X is for Xenial

What?

You know, xenial, which means hospitable, especially to strangers and foreigners. Xenial, a word I have never said aloud nor written. Until now.

So here’s the thing. I love both big cities and small towns. I don’t discriminate. But some do. If you have lived or studied in Toronto, you may be hesitant to admit so if you move to eastern Canada. I was told, true story, to remove the fact that I had studied in Toronto from my resume when I first moved to Nova Scotia and then to Prince Edward Island. I don’t know if this is a David vs. Goliath thing but the sentiment did appear at times in my years residing there.

Recently having moved to a small town, an hour outside of Toronto, I have been reminded how friendly this part of the world is. Whenever we need a dose of the big city, we head to Toronto for some delicious ethnic food, hair dying (yes, my daughter did dye her hair a vibrant purple) and overall great wandering.

In doing so, we have found a chain restaurant in one of the Toronto suburbs with the name of Fat *astard Burrito. Not only do they make vegan/vegetarian burritos that are delicious and not a “rip-off”, but they have this staff that makes me want to be 20 again and work in the fast food business. They literally are that song, “Happy” come to life.

This is not unique in Toronto. Everywhere we go from drive thrus, to shopping malls, to markets, to the Gay Pride Parade to the parks, people are incredibly friendly. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world which I, of course, love. Riding the subway in Toronto, one could be anywhere in the world.

The list of things to do and see are endless and as a family, we have only hit a few so far. Our one top family favourite is to take the ferry to Toronto Island for the day. Whether you want to walk, explore, bike, swim, suntan, picnic, or go on a few rides, Toronto Island and its beaches are a “hit” for families who wish to spend time together without breaking the bank. And if you are like us, you may even meet a family who offers to feed you, just because.

Thanks for being so hospitable by dropping by today to see the Family C as they travel from A to Z.

What is a xenial place you have lived in or visited? Are you a big city or a small town kind of person?

My Confession: Reflecting On My Daughter’s First Trip Without Me

I have a confession to make. (well 3 actually)

1. I am so relieved that Jade did not lose her passport on her trip to Europe. But does this now mean that I have to give up my control of said passport on all future trips? I can feel myself hyperventilating at the very thought of it.

Thankfully she had it to the very end.

Thankfully she had it to the very end.

2. I am so relieved that she and her friends left a polite and respectful note to the cleaning staff at a hotel.

Germany trip iphone 433

3. I am so relieved that she did not purchase any of these souvenirs and bring them home to conservative Canada.

However, she did take the photo so (gulp) I guess she knew what they were !!! 🙂

Germany trip iphone 431

But most importantly, she went to Europe to make some new friends, take selfies and get her hair braided.

What more could a mother ask for?

Jade with new friends having fun :)

Jade with new friends having fun 🙂

Love Shopping (Overseas) Hate Shopping (Canada)

I have to drag my body to go shopping in Canada… like I have no clothes left to wear, no food left to eat, the house is about to fall apart. However, when we travel, shopping is fun, it is a game, it usually involves some excitement and every now and then a bit of frustration. Have you ever walked away from a negotiation and later wished you had gone back and bought it? I have.

Shopping in certain countries like Morocco, Guatemala, and India involves a sensory overload. There is always something to look at, someone to look at and it rarely gets boring. This is my idea of shopping.