[Introductory message: I'm already back in NJ. Actually, right now I'm on the train back to AMERICA, but I'll be in NJ when I post this. I didn't have any time to post last week, not so much because my days were so action-packed but because my friend and I ended up staying up late sleeping a lot. Oops. Well. I'll probably spend this whole week recounting all of last week.]
"Robyn, you should wake up now."
I groaned, rolled over and squinted at my watch. It was 6:05, about 10 minutes before my mom was supposed to drive me to the train station. "Time...what...is...huh?" croaked my brain that had suddenly switched from dream-mode to confusion-mode.
"MOOOM, I WANTED TO WAKE UP AT 5:45, GAARRHG." I really had told my mom at 5:00 AM to wake me up in 45 minutes, but she happened to miss the "45 minutes" part. Sure, I probably should've set my alarm, but...but aren't moms supposed to know everything, including that their daughters might want more than 10 minutes to change into normal clothing and wash up a bit and regain consciousness?
My mom thought I was already awake. Well. Alright. Luckily I had already packed my bags; all I ended up forgetting was a mouse for my computer, which wasn't as big of a loss as I thought it would be. If forced to use a touchpad for extended periods of time, one will become quite skilled at using it. Not that it's a very useful skill.
Toronto is just far enough that it's worthwhile to take a plane there, yet I decided to take a train. Why? A mixture of curiosity (I had never taken Amtrak before), penny pinching (it was somewhat cheaper to take a train, I assume by at least $100), convenience (the train would take me directly into the city) and masochism (HELLOOOO SITTING ON MY ASS FOR 12 HOURS, which is all honestly isn't much of a stretch from what I do on a normal day).
The Amtrak train I rode looked a few decades older than the trains I rode in France, but it had a hell of a lot more legroom (and an electrical outlet for every pair of seats). Then again, I never took a train ride that took half a day in Europe; I suppose anything reaching that length of time would have sleeper cars. If you're as short as I am (about five feet tall, just edging myself out of midget territory) you can stretch your legs out all the way, but even people of normal height would be comfortable. The chairs lean back quite far and there's a leg rest and a foot rest for the other half of your body. You pull the giant knob on your armrest to release the leg rest with a loud "KACHUNK." Nice bit of chair engineering there. Although the seats are perfectly comfortable, I wonder how long it'll be before these trains are replaced. Or maybe just the ugly curtains.
More than 13 hours later (customs at the border took longer than expected and there were other delays due to I don't know what) the train stopped somewhere in Canada. My heart jumped when—through semi-conscious eyes peering through my non-full strength glasses (more comfortable than wearing contacts)—I spotted giant letters spelling out "OAKVILLE" on the side of a red brick building. My original plan was to go to Toronto and take a train to Oakville since that's what my friend/host Kat had instructed me to do, but not knowing that the train actually stopped in Oakville before getting to Toronto was a silver lining to being more than an hour late. After taking a minute to figure out whether I was really in the right place (stops weren't usually announced and it was really a stroke of luck that I managed to spot a sign that said where we were) I grabbed my stuff and got out of there, happy to regain full use of my limbs.
After about half an hour, Kat appeared in the train station (because it took her that long to walk there from her house). She looked the same as she did the last time I saw her three years ago, and by that I mean she may have also been wearing the same "A Perfect Circle" hoodie. Kat is actually a friend I met in real life through the normal means of high school (cue gasps: GASP GASP GASP). While I do have other friends made form life off the Internet, those in the high school category that I care to travel for are pretty rare. I mean, I think Kat is the only one. Is it any surprise that this one very good friend I made in high school was also the only friend who moved after sophomore year to California and then after high school moved back to her home country of England and then after two years of wondering what to best do with her life decided to go to college in Canada (because her dad is from there) to major in animation? In other words, is it any surprise that the friend I would've most liked to hang out with in New Jersey is the one that spent the least time here and has since spent most of her time in another country?
NOPE; THAT'S LIFE. Anyhoo, she's given me an excuse to visit England (which is where I went the last time I saw her) and now Canada.
We went over to Sheridan—about a 10 minute walk from the house that Kat shares with five other Sheridan students—to hang out in her friend Anne Marie's dorm room and do what animations students do in their free time: watch cartoons. ...Okay, that's not what they do all of the time (Kat and her friends also play a lot of video games) but I think that watching cartoons at least somewhat qualifies as "research" for them. I've been instructed to watch more episodes of Clone High and Avatar when I get home.
[No comments. THIS ENTRY IS BORING ANYWAY! The next entry has food in it.]