Cutting to the chase, I'm a British graphic artist who has been working predominantly in news media for almost twenty years. After five years working abroad, I've returned to the UK to go it alone.
The last two weeks have been a chaotic mixture of getting ready to leave Toronto, saying farewell to friends, buying too many pairs of Crocs, having last meals in favourite restaurants and drinking too much beer - although not necessarily in that order.
I had a lovely leaving do from The Globe And Mail, down the Welly pub ten days ago with just my closest colleagues sharing a few cheeky wee halves with me, yet it still somehow ended up with a couple of us being the last ones thrown out of a different pub entirely and not getting home until 4am. Oh, well. After the hangover had subsided (a day later), it was pretty much a melee of tidying up the apartment, doing bank-type things, signing forms, trying to remember what we'd forgotten to do, and saying farewell to our favourite veggie restaurants... dammit, we forgot to go to Utopia on College for a last bout of poutine, sigh.
Anyway, our shippers came to us bright and early on Thursday morning last week. They comprised of two lads with hands like shovels who zoomed through the apartment in eight hours, disassembling furniture and boxing and custom-wrapping everything (with awesome stuff called crubble - a mixture of bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard). Then they were off to Mississauga to load it onto a container and away it went - it's now somewhere around Halifax (Nova Scotia, not West Yorkshire... yet).
On our final Canadian weekend holed-up in the Holiday Inn on Bloor, we squeezed in a last boozy leaving party, a farewell curry, a bit of culture at the Chinese Terracotta Army exhibition and finally a trip up the CN Tower. Then, before we knew it, we were on a flight to Manchester that got us back in a record-breaking 5hrs 40mins.
We arrived to a very soggy and chilly Britain and soon, confused and jet-lagged, I was stumbling around Morrisons supermarket looking for comfort food I've been unable to acquire since moving abroad - Monster Munch (18 bags for £2), Wensleydale cheese (cheese is at least half the price it is in Ontario), Heinz Baked Beans (now comes in fridge tubs), sage and onion slices, 'proper' coleslaw... oh the list goes on and on. Lunch comprised of a chip butty and after reading The Sun, I can safely say that I recognised about 10% of the people they were dishing the dirt on.
After a restless night's sleep, today is my first full day back in Blighty. It's still raining but not quite as badly as yesterday. I'm still knackered, but not quite as much as yesterday. I have a long list of things to do (like find somewhere to live) but it's slightly shorter than it was yesterday.
There's a lot to sort out in the next three weeks but it doesn't seem quite as insurmountable as it did yesterday.