Our first visitor from the Netherlands…
Our clock still ticks! And this also means that the holidays are coming closer and closer. In Toronto this starts with some events from which the first was Illuminite, an not-so-ordinary holiday lighting ceremony at Yonge-Dundas Square. We went there on saturday the 15th of November together with our German neighbours. We arrived on-time and almost froze before the actual started. But the event itself was really something special which we didn’t expect we enjoyed the music, the dancers and the acts on the buildings. After freezing we went The Keg in our building to get some nice meat for dinner…
The day after Santa came to Toronto, Danielle and I went Bloor Street early as we read on the web that 500.000 people would watch the parade along the route, the advice was to be there between 9-10 o’clock…we left our building at 10 and started the day of with our very first visit to Tim Hortons! Okay, we didn’t get a coffee we went for a donut! We bought a day-ticket for the public transportation and at 10:45 we were walking on Bloor and it wasn’t really crowded! This was probably the case due to the extreme cold. It was a couple degrees below zero with a very cold wind and a little bit of snow. We were happy that the parade started and that we were watching at the beginning of the 6km long parade route since it was way to cold… The parade itself wasn’t as good as we hoped but Santa Clause was amazing, he had a couple funny one liners and interacted with the public.
As soon as we had seen Santa we went to the lake towards the Amsterdam Brewhouse to taste some beer and wander through Downtown. We visited the Toronto Union Train Station and the gift shops in the CN Tower on our way to the restaurant. When we left the restaurant it stopped with flurry snow and it really started to snow. We walked through the nearest subway entrance and drove straight back to Eglinton. We got ourself a coffee and watch some TV before we called it a day.
The monday after we decided to get Danielle a nice warm Canada Goose jacket since she will be outside a lot this winter. We walked towards the Sporting Life store about five blocks north on Yonge Street right after I came back home from work. We thought it’s a monday there won’t be a lot of people but we were wrong that place was crazy, people were almost fighting to get the right jacket. After a while Danielle found the perfect one, a Graphite Kensington Parka! And then we needed to wait 45 minutes in line to be able to pay…
The Tuesday started as every other early winter day, clear blue skies, ice-cold and not to busy on the road. But in the afternoon it started snowing a little bit, not much to worry about I thought its way to early for a lot of snow. But I was wrong it stopped with just being flurries and it started snowing in an amount which you could describe as 3 times longer to get home after work… Luckily I’ve got an AWD and know that I’ve to adjust my driving style with winter weather but not everyone seems to know or remember this…I left at 7:30 and was back home at 8:45. Normally it takes about 40-45 minutes when I leave between 5:30 and 6:30. But I got home safely and without scratches on the car.
On Thursday we got our first visitor from the Netherlands, my mother stepped over her fears and came by herself! We decided to book that a week before as a kind of last-minute decision but she stepped in the plane in Amsterdam after my Sister brought her there. And about 8,5 hours later she walked through the doors at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
From there we went to a supermarket to show her what a Walmart looks like, she directly experienced a Toronto rush hour before we got home. While Danielle baked a pizza I showed the building, she was blown away by everything and especially the view. At 10 o’clock she got tired and we all went to bed since I needed to work another day at friday. On Friday Danielle showed my mother Downtown Toronto before we went to The Keg to get a delicious steak.
The weekend was packed with a lot of things. We started early on saturday morning to visit the Niagara Falls, from there we went to an outlet shopping center on the way back to Toronto. We got some nice things for little Jop! Back at home we were all tired and had a nice evening enjoying our condo. For Sunday I had 3 shopping malls planned but in the end we only went to 2 of them. The main reason was that we stayed longer in the Yorkdale Shopping Center since we found out that we got access to the Avion Holiday Boutique as one of the perks from our Avion Infinite credit cards. We had some gifts wrapped for free, a free coffee, free cookie and free coat checks. Late afternoon we continued towards Vaughan Mills, a mixture between outlet and a regular mall. We ended the day here with delicious milkshakes before we went back to our Condo. Her my mother her jet-lag kicked in and we went to bed early.
Monday Danielle spend another day with my mother checking out the city, they went wandering to look at some more shopping districts and they made some beautiful pictures. In the evening we went for a burger and ribs at the St. Louis Bar & grill 2 blocks from our Condo.
The Tuesday Danielle went to school, I took a day off and spend the morning and lunch with my mother. We checked out a fancy supermarket and got some baking equipment for Danielle. For lunch we went to Signs, a restaurant where all staff is deaf and you are expected to order in sign language. That was something really funny and we learned the sign for Holland!
