Day 3. Level: Full Appreciation!

Holy dam. Today has been the most stunning day!
Perfect, cloudless blue sky and warm sunshine have accompanied me in my strolling all day (finally!; exploring buddies).
And man have I strolled!; I strolled up a storm! I strolled all over this town!

And what tales do I have to tell? .. Well!

I started off visiting the water front. Which I thought would be a bit of a hike, but as it turns out is surprisingly close to my current hostel. A pleasant surprise.
The waterfront in Toronto is of course, not the sea (which I am used to being constantly close to in coming from New Zealand. .) But is actually a giant lake!; Lake Ontario. It is very pretty. So many parks and so many trees lining the waterfront (which I believe I have mentioned; makes me happy).

On my way back up from the waterfront I happened upon your stereotypical scam-pawner; A woman with a face scarf who muttered a lot to me about some man who had taken all her things, and a mother and child she had to look after and provide for..
“Help me sister, please help me sister” she mumbled.
Empathy rippled through my conscience, I panicked, I made eye contact, she saw the weakness, she sucked me in. .
But! Even I can see that this is just the type of reoccuring scenario that I get myself stuck in ALL of the time.. (dam my need to acknowledge those who approach me) .. and I’ll have many close friends rolling their eyes at this point in the story.
But, to you all! Let it be known! I have become learned in the ways of the city streets! Do not fear for me just yet!
I told her I wasnt from here and was short on money myself.
But in desperate, scammy, scammy response she whipped out a “gold” ring and necklace and offered to sell them to me for $300.00…
Really?! ..
I mean… ok of course she could have been telling the truth, and most probably she WAS in need of help.
But I have fallen into these guilt traps over and over again living in Auckland city. I have had my sense of open empathy turned against me one too many times, and I have come to realize.. That human beings are disgusting – more often than not.
Trust in the goodness of a stranger in today’s communities (there’s a phrase that’s on the verge of extinction) is considered foolish and naiive. And it will be taken advantage of.
As a result, my once infinite and non-discriminating supply of sympathy, recently, has run upon a shortage… I have been conditioned towards brutality.
Why didnt she just GO TO A PAWN STORE?! (There was one just up the rd from where she was begging).
And with that I essentially. . Ran away.

After this however, I took a BEAUTIFUL break in what I am now claiming as my favorite park; beside a gorgeous, gothic cathedral. Where I just read, and sunbathed, and honestly, finally found a sense of home and comfort here on the other side of the world.
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Then, back up to explore!
Today I discovered the “Rogers” baseball stadium (complete with an abundance of ticket scalpers), the Toronto Aquarium (unfortunately didn’t go in, as the line stretched outside the door and curved around the building), several parks, churches and monuments
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and a Philippeno Festival! Which featured some pretty good acts.
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But as always with me, it wasn’t the singers and dancers up on stage that made it special. .
It was 2 small children in the audience.
2 small boys.
One must’ve been 2ish and the other around 5?
And they were strangers to one another, but playing together with simple paper planes. Except when I say playing. .. The younger boy was really just repeatedly throwing his plane at the ground and giggling about it while the older one continued to collect it and give it back to him for another go.
It was amazing that they didn’t tire of it. It was amazing that they were playing with a physical toy and not an I – pad.
But the best part! .. Was when the father of the younger boy turned around in his seat and said to the other parents
“This is the first time he’s played with some one else” …
And he was so happy.
He was so damn happy.
The little boy had been clinging to his father’s finger the whole time. Afraid to let it go. In need of security and the reassurance that he wouldn’t be left behind and unprotected. But he had made this new step.. by himself.
And the dad got down on his knees and gave up his finger to his son, and just watched them play.
And the whole time.. He beamed with the excitement of a parent watching their child develop and grow in this world.
He beamed a full, toothy smile all the while.
And I smiled too. Because it was freaking gorgeous.

Actually that’s quite a contrast to my own interaction with a stranger today (the scam-pawner).. But the innocence and uninhibited curiosity of children is no secret. And the fact that we loose safety in those qualities as we grow is unfortunately an undeniable truth.

… All in all! It’s been a good day! Hopefully the line for the aquarium will be more realistic tomorrow!

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