Toronto: A little work, a little food

I’m getting itchy feet already. I should be finding jobs but instead I’m dreaming up trips for later on, a road trip through Utah and Colorado, a month in Vietnam, Cambodia, Puerto Rico… The gypsy blood. But this is why I came to Canada. To travel and work, I’m just not doing so well on the work front.

On Friday I had my first taste of work here. I signed up to a temp agency – it seems to be really common here, but something I would never even have thought of trying. The same day I get a call late in the afternoon, could I do four hours the next morning. Yes! Super keen! I haven’t even asked what the pay is. Maybe I jumped in too quick…

It was a reception job, for a law firm downtown. I didn’t really think it through. The girl with social anxiety, terrified of answering the phone as anyone who has ever worked with me before may have noticed. And now here I was sitting in front of a phone with 14 different lines trying to juggle answering the phone, saying hello to anyone who turned up, work out how the hell to transfer a call, send to answer machine, pronounce any of the bloody names. Stress.

I turned up early hoping to make a good impression. But half an hour later and I was still sitting twiddling my thumbs looking awkward. I was the reception, so who the hell do I ask where to go. Emailing the agency, a girl angry and stressed, shouting down the phone comes out into the reception area, ‘Are you Rachael?’, can I say no?

They didn’t realise I was coming. That I didn’t have any experience as a receptionist. I’m an analyst by trade, and practically to the core. Now here I am trying to understand how to manage a switchboard and I’m in trouble. I don’t even know how to log out of my phone back in Scotland! After losing multiple phone calls, apologising repeatedly, accidentally hanging up on clients, and forgetting everyone’s names I finally get the hang of things. Now I just need to work on sounding half professional.

By the time I finish my measly four-hour shift I’m left feeling completely demoralized. All a learning experience, but maybe just a little too much of a push in the wrong direction. I did manage to fix their terrible excel spread-sheet. None of the names matched the order on the phone, and the thing bugged me so much I fixed it. I might not be able to answer phones but give me an excel table and I’m golden.

I left sheepishly, practically ordered out the place by the regular receptionist before I could mention anything. And honestly I just wanted to run and hide by this point. But forgetful me had to leave something behind didn’t she. As soon as I walk back in the door her expression is totally different, ‘Where did you get this?? You need to show me’. So at least I can feel slightly accomplished now.

Toronto is very like a European city with its subway and street cars. There’s something familiar about it, always something on, a festival, markets. This weekend I went down to the Food Truck Festival in Woodbine Park. Everything from tacos made from waffles, jerk chicken to squid on a stick. In the excitement I pay a whopping $10 to drink some pineapple juice out of a pineapple. But you gotta admit it looks pretty fun. Before eating Tacos filled with brisket fresh off the BBQ, and finishing with the most amazing ice cream. I’m completely dead.

DSC_0600Mm tasty ribs cooking on the BBQ

DSC_0602Chimneys, aka Doughnut cones

‘Smores’ – Vanilla ice cream packed with meringue chunks, caramel, chocolate and topped with a toasted marshmallow, all inside an incredible sugared doughnut cone.

Pineapple in a pineapple, thanks to TropicLove

I’m still struggling to kill the urge to pack it all in, max out my credit card, book a flight to Vietnam and travel for a month or two. Return home with my tail between my legs. ‘I tried’. It sounds all too appealing right now. But it’s not as strong as it once was.

I just need to get out of here, find something else to do besides job applications. I’ve started planning my escape already. Soon.

Hopefully very soon.

3 thoughts on “Toronto: A little work, a little food

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