After two and half years, I have finally met some of John's family!
John's brother Allan and his girlfriend Judy came from Orillia (sp?) to spend a couple of days with us. Although we're not unpacked yet, we managed to put together a place to sleep for them and to find four seats for us to sit on. They arrived late Wednesday afternoon, so John left work a bit early. We went for dinner at a pub called Scruffy's on Eglinton and had some drinks and nachos and got introduced.
Prior to Wednesday, in my mind Allan was just the subject of legends. I had heard so many crazy tales of John's childhood and the trouble he would get into with his big brother. And more recently, whenever John would go away to pay him a visit, he would come home battered and bruised, telling me that they like to practice their various MMA and judo moves on each other whenever they get together,
"Jacki, I learned a new throw from Allan, want to see it?"
"If you're asking if I'd like to be thrown, no thank you. I will take your word for it that it's awesome."
So when it was finally time to meet him, I was a bit nervous. As it turns out, as the legends tell, he is in fact a big guy with a big personality, but my overall feeling is that he's a friendly, funny guy. And Judy is really great as well. I really enjoyed having them as company for the past few days.
After nachos at Scruffy's we headed to the comedy club across the street from our apartment, called Absolute Comedy. It was amateur night so we got to see six comedians perform. We were sitting in the very front row so of course we got heckled. I have to say that the amateur comics here are much better than any we saw at Ginger's tavern in Halifax (with the exception of Mark Little). At some points I was laughing so hard I started crying and so did John.
After the comedy show we headed across the street to Main Event for some karaoke. Allan is a great singer so when he heard I've been known to sing a tune or two at karaoke he said he definitely wanted to go. John and I were happy to check out Main Event anyway since we had never been there and apparently it's a bar you can go to for UFC fights.
We had fun at karaoke, although the sound quality wasn't great. It was hard to hear the singers. Allan sang Rebel Yell by Billy Idol and I sang Over My Head by the Fray. Judy doesn't sing and despite my best attempts, I have not yet been able to convince John to sing a duet with me. John and I left shortly after that because John had to work early in the morning and there was a long wait to get up and sing so it would have been over an hour before Allan was able to sing again.
Have I mentioned how much I love that on any night of the week I can leave my apartment and go to a comedy club and a karaoke bar without going more than half a block from my apartment? This neighbourhood is incredible.
The next morning (Thursday), John had to work, so I spent the day with Allan and Judy. We lounged around for a bit in the morning and then we went out to do some shopping