a self-proclaimed city slut.

“I’ve been in Paris for less than 24 hours and I’m already in love. I mean, how can you not be?” I gush to our tour guide, gazing up at St. Michael’s Fountain. “I guess I’m kind of a city slut though.” He gives me a quizzical look, not sure how to react to such a declaration. Maybe he wondered whether this is some strange Canadian expression he’s not familiar with. It’s not. In fact, I made it up on the spot, but the sentiment seems to fit.

It’s true. I’m all too willing to give my heart away to any city that shows me a good time.

It started in Vancouver when I was 16. I was fascinated that people in my own country could seem so different than those at home. I ate the best french fries of my life and watched fireworks that took my breath away. I was ready to move across the country in search of the ocean, and mountains, and that chillaxed west coast attitude.

Next, it was New York City. I fell head over heels for the glittering skyscrapers, and the constant buzz of passion that every New Yorker seems to exude. I couldn’t believe that, if you had enough money, you could buy a Picasso or Warhol piece of your very own. I didn’t think I’d get ever get sick of stumbling upon sights from my favourite movies. I instantly identified with the grimy chic of the East Village and imagined it becoming my home.

My latest affliction is Paris, where history books come to life, the smell of freshly baked bread wafts into your cab while you’re driving home from dance clubs that never seem to close, and romantic moments are around every corner. It’s impossible not to have a wild adventure in Paris if you want to – I mean, you can take the Metro to a palace. And it’s true that, once you go, you’ll never be the same. I think I’ll always yearn for Paris. Sometimes this feeling is so strong it hurts, and I don’t even know what’s brought it on.

But the truth is, Toronto was my first city love affair. I grew up a couple of hours away and once or twice a year we’d get to visit the big city. As a kid, going the annual fair was one of my favourite occasions and that’s what Toronto reminded me of – the bright tilt-a-whirl of lights, food smells wafting from every corner, and throngs of people all pushing their way towards the next attraction – it was like a fair that never stopped.

Now Toronto is my home. Like anything comfortable, there are times when I take it for granted. Sometimes, like when I’m pushing through crowds of people after a long day of work or being accosted by the tenth person in a single block asking for change, I even resent her for these quirks that I once found so fascinating. But on others, I feel that spark and I understand exactly why I fell in love with this city in the first place – I see the beauty of the street and get back to the feeling that here, I can accomplish anything.

Yet, no matter how much I love this city, eventually, I always long for somewhere else. Perhaps I was born with a gypsy soul – one that requires the mysteries of unknown streets in order to be refueled with inspiration. And so I’ll continue to chase my bliss to any corner of the world that calls my name, leaving little pieces of my heart in the cities that take my breath away, before coming home to rekindle the fire with my main squeeze.

Toronto might not be my one and only. Perhaps it won’t even always be my home. But it was my first true love, and that means something, even to a city slut like me.

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