Day 13: Turning 20 in style

Okay, so I’m not really 20 yet, but for the purpose of this weekend, my mom and I are pretending I am. As I’m tapping away now, my mind can’t help but wander over to my politics textbook. That might by the guilt talking since I’ve only completed one of my three readings today. Maybe it’ll have to be a long night, but I’ll deal with that later. For now, I need to gush about how wonderful today was!

It was snowing up a storm this morning! I opened the front door right into a snow drift and suddenly had the uncontrollable urge to throw on all my snow gear and shovel that driveway! Hey, we all miss certain things when we go away to university. For me, it was shovelling snow. My mom hired a snow shovelling company this year to spare her an aching back, but did that stop me? Not even a little bit. Don’t worry,we got our money’s worth. It was snowing pretty heavily even after I cleared the driveway. No harm done.

We drove down to the Finch station and took the subway to Union station and arrived at our destination: (are you sure you’re ready for this?) the Fairmont Royal York hotel! What is it? Only one of the most luxurious hotels in the city that has become a bit of a historic landmark. It’s been around for almost 100 years (since 1929) and at one point, it was the tallest building and the biggest hotel in the British Commonwealth. The whole place is so … grand! It’s lit up with chandeliers and warm lighting (which I like to think might echo the apricot lighting in the Ritz of London, England – supposedly the most flattering lighting for a woman’s complexion). Everywhere you look, there are ornate armchairs, richly patterned rugs and dozens of pictures of the Queen. And here’s the real kicker: we were there for afternoon tea!

It was kind of our tribute to one of the best moments in our London Adventures of 2009. We went to Grosvenor House for afternoon tea and had so much fun sipping our tea and having scones with honey and “preserves.” I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate the big 2-0, and my mom was right on board as soon as I mentioned it.

I wouldn’t say it was exactly like London, but it was pretty close! The room was smaller, but very cozy, with courteous servers and even a musician. In London, we had a pianist on the grand piano. At the Royal York, we had a guitarist. As usual, my mom and I had so much fun munching on finger sandwiches, all accented with Canadian touches like PEI lobster, Nova Scotia smoked salmon, Ontario Brie and Niagara apples. We had more pastries than we could eat, and took so many pictures, we could have made a flip book. It was so much fun!

After tea, which was really more like lunch, we wandered around the Royal York, making sure we had photographed evidence of every single chair and footstool in that hotel. It may have gotten a little crazy at times, but who’s judging? The only minuscule disappointment was that the bees aren’t open to the public in the winter. (The Royal York has its own honeybees and there are usually public tours to see those busy bees in the summer.) But I think I can live without seeing a hive.

We quickly stopped by Fairview Mall to pick up a few things, but of course it’s impossible to really “stop by” a mall. It was nearly 6 p.m. by the time we left. Where did the day go? Well there’s simply no point in going home for, say, 30 minutes to be productive and attend to my schoolwork, so my mom and I decided to do the only reasonable thing. Eat some more!

It may seem hard to believe that smorgasbord of tea-time pastries disappeared so quickly, but we were starving and ready for dinner by then. It’s a finely-honed skill you know. I’ve spent years building up this kind of eating capacity. Don’t try this at home. We went to Baton Rouge thanks to my craving for a big messy rack of BBQ ribs. Mm … meat. And as if that wasn’t enough. We had two desserts! One big warm brownie with ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and Kahlua, and one even bigger slice of red velvet cake with this unbelievable raspberry sauce. And I’m proud to say we (and by “we” I mean “I”) gobbled up every last bite with vigour. Ah, so this is complete satisfaction.

After all that, I can’t even begin to entertain the thought of going back to work, but alas reality comes knocking on my door … again and again. At least I had a Saturday to remember. That should recharge me with enough brain juice to take on the rest of the semester (at least until Reading Week). Until then, I think I need to focus on the more pressing task at hand: emerging from this food coma into which I have sunk.

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