At 3 o’clock we brought my mother back the airport, and at 5;10 she boarded her plane. only 7 hours later she was back in the Netherlands. From the airport we went back home and went straight to the Silvercity, a movie theater across our street where we watched The Hunger Games: Mockingly Part 1. Unfortunately there wa a technical error with the sound for about 30 seconds and we got free tickets for another movie!!
The rest of the week it was cold and grey weather except for Black Friday. Black Friday is now getting more and more well-known in Canada too and we decided to go check out the bargains at th Yorkdale Mall. We arrived there at 7 and we found ourselves some great deals (40-50% discount in most stores). After the shopping I went to the office and Danielle waited for some gift wrapping in the AvionVIP lounge.
Today we brought our neighbours to the airport and we’ll get a colleague from Germany over for the next week so lot’s of things to do this week.
Christmas and shopping…
Because we are still at the point of decorating our condo our weekends mostly exists of shopping. Plus Christmas is coming, so now it also includes Christmas shopping. The already started to install the Christmas lights on our building and the streets, so our condo needs to be christmassy to.
On Wednesday we went to Absolute Comedy together with Martin and Sabrina. It was Pro-Am night, so there was stand-up comedy from both professionals as amateurs and it was really fun, some comedians more than others but it was a great night. We also ordered a so-called “Stein” which its 1 liter of beer and you can keep the “Stein” where the beer is in. And it is just so cool that tis was only a five-minute walk from our condo.
On Thursday I went together with Martin to the Canadian Tire Christmas Showroom which is not far from our place to look at all the Christmas stuff. You did not hear me say that our Christmas tree is not beautiful, but as we are in Canada now we to “canadianize” it. And this showroom is just the place to do that. So much Christmas stuff in all different colors. I could not decide what to buy so I will go back here together with Sander to buy some more stuff.
On Friday I decided I wanted to try and bake some chewy chocolate chip cookies. But when you wanna do that, you need chocolate chip and I did not have those. So after I went for a run in the morning I decided to walk to my favourite shop in Canada so far, which is the Bulk Barn. They sell everything you need to bake, so you can call it baking heaven. I used a recipe from marthastewart.com and it was really fun baking them and according to Sander they tasted good to. So I think I am going to bake some more of these cookies in the future. As Sander arrived home after work he picked me up at our condo and we drove tighter to the Canadian Tire Christmas Showroom and we bought stuff to “canadianize” our tree. As most of you know our tree is now filled with white and glass ornaments, we now decided to add the color red to the tree, so we bought “some” new stuff int his great store.
finally it was weekend and we continued the Christmas Shopping and we drove to the Yorkdale Mall to buy some more ornaments at Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel. We also we going to create something at the wall which leads to our bedroom and therefore we needed some shelves and picture frames. On Saturday evening we made it a lazy evening with movies and relaxing on our sofa.
On Sunday we went shopping again, but I already told Sander this week that I wanted to go somewhere we were not before and maybe also not only furniture shopping, so Sander found a shopping mall a bit further away in Burlington, the Mapleview Mall. The only condition was that I would drive there. So we left our condo and I drove to Burlington, which is like 45-50 minutes. We got something to eat there and did some relax-shopping at Victoria’s Secret, Roots and some other shops. After a couple of hours we drove back to Toronto and also stopped at Staples, the Beer Store and Bulk Barn. Also this evening we could make our “Wall of Memories” ready because we found a place nearby to print the photos we wanted in the frames.
A new week had begun on Monday and this was the day our dining chairs we ordered a Crate & Barrel arrived. So finally we have some decent chairs to sit on at our dining table and when we have guests over at our place they do not have to bring their own chairs. While I was waiting for the chairs being delivered I had the idea to bake so-called “kruidnoten”. In the Netherlands now is the time Sinterklaas and with go the kruidnoten. I found a recipe online and they were not that bad, but I don’t think I am going to bake them again. I liked the chocolate chip cookies more…
Tuesday, my last day off 😉 Tomorrow I will start an English course across the street at Hansa Language Centre. So today I enjoyed the last day of really good weather (16 degrees and a lot of sun) by going for a run and in the afternoon I baked pizza. I needed to go in bed on time, because school starts at 09:00 am. I am joining the English Intensive Program, 4 hours a day for 16 weeks following grammar, reading, speaking and vocabulary classes. ope it is going to improve my English skills.