Twelve years of living in Toronto, packed into 8 boxes. After almost a month in Toronto spent packing, working and visiting, I got back to BC yesterday morning. These boxes containing most of my worldly possessions will be arriving at my doorstep in a matter of days.
A year ago I arrived in BC and my 6-week visit turned into a year long stay. When these boxes arrive later this week, my move back to the West Coast will be “official”
While I was in Toronto everyone kept asking me “How does it feel to be moving?! Are you sad? Excited? Scared shitless?!” To be honest I haven’t been sure how to answer people. All I can say is that this move feels right. Change is in the air and I’ve decided to embrace it.
If you live in Canada or are friends with any Canadians, you are probably aware that Target is coming to Canada (cue sound of angels singing) Yes, the wholly Tar-Jet is crossing the border and moving into spaces formally occupied by Canadian retailer Zellers. When asked to describe Zellers, I told Almie:
“It’s kind of like Target….Sad Target. But instead of a Starbucks, there’s a cafe that makes the whole store smell like hot dogs”
Although it’s weird to see an icon from my childhood disappearing off the face of the earth, I’m not complaining. As Zellers stores have begun closing across the country, there’s been mass liquidation sales. Walking through a Zellers store feels like a bit like you’ve entered a bizarre doomsday-like retail experience where the only things for sale are a lone Ruben Studdard CD and a pair of tube socks. It’s like everyone is liquidating these days, including me.
I moved to Toronto 12 years ago as an 18 year old with two suitcases, 4 boxes and a whole lot of naiveté. My plan was to leave the city with the same amount of stuff I came with. During the month I was in Toronto I sold my bed, sold my couch and donated 9 garbage bags full of clothing, shoes and household items to the Goodwill. I literally cut my wardrobe in half: I sold off what I could to a local consignment store and happily handed over a bunch of stuff to Melissa who has this uncanny way of looking better in my clothes than I do. The other day a lightbulb went off and I called my Mom:
“I’M ZELLER-ING MY LIFE AND IT FEELS GREAT!”
I packed the things that mattered to me most: the books that contain my favourite stories, photographs and a few bags & shoes I’m not ready to part with, and gave away the rest. I managed to fit everything into 8 boxes which I think is pretty good considering I lived in Toronto for 12 years and was often prone to retail therapy.
Although I wince at all the money I’ve spent over the years on things I inevitably just ended up giving away, it feels amazing letting go of all the physical stuff. This “Life Liquidation” has inspired me to exfoliate more items from my life (& closet!) so don’t be surprised if you see an online garage sale happening on Skinny Dip in the near future.
My last night in Toronto was spent with three of my favourite people – Mike, Jeanne and Melissa – at one of my favourite hole in the wall Mexican restaurants, laughing and catching up over greasy tacos and cervezas. It was the perfect way to end my stay in Toronto. I thought saying goodbye to my friends here would have this sense of finality, but it didn’t. As I hugged Melissa in front of the Christie subway station, she said to me:
“Even though you technically don’t live here anymore, it feels Toronto’s your second home”
Amen to that.
It doesn’t feel like anything is ending. It’s just the start of a new (exciting) chapter.