“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela

I’ve been home for almost two weeks now and it has probably taken me that same amount of time to get back into the swing of things. There was the usual time difference shift my body had to adjust to; I had to re-familiarize myself with Canadian currency, and unfortunately, the practice of adding the automatic 13% sales tax on most purchases; I had to get over the shock of hearing English being spoken by EVERYONE – going through customs at Pearson airport in Toronto, my sister had to remind me to not worry because “they speak English here.” Usually, the weather is something one also has to learn to adapt to, especially when travelling from a country with a Mediterranean climate like Portugal to Canada, but so far, the weather in Toronto has  been co-operating: before my arrival I was told that May saw record breaking rainfalls, but up to now, June has been sunny and hot, exactly the kind of weather I had been used to in Portugal – I like to think that I was responsible for bringing the beautiful weather over, but no need to thank me. 😉

After being away for 8 long months, you would assume that my first order of business would have been to unpack my bags; a very reasonable and logical guess. That’s what I had planned to do, except the second I walked through my door, I got called for a job interview. For the last 5 summers I have worked at a summer camp as a leader, and I was interviewing for a senior role as the co-ordinator of the Leader-in-Training Program. I returned to Toronto on a Friday, and my interview was scheduled for the following Tuesday! I put unpacking on hold, tracked down my camp binders, and in between visiting family and getting over my jet-lag, I worked on updating my resumé, completing a 3-page assignment, working on possible interview questions, and reading a 60-page handout on work policies and procedures. My hard work paid off, and I got the job! The camp season begins in just under a month, so I have LOTS of work to do in a very short time-frame, but I’m ready for the challenge!

The day after my interview I finally began unpacking my suitcases. I decided that it was also a perfect opportunity for me to organise and clean-out my room. Cleaning out my room is  a multi-day task and it usually involves me cleaning out my closet (this time I had to make room for all of the clothes I had bought in Europe :P), organizing my desk and bookshelf, organising those “organizational boxes” under my bed, and it often involves me finding something I hid in a “safe place” years ago like a 1945 penny with King George VI on the face-side, my first pair of glasses, my retainer, a watch I received as a kid with Sesame Street characters on the faceplate, souvenirs from family road trips, and old ticket stubs. My question for everyone is: What are some interesting “lost” items you have found while cleaning up?

Today, my room is spotless (or at the very least, it’s as clean as it’s ever going to get :P), my suitcases are all officially unpacked and back in storage, and the 15-or-so souvenir spoons I bought during my travels have been taken out of their original packaging and arranged inside the display cases in my room… All done in time to enjoy what is being called Toronto’s hottest day of the year (so far)!

Here’s to future travels, more days above 33 degrees celcius (but I could seriously do without the humidity, Mother Nature :P) and a wonderful summer!


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