Trip back home, stopping in Canada on the way back
When I moved to Chile, I didn't know when I would be back in London, but I didn't expect to be away for a whole year. For most of the year, though, one of my spinal discs was slowly giving way, and I spent months in excruciating pain. Travelling home was a distant dream. Then came successful surgery to remove the disc, followed by physiotherapy and rehabilitation. And finally by September I was capable of crossing continents and returning to my homeland.
And so I found myself landing at Heathrow on a dark autumn evening. The strangeness of the familiarity was hard to grasp as I got on the underground and headed into my city. I've never seen London quite like I saw it that night, as I rumbled down the piccadilly line, disorientated, tired and happy to be back. I checked into a hostel, because I'd always wanted to see London as a tourist, called some dearly missed friends, went to a pub, and got back to the hostel at midday the next day. It was an epic return home.
I spent three awesome weeks travelling around England and Wales visiting family and friends. I gradually relearned that cars would come at me from the right instead of the left, remembered that I had to go to the bar to order drinks in pubs and that no-one would come and take my order if I just waited at a table, and got used to spending pounds again. Just as I was getting accustomed to British life again, though, it was time to head back south.
I flew to Toronto. My plan was to stay with some friends in London, Ontario, but unforeseen circumstances meant that they were in London, England while I was heading west. So I spent a night in Toronto, went up the CN Tower, and ate myself diabetic in Tim Hortons. I really spent far too much time in Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is amazing.
At the airport I crammed one final chemically-flavoured maple syrup doughnut into my mouth and flew back to Chile. I was already missing London. I was already missing Tim Hortons.