I’ve just returned from a two-day study trip to Toronto. My goal was to attend two lectures hosted by the Faculty of Religious Studies in the University of Toronto. I had booked my non-refundable train tickets well in advance (to get the best price, which was still a high $155 (there and back)).  Just a few days ago, however I learned that one of those lectures were postponed… there was nothing I could do, so I continued my Toronto plans hoping I could use my time wisely.

To Toronto

So on 23rd, at 5:15am, I was standing at the Montreal bus-stop, in the snow, waiting for the first bus to take me to the metro station… and guess what? No bus. I waited (along with many other passengers) till about 5:40am. No bus. My train was at 6:30am, and I was about 35 minutes away so I walked the about 2.5 kms to the metro station and got the metro and made it on time for the train.

The train journey however was slow… and the train was one-hour late in reaching Toronto. My lecture started at 12, I reached Toronto’s Union Station at 12:30! Still I decided to make a run for it, I thought I was less than half-hour away so I could catch a part of the 1.5 hour lecture.

The subway station however was in total confusion. It seems there was a shooting in one of the stations on-route to where I was heading, and so that entire section was cordoned off. In effect I had to take two subway trains to get to where I was heading. Result, I was further delayed.

I ran to where I was supposed to go and eventually made it 10 minutes before the lecture ended. I rushed into the classroom and the lecturer asked me whether I was in the right room. I mentioned the lecture I was to attend, and he said that this is a class. The lecture has been cancelled!

In Toronto

Well I thought I’d make the most of my time here, so after checking in at the Wycliffe Dorm, and then finding an ATM to pay for the rent and deposit ($28 + $20) because they couldn’t accept my debit or credit card!!! I finally made my way to one of the main theological libraries; the Graham Library (which seems to be a combination of three college libraries). It was big, about three-four floors, and had a wide selection of books.

One thing about these North American? libraries is that they use the Library of Congress numbering system and NOT the Dewey Decimal system as in India/SAIACS. This is interesting because you don’t find books where you think you will find them (if you are manually browsing), but then you find books you don’t expect. So browsing books is can be both frustrating and fun, not knowing what to expect. I must say there are many more books here that I didn’t even know existed!

Anyway… the rest of the day I spent working on my chapter one (introduction). And surprisingly my pace had quickened and I made huge progress (I’ve never made so much progress in a day before in Montreal). So by 5:45pm, nearing dinner time (yes I missed my lunch, no time), I had completed more than half of my chapter!

Dinner at the Wycliffe Dining Hall was nice, some meatball something… that did taste good… and they had a lot of variety. Though I prefer the SAIACS serve-yourself-on-the-table way, rather than the cafeteria “we serve on your plate” way.

At night I thought I’d get some more work done, but after watching my customary relaxation movie… I was too tired… and crashed.

Back from Toronto

The next day, I had breakfast again at Wycliffe. And then attended the Anglican service (Wycliffe is an Anglican College)… and I came to realise more and more that I’m NOT a liturgy guy.

Then, I spent the rest of the day, till 3:30, working in the library again. Got a lot done, but mostly editing my previous day’s work.

Then, heading back to Wycliffe to checkout, heading to Union Station to catch my return train… all went smoothly. No shooting to report this time!

The train journey back was comfortable… and while I thought I’d watch a movie (on my laptop… because they have power sockets on each seat!) I found myself gravitating towards completing more work… and spent most of the journey working on my chapter. To the extent that while we were almost at the station, I was still typing!

Back home… however… things feel really good. I found that I don’t like Toronto as a city… and I really Montreal and I like being home.  I missed my family as much as they missed me.

But the fact that I got so much done… makes me happily realise that even though I did not attend what I had planned to attend… by God’s grace the Toronto trip was a success!