This time last year was the first back-to-school period that I remember when I didn’t actually go back to school. I’d been on the same yearly schedule for over 20 years, so it felt odd to spend my end of summer days packing for England and watching Buffy and Angel and figuring out how to ship my cat across the world.
Now I’m back in Toronto, back in my old routine, getting ready to go back to my old school. Everything feels mostly right, but just a little bit off. Things have changed and I’m used to change (I might not like it but it doesn’t usually surprise me), but they changed while I was away so I didn’t have a chance to get used to the changes themselves. Bloor Street has a barber shop called The Man Cave and Book City is empty and gone. The school that was going to become condos is now condos. It all just looks a little bit different. And I’ve changed. I pronounce the word “pardon” differently and I sometimes say that I’m not bothered instead of saying that I don’t care. Subway rides feel ridiculously short in this city. I rarely have time to settle into a book before I get to my stop. I don’t mind not having an hour and a half commute to and from work, but I already miss the view from the train and the company from the colleagues I’d meet up with at Clapham Junction. I don’t know if I made the right decision in coming back. I don’t know if I would have made the right decision if I had stayed. But I’m here, and I’m happy, and I’m excited to feel leaves crunch under my feet soon.