À bientôt, Toronto

And just like that, on a blustery afternoon in late October, a journey that began six months earlier—the summer but a promise, the future wide open and entirely uncertain—came to an end.

The farewell, bittersweet.

As much as I derided Toronto during my stint as a resident, I came to appreciate, even like the place. Big, bustling, a beacon for all those looking for a fresh start, a bit of fun, a next step, a new phase—I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in the Big Smoke.

At turns exhausting and exhilarating, hectic and hilarious, heart-breaking and utterly brilliant: this was my Toronto.

To my Brüs and fellow Belongers, thank you for your camaraderie and your gallows humour, for your supportive advice and welcome criticism, for schooling me in “would you rather” and in honest work, for the chance to prepare some great food together and have fun doing it.

To Brad, thank you for such an incredible opportunity, for the faith you placed in me and the confidence that it instilled in me, for the openness with which you welcomed me into your Belong family, and for inspiring me with your ethos of sustainability, of community, of belonging.

To my flatmates, thank you for making our house a home (even if it was a chaotic one) and a hub for like-minded souls, for being so loving and so familial, for giving me endless memories of mornings, afternoons, evenings and late-nights.

Most of all, thank you to the indefatigable, incomparable Charlotte. Without you, none of it would have ever been possible. You are a dear friend and an incredible cook; your passion infectious, your creativity inspiring, your heart enormous.

I’ve never been a big fan of farewells. I prefer the promise of meeting again, of reuniting with friends old and new, of picking up where we left off, of keeping the bonds, once forged, unbroken.

À bientôt, mes amis.

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