Saturday, February 17, 2007

Our Humble Abode...

Well I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone an idea about where I'm living here in Toronto. The living arraignments really add to the atmosphere of pre-departure training, so I feel as though this is an important post.

First, a little bit of history. When EWB first realized that overseas volunteers (OVs) could use a little bit of training (I'll post more on the history of training next post), the group was put up in travellers hostels around the city. While this may have added to the spirit of adventure, and even helped prepare the OVs for the at times sketchy living conditions in Africa, EWB found that it wasn't the most ideal of situations. Not only did it cost EWB a fair amount of money, the volunteers were also increasingly less effective in training as time in the hostel progressed (I've heard some interesting stories of crazy roommates and biting bedbugs).

So a little over a year ago, EWB decided to invest in more permanent accommodations for its OV groups. The National Office searched around and finally rented a small house between College and Dundas, just west of Bathurst. It's a really cool area, surrounded by Little Italy, Portugal Village, and a short walk from Kensignton Market and from China Town. There is an endless supply of small restaurants and coffee shops, and all of downtown is accessible via a nice walk, or the street car system, which is a 2 minute walk from our door.

Our house is the one on the left, not the pink one! I thought this picture was cool because of the snow.

So as you can see, the house is rather small, which is pretty typical of Toronto. At the moment there are only 10 of us living here, but at one point in the last few weeks we were up to 16 or 17 (it's pretty hard to keep track) It may sound really crowded, but we seem to have worked out a pretty good system and it's actually a lot of fun living with this many super cool people. There's always someone around to have a good conversation with. I'll throw up a few various pictures of the house, everything from the kitchen to the common room and one of the bedrooms.

It may be small, and crowded, and at times a little messy, but it's home, at least here in Toronto. The house serves as a home base for any EWBers while they're in Toronto. We've had lots of returned OVs stopping by for a night or two, OVs that are headed back to Africa for a second placement have crashed here while waiting for their flights, and for the first half of our stay here we had the 5 directors of overseas programs living here, which was pretty cool.
So hopefully that gives you an idea of where I'm living here in Toronto. We were talking as a group yesterday and remarked about how we unconsciously have been referring to the house as "home" the last little while. I'd wager a guess that for most, if not all of us, it's more the people than the actual building.
Next time I'll actually talk about what I've been learning up here this past month.
Until then....

1 comment:

Sue Titcombe said...

Looks like fun! How much longer before you leave for Zambia?