I will always remember the first time I came to Toronto.
It was in 2002, after our crazy long trip from Mexico to Brazil. I had never been to North America before and I wanted to see Canada, so I flew back to Toronto with Feng. It was February and I didn’t have any warm clothes after a few months in Latin America. The only jacket I had was a thin leather jacket I had bought in Argentina during the Peso crisis. Feng had warned me: it was going to be cold.
We flew from Rio de Janeiro to Houston, and then from Houston to Toronto. I stood in the airport’s arrival lounge for a few minutes mustering the courage to step out. It didn’t look that cold.
I walked outside and started to cough. The air was so dry and the wind was so cold it felt as though I had walked right into a giant freezer. My skin was burning and I couldn’t keep my hands out of my pockets for more than two seconds. We took the subway and walked to an hostel. Later that night, we had a North American style meal in a small dinner. It smelled of wood and coffee. I loved it.
We walked around in the Eaton Center, had a coffee at Starbucks, spotted fun graffitis and observed people. A few days later, we had taken the Greyhound to Ottawa.
Every time I go to Toronto, it reminds me of my first time in Canada. Back then, I had no clue I would eventually immigrate there, and then become Canadian. Funny how life turns out sometimes.