Toronto, 27th May to 5th June

First, apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been a pretty busy boy, and the few hours I’ve had to myself, I’ve either had to do Uni work, CSIRO work, or sleep (usually in that order :).

How do I sum up Toronto? It was one of the most busy and best one-week holidays I’ve had. For those of you who don’t know, the main reason I went there was to attend my cousin’s wedding. It was a traditional Hindu wedding (you can find some photos on my gallery site) and was absolutely wonderful. It was possibly the only wedding reception that I attended where we had two hours of speeches and dancing before dinner was served at nearly 10pm, and I wasn’t bored in the least. I got to meet and catch up with cousins who I haven’t seen in 15 years; you know when you meet up with some friends from your childhood and you’re so relieved and happy that you just click with them? That’s what it felt like — one of those natural highs that keeps you going for days, multiplied by every single one of them I met.

Apart from meeting up with the relatives, I of course also visited Dom and Zoe, who are very much settled in and happy in Toronto. I got an excellent reminder of just how nice it is to live in the heart of a city: a 10-minute walk brings you to fantastic cafÈs, excellent shopping, and even the water (for those Australians who miss seeing the ocean glitter during a sunny day, like spoiled old me).

Amongst other things, I met up with the esteemed Wolfgang Thaller, the Glasgow Haskell Compiler Mac maintainer, all-around far-too-clever person who knows a hell of a lot about everything, from World War I to Alpha Centauri to s Objective-C and C++ wizardry. Plus, Wolfgang didn’t even yell at me when I was half an hour late to meet him at the bus station (oops). Nice chap, he is! We ended up soaking up the sun on a rare sunny Toronto day at Harbourside, which is just south of CN Tower, drinking lattÈs, tea, and beer, and consuming a most excellent 600oz steak for dinner. (I still don’t get Canada’s units of measurement, by the way: make up your mind whether you use metric or imperial! Metric preferable.)

The other surprise to come in Toronto was meeting up with an old friend of mine, Astrid Fauchon, for those of you who knew me 10 years ago and remember her. For those who want the details, feel free to email me, but I’m happy to say that it was really good to see her again, and that it gave closure to one of the only bits of my life that I felt never really wrapped up nicely.

The most interesting bit of the trip was really feeling all the events happen together: I just had a great time. I was getting probably an average of 4-6 hours of sleep every day, and while I was a little stressed at times, I was really glad I was kept so bu. Catching up with cousins and old friends and just clicking with all of them felt wonderful, and drove the point home that friends and family really are the important things around. I’m really lucky to be able to see all of them again, and I guess it changed my perspective on things a little. A trip like this reminded me that making the trek halfway across the world to see friends and family is so much more than worth it, and all the nervousness of not seeing them in 15 years and worrying about whether you’ll get along well is often gone in the first few seconds. Here’s a toast to good mates!

Update: I’ve posted some photos online of Toronto in general, Jennifer and Ashish’s wedding, and meeting up with my cousins.

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