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| August 29, 2016


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baking school: day one.

I did it! I survived the first day of baking school! And our class was dismissed 45 minutes early because we are that awesome and get right to business. :)

Let me first start by saying my first few days in Toronto have been a little rough. Not terrible by any means, but just not peachy. I loved the drive over on the freeway - I kept thinking to myself, Wow. These roads are so much better than American roads. Way to go, Canada! My dad had warned me that people drive slow in Ontario - nope. I was cruising at 80 mph like everyone else (except they were going 130 km/h... and that was wayyy over the limit of 100). ;)

The alley that I call home.

Things changed a little bit once I got into the city. I haven't explored the entire area (this is a big place, after all), but I did hit the shoreline briefly and I detoured a gazillion times accidentally through downtown, so I have a pretty good picture. And let me tell you... traffic is horrendous. Verified by the Ontario natives in my class, even.

People park on the street willy-nilly. WHAT. Out of the blue you have to cut into the left lane to avoid hitting parked vehicles. Hundreds of drivers do this, people. Not just a few here and there. How are there not more smooshed fenders here?!

My funny story of the hour: I accidentally drove up onto the subway tracks because I was so overwhelmed and couldn't figure out the median in my frustration. In the middle of a busy intersection. Greeted by lots of horns.

For those of you who know me pretty well, I'm a decent driver - it's practically one of my hobbies. We'll leave it at that and carry on.

My baby! Safely tucked out of harm's way, albeit still on a pretty steep hill.
I found my way to a few grocery stores after doubling back several times, battled a myriad of gas station lines, criticized my American self for relying on plastic when the anti-fraud squad decided to not let me swipe anymore, and breathed a short sigh of I-can-finally-fix-my-GPS relief in the Lowe's parking lot until a man started slowly circling me with his car, staring at me with squinty eyes. A+ for best run-on sentence of the week.

I'm not exaggerating. Sunday did not feel like a holy day.

I then realized that my class started on Tuesday, not Monday, and that I could have spent an entire extra day at home peacefully decorating the Christmas tree... in blissful ignorance of what was to come.

A small herd of tiny elephants moved in upstairs, and although I am happily reminiscent of apartment living on campus... small, screaming children are loud. I'm debating giving them my Winnie the Pooh coloring book set as a peace offering. Or the cupcakes I brought home. We'll see who folds first.

My front (only) door! Isn't it great?
What else? I live on a hill. A steep hill. In a basement, off of a tiny alley. The Good Lord blessed me with a parking spot behind the house, instead of fighting the centipede line of cars out front. I learned this weekend that I had quite inconveniently forgotten how to parallel park.

... I now have a quick go-to guide saved on my phone. Smartphones, the answer to everything.

BAKING SCHOOL. RIGHT. The whole point of this post. (I've had a lot to get off my chest, okay?)

It was great. I parked in the wrong spot, of course. But the other building tenants were nice enough not to tow my innocent little baby blue car. Thank you, people with the big green box trucks. You are so kind.

That's my home down there. Basement living 101.

I didn't bring my camera with me to take pictures, but really the only thing I would have photographed today would have been the building itself. I'll get on that tomorrow, promise. We can't use our phones or cameras at all during the day - only after we've cleaned up and it's time to go home. I did make a layered cake, but heaven knows I didn't need to bring it home. It's just me. And as of right now I'm not offering a whole cake to the children upstairs.

There are 7 other ladies in my class. One seems to be about my age, the rest are older. During our lunch break it was fairly quiet. Everyone was probably quite happy munching away in silence, but hello. It's me.

My view coming up the steps. Notice the pirate flag... she's doing it right.

So I started asking everyone where they're from and why they're here. It was amazing! Only one other woman worked in a bakery. And she was originally from England and had the best accent. (I'm a sucker for that stuff.) Every woman was doing it for herself - one is a mother from India (she was my partner today and was so fantastic and sweet!), another was a pharmacist using up vacation time. The girl my age wants to sell goods at farmers' markets, and another lady is thinking about changing careers and wanted to test it out.

I love my group. It was so awesome to hear everyone's story. We all worked well together with getting supplies, offering cake decorating advice, washing dishes what seemed like every ten minutes, and cleaning up at the end of the day. Lots of smiles and lots of laughter. That's my happy place, right there.

I found my long-lost swiss cheese crackers that Nabisco used to make!! They ended up in Canada. Get with the program, America.

I made buttermilk chocolate cake today with my partner and swiss meringue buttercream. We watched the instructor make one-bowl vanilla cake and fluffy vanilla frosting... the cupcakes were the fruit of his labors. But YES! I did frost two myself, according to his instructions. (Susie, so far I like your cupcakes better! Plus one to For Goodness Cakes!)

I'll share more thoughts later, whether tomorrow or the next day. Especially for those of you interested in the course, I'll give a better breakdown of what a normal day looks like.

Vanilla cupcakes with fluffy vanilla frosting.
As for everyone else, thanks for reading! I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers and hope you're preparing yourselves to be my test subjects when I get back to the States!!

Also and very importantly, I've only heard one trademark Canadian "Eh," but I love how everyone says "about" and "process" and similar words. (Mix a-boat and a-bowwwt. And say prooo-cess. As in pro football. I love it. It's great.)

And for the sake of those who made me promise:

We're not allowed to have our hair down, of course. And yes, this is my bathroom. I can't take good selfies, I'm sorry. When a better photo surfaces, I'll be sure to share. Or replace this one. That's a promise, because I hate this photo.


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