve seen a lot of it via the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). I love the TTC, but not when everyone and their grandmother are leaving a show at Molson Amphitheatre and trying to get out of the rain into one street car. I do not like it during quittin’ time, either. Yet the fact that you could live some place and actually not have to have your own personal pod to get around in is very exciting for me. Poor people, in-the-middle people, and well-off people use the TTC. People even bike and walk around Toronto in relative comfort.
“We’re the continental! Oh yeah!”….Toronto has a lot of diversity. In one day in Toronto you could come in contact with someone from every continent or within earshot of as many languages. Sometimes it is overwhelming which usually results in awe or annoyance, more often than not it is the former. I generally have no idea what the hell is being said, but that’s ok.
I often wonder where everyone is from and how they all got to 43° N lattitude and 79° W longitude, but it’s cool that we can all be smooshed into the subway like sardines and not kill each other on a daily basis. And lo and behold, we all actually get where we all want to go.
That said, my stuff, my hat: in Smalltown, USA. The family I was born with: Anywhere, USA. But my heart is in Toronto. I admit it, I am odd and probably a pinko-commie, tree-hugging, part-time, black person, too (read “Affirmative.”). So when I am in Toronto, I don’t fit in, yet I do. The exception is the norm, and it would be nice to call a place like that my home.
And with all of that said, home is definitely where you make it.
This I believe.
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