I rode my motorcycle to Toronto yesterday and am incredibly happy. My intense joy isn't due to the city, it comes from the pleasure of hanging out with two really-good friends.
Suzanne and Patti are fashion-bloggers whom I was introduced to through blogging and later turned into real friends. I've met both in person several times when they visited New York and also at the Vancouver meetup Suzanne organized last year. When they recently invited me to join them in Toronto (where Suzanne lives), I leapt at the opportunity. It was a smart move.
Toronto is a surprisingly-large city, the fourth biggest in North America. (The first three, in order, are Mexico City, New York and LA.) Like New York, Toronto has numerous different neighborhoods with distinctive character. At Suzanne's suggestion, I got a hotel-room in the bohemian part of town, where young and artistic people congregate, socialize and buy unique stuff. Strolling down the street minutes after my arrival, I shopped in wonderful little boutiques and bought a bunch of hand-made coin-purses and greeting cards to later give as gifts.
Let me mention my biggest source of happiness on this trip. It is Suzanne and Patti themselves. These two women are compassionate toward me in ways that touch me deeply. They accept me for who I am, they relate to me as I am, and they encourage me to be myself. That is soooo nice.
Additionally, it is rare. I've spent my whole life not getting this from people. From earliest memory, I wanted to be seen as female -- but was not. After struggling for years with universal non-acceptance of who I am, I gave up hope of ever receiving it. So to be offered compassionate understanding now, my mind is blown. Boom!
You are lucky if you have friends as caring and lovely as Suzanne and Patti.