Saskia de Wildt
Having Your Pumpkin Pie And Eat It Too
Fall lasted exactly two weeks...
Before I could even wrap my head around the beauty of the changing colours and dig my teeth into my first pumpking pie, the temperature dropped and snowflakes started falling - and didn't stop until Kingston was covered under a think blanket of snow. Winter is here alright. And it's probably not going anywhere soon.
Maybe everything just goes faster when you move to another country. I can't believe I've been here for over two months now without having had the time to stop and write about my first impressions. It's been a bit of a whirlwind.
In a sense it feels much longer than two months. I have managed to find myself a cosy downtown home, new friends, a favorite coffee spot, a really cool roommate and a new drag community. In not one, but actually two places here in Canada.
'Somewhere' in the city
As the citygirl that I am, I need my regular cosmopolitan injections. So I divide my time between Toronto and Kingston.
Kingston gives me mid-sized town charm, friendly community vibes and university life, where Toronto gives me worldly, fast, high(er) paced city bustle whenever I crave it. Perhaps it is this double life that caused me to not know where I was half of the time in my first two weeks after arriving in Canada
I would get invited to parties and stayed over at places that I would still not be able to point out on a map. I would either jump in- and out of a cab, someones car or a bus stop to walk into someones house for the next adventure. This is a testimony to the welcoming and accommodating nature of the Canadians of course. Many of the people I met in my first couple of weeks have become friends in the meantime. But little did they know when they originally agreed to hang out with this Dutch ginger.
To give you an impression. I was invited to a 'lesbian houseparty' in Toronto, then attented a dragshow in an abandoned warehouse at the fringes of Kingston, found myself buying a wig in the house of a wonderful crossdresser and her wife while enjoying a glass of red wine, competed- and won a dragshow in a town called Picton and joined a climate march at Queens campus.
Obviously this all took part next to finding myself an apartment, opening a bankaccount, getting my papers in order for uni, starting classes and venturing into my first experiences as a teaching assistant. And sampling the local brews of course. Somebody needs to do the dirty work....
Crack popcorn and other goodies
So, after descending straight into winter and being too busy to email your friends and family back home, what's the good stuff - you might ask?
I've got one word for you: 'Popcorn'.
Canadians sure know how to do popcorn. My roommate Alex exposed me to chicago mix in my vulnerable first weeks. Little did I know that other Kingstonians calls this snack; Crack popcorn - it is so addictive. I will surely bring some home and get you all hooked to the stuff. Shared misery is half misery right ;)
I should have seen winter coming. Kingston is endowed (or infested, depending on who you ask) with a rich squirrel population. They are EVERYWHERE. I absolutely adore them. And as they consistently got bigger and fatter I should have known to expect a whole bunch of snow by the time they got me chuckling about their increased sizes.
Obviously this would be the best part of my new life. I have found myself a bunch of characters. From my Chinatown lunchbuddy Krista in Toronto, who picked me up from the airport and guided me through Canadian burocracy (or Gilead, as she calls it). To Kingston's first and only dragking (before I arrived) Daredelafemme, or Liz, when she's not performing, or licking my tie... Then there are obviously new university colleagues with whom I contemplate ecological extinction and other desperate topics in a variety of reading groups and labs throughout the week. Amongst which radical makers, artists, bushmen and warmhearted dogwalkers. Environmental studies people come in all sizes and shapes.
As life finally starts to slow down a bit to take the shape of normal time dimensions, I will of course take a Dutch interlude of Canadian life. I will be home in December. To grab coffee with you and celebrate Christmas with my parents. Probably just long enough to build myself up to a proper cultureshock when I come back to Canada in January to experience proper winter weather here.
Can't wait... For both. See you soon! Saskia