The last destination on our east coast road trip was Toronto, Canada.
On the two-hour drive to get there from Buffalo, my husband and I reflected on the wonderful trip we’d just experienced over the past twelve days.
And a big thank you to all who have come along for the ride. It’s been fun going through it with readers and participants :)
Toronto is not entirely new to me. Growing up in Buffalo, Canada wasn’t really another country. It was the city next door. It was Niagara Falls. (Yes, the Canadian side gives the best views. BUT the Buffalo side gives a great sight of the rapids, unlike anything other. And it’s still America, so you don’t have to deal with going through the border. (It’s the getting back through the American side that has become a pain in the ass. I felt like I was being interrogated, but I digress…)
We live in a different world from the days of my childhood when my dad would pay fifty cents and go in and out of Canada with little effort. Terrorism is suspect though and America does not mess around. TSA even took the jar of Georgia peach jam I got for my mother. Sad… I felt invaded when they went through my whole bag and undid the great packing job I had strategized over but don’t get me started.
Toronto was fun and the view from the C & N building was no joke. 181 floors up. And there was a lightning storm happening while we strolled around as our ears popped. My husband was bummed a bit that the outer walkway was closed but to be honest, I was fine with staying behind the glass. (Please excuse the rain drops on the shot above; I tried my best.)
It was a wonderful way to close our two-week road trip, which started in Central Florida and ended in Toronto, Canada.
Tomorrow will be my last post for my road tripping series. Stay tuned as I list observations from the trip as a whole….
I don’t want this feeling to end. I wish I could wrap it up and keep it in a little box so whenever I want it back, I could have it in a moment’s notice.
Growing up in a Sicilian household, the importance of family was instilled in me from the day I was born. I learned early on to have respect for one’s family and culture. To this day, my mother makes sauce on Sundays and speaks Sicilian to her parents. And yes, I too now make this sauce but no, not every Sunday. Many of those days, I’m at my folks.
The reason for the silence on my blog the past two days is that I literally did not have one moment to formulate my thoughts because I filled every second with family while in my birth town of Buffalo, NY. I was so blown away by the amount of love and respect and joy that swirled around me in the past forty-eight hours that I didn’t want to mess with it one bit (which I believed I’d have to do to write this post.)
In some ways, my Aunt J has always felt like a second mother. This says a lot because I am not truly comfortable with most people. But the relationship we formed when I was 0 – 10 stuck and despite great distance, I feel at home with her. Her children, my first cousins have been everything to me. Best friends. Family. A godson. And being back with them this weekend made it seem like no time or distance had passed between us. Talks were deep and beautiful and funny and wine-filled and lovely and special and so many more adjectives but I’ll stop…
In short, it was magical. And I didn’t want the feeling to end.
It was a ride and I’m already sad to be off but here’s a sneak peek of it:
The long way there. Hehe but we made it! Smiles, love, warmth, family, childhood. Grandparents. Love. Remembering the past while mixing it with the future. Intro’s to my husband. Tons of intros! Beautiful children, like the one’s we once were. Family. Love. Party time! Hands moving. Mouths going. Good times had by all. Smiles on a ninety-six year old. Family. Love. Niagara Falls! Majestic. Good food. Laughs. Pictures. Water. Lots and lots of water. Wings and pizza. Final dinner. Great times! Laughs galore. Family. Love. Tour of old hood. Husband. My love. My life. Late night chats. Early morning chats. Family. Love.
Leaving D.C. & Maryland behind, we headed back on the road with a destination of Buffalo, New York – the place of my birth and early years. I will always have a special spot for this city but what’s really the best, is I still have a ton of family here and I couldn’t be more excited to spend the weekend with them all.
We arrived at the home of my aunt a little later than planned because we opted to take the scenic route through the back streets of Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
The view was utterly amazing. Green foliage was everywhere and the trees were as plentiful as they come. The weather turned a little colder as we drove through what was called the Pennsylvania Wilds. Driving through the Allegheny National Forest was a real treat and provided us with stunning landscapes and views.
And along with this beautiful scenery came some observations…
- Southern hospitality does not extend beyond the Virginias and damn, I missed it. D.C. was were I found most people to be down right rude and impatient. One local told me tourist pedestrians are known to be “speed bumps” – and I witnessed the truth of that. Pedestrians are moderately tolerated but word of advice, do not cross when you see an oncoming car. (I thought my Lyft driver was going to seriously run over a clueless jaywalker right there in front of the Capitol Building.
- Gas prices jumped drastically between Maryland to Pennsylvania.
- Dollar stores are everywhere. Literally, everywhere.
- Road kill is sad, no matter how you look at it.
- It’s often worth it to take the long way.
- The leaves are just starting to change colors and the beauty of this event is magical. I wish we had it more in Southern California…
- Taxidermy is a big business in the Pennsylvania forests.
I’m finding that there is definitely something special about getting out of dodge that goes beyond the trip itself.
I have no idea what day of the week it is. And I don’t mind.
Leaving town has taken me out of my routine and damn, I like it.
Routine by definition means a fixed schedule, but life around you doesn’t run on one so why should you?
Hitting the open road has enabled me to be much more in the moment rather than in my own head, trying to get to the next thing on my to-do list. It’s helped me get to know my husband better through new experiences and situations. And it’s allowed me to see what I miss from my routine and question if it’s actually something I should be missing.
Now look, I get it. It’s good to keep a routine precisely because life doesn’t, allowing one to control as much as possible. But while I understand this importance of routine, I’m only now realizing the importance of interrupting it.
True learning is not about facts,
but about conscious appreciation
of the experience of living.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Today, we spent the entire day with my husband’s mother and it was such a pleasure to sit and just be, present in the moment with the woman who raised the man I ended up marrying.
She is a gem and I couldn’t be any luckier to have this woman in my life. Seriously. She’s not online so this isn’t being written to score any points :)
Tonight, my husband and I stepped outside at ten at night to take a walk in the backwoods of central florida. I mean, straight up backwoods where a mile away there’s a sign to leave the bears alone.
Probably not the best idea to take a stroll under the pitch-black sky. After maybe twenty steps and we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces, we turned back around.
But before stepping inside the house, we paused. And thank the heavens we did. I discovered something tonight…
Nature has an orchestra.
And it is unbelievable. From crickets to frogs to owls to sounds belonging to who knows what. There was a melody that sounded like music to my ears. Unbelievable.
But before we could ponder it all, a very loud noise sounded too close for comfort, so in we went. Quickly.
But man, was that something. I always believed nature speaks if you listen but tonight I learned it sings too.