It's the second to last nite that Megan and Matiu are here with me in Toronto... we farewelled Nadine tonite... bags are mostly packed, things are in piles, passports at the ready. Because I fly to Hawaii for a few days, I'm in the midst of packing too.
Today was lovely: lunch with Daniel, Nadine, Megan and Matiu at Caplansky's, an amazing Jewish Deli that my Saami colleague Rauna had introduced me to a few months ago. After giant piles of meat (yum!), we headed in various directions: Daniel went to start his drive home to Penetanguashene; Matiu and Nadine went to the movies; and Megan and I went to an amazing place called 'Body Blitz' which, contrary to its energetic sounding name, is a women's spa of sorts. Nadine had given Megan and I vouchers to go to Body Blitz for Christmas (and a promise to look after the kid while we were there) and it was awesome!
Basically a version of public baths, the place had a series of pools (a salt pool, a green tea pool, an icy cold pool) as well as a sauna and steam room. They provided you with a plan for a cycle of the pools: soak in a warm pool, cook and sweat in a hot room, freeze yourself in the icy pool, and so on. It was invigorating, sure, but also very relaxing. Megan and I loved it - it was such a treat! Megan and I talked about how the price of such things can seem prohibitive, and for many people it is, but for many people (including us) it is a matter of prioritising - the same amout of money could be frittered away on random food and clothes purchases, for example, but it could be spent on this. Put in these terms, it is still a treat - but not impossible!
We met with Nadine and Matiu at a chocolate cafe, 'Soma,' afterwards - and then all came home to a meal of family favourites: 'Hoku's Brother's Pasta' with salad and garlic bread for the main, and apple and pear crumble for dessert. How delicious.
These days are so precious - it is such a privilege to be here, to get to do this stuff, to have the time and money to do these things... but it's not all about time and money. Sometimes it's about cracking up at a deli over a photo which captured a hilarious shot - sometimes it's about the thoughtfulness of a friend to gift an afternoon with my sister - sometimes it's about hearing Matiu and Nadine talking about the movie they saw (Hugo) with such enthusiasm, even though they were enthusiastic about remarkably different things ('it's about a boy who lives in a railway station' said one; 'it's about film itself and the early 20th century and WWI' said the other) - sometimes it's about making, cooking and sharing a crumble which has been made from something that has, as Matiu proudly explained, become a secret family recipe.
Awesome. Delicious, Precious.