EARNING A GREEN THUMB

Taking care of plants is not something I’m inherently good at, but rather something I wish I was. I’ve had all the regular shrivelled failures that I’m guessing we’ve all collected at some point when we’ve decided to ‘become a plant person’, but lately I feel like I’ve turned a very satisfying corner. Where I once would sort of buy-and-forget, I’ve made a habit of actually tending to my plant babies and it turns out that makes a whole lotta difference. Now I’m angling my blinds to best suit my pots when I leave the house each morning and shining my leaves with banana peels like I’ve never even considered abandoning them before.

A couple of weeks ago I collected some little snippings for a Snake Plant, Spider Plant and Monstera Adansonii, and have been eagerly checking their tiny homes for roots approximately every 8 minutes since. Just like the whole ‘watched pot never boils’ thing, I went away over the Christmas break and came back to my three baby-plants showing off a jar full of roots each.

I potted the spider plant this morning, and am on the hunt for the perfect pots to re-home the other two. I can’t wait until this room becomes a low-key jungle, but in the mean-time, I’ll be fighting the impulse to prove I love them with constant water.

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NEW YORK

My first time in New York was the definition of short and sweet. NY was not even really on my initial agenda, but I had a bit of time in Toronto and learnt that New York was only about an hour’s flight away, so I was determined to make it happen.

I only took my little backpack with me; one pair of jeans, one pair of boots, and to my luck landed in absolutely torrential rain. It didn’t stop me wandering the streets for about 20 straight hours, but it did mean I had no dry clothes to change into once I got back to my Air BnB, and ended up with my pants and shoes hanging in front of a fan trying to make them dry enough to put back on.

I think I was in the city for maybe 3 hours before I started looking into how much rent was — it really does steal your heart.

Seeing as I only spent two and a half days in NYC, I don’t feel particularly equipped to give recommendations, but I can say that I loved everything I did. From truffle-parmesan fries, to corn on the cob and mac & cheese at Miss Lily’s, to living out my Chef’s Table dreams and getting a slice of Crack Pie at Milk Bar. I even loved things that weren’t food actually, like pretending I was living in an episode of Friends and the unexpected abundance of Australian Shepherds I saw.

Although the rain did mean a couple of my tourist-dreamz didn’t come together—a walk through central park was not super leisurely, and my hopes of taking a classic skyline pic from Top Of The Rock were cancelled when the visibility was too poor to go up, I still felt that big life magic. I can’t wait to go back for long enough to actually immerse myself for a while, but for now, it’s this summary and a 35mm/iPhone documentary combo.

MONTRÉAL

The day we left Toronto for Montréal was forecast to be 37°C, and being a Sunshine Coast-local travelling to a country that has no problem dropping below zero, I had packed absolutely nothing that suited the surprising spike in mercury. Luckily, the hottest day fell on the day we were spending most of our time in the car, the AC shielding me and my winter clothes from anything too melt-y.

Our visit to Montréal was short, and we hadn’t planned too much in advance — so much so that I was beginning to doubt we’d have somewhere to sleep when we arrived, as my Air BnB searches (admittedly, completed in the car whilst approaching the city) were coming up with no availability and hotels weren’t looking much more promising. Just when it was coming down to our only option touting reviews like “Don’t EVER stay here”, we happened across a decent room in nice enough hotel and we could relax into our stay.

Our hotel was a short walk from the subway station, and it was a novelty to suddenly be immersed in French, navigating our trip and trying to figure out what the train driver might be yelling at the passengers with bikes. We caught the subway to Old Montreal and wandered the streets, heads constantly turned up at the amazing architecture, some of which, as Wikipedia is telling me, date back to the 17th century and make up one of the oldest urban areas in North America. The contrast of being in Toronto then suddenly in Montréal was really crazy; from modern city to cobblestone laneways and ornate chapels. We spent most of the day exploring the Old Montreal area, walking around the port and visiting the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, where you can climb to the top of the Chapel’s tower and see the city from above. We also happened to catch the 2018 World Press Photo Content, previous years of which I had visited in Brisbane and knew it’d be worth the ticket. It’s an incredibly profound collection of images and a worthwhile experience, every year.

Due to a marathon that day, some of the buses weren’t running, so we decided to walk our way around the rest of the city instead. It’s always so worth it, you notice so much more on your feet. We stopped for lunch at a very very tiny and completely satisfying burger shop called Patati Patata, and seeing as I’m addicted to fried potato, I loved it. You can sit at the window and collect your beer from the counter without leaving your seat. If you can find some space, it’s your dream poutine stop.

We only had one full day in Montreal, but I loved the day we had. The city is an activity in itself, it’s nice to be able to wander the streets and not have to really spend any money to see something interesting. It really was like a little European holiday in the middle of our American one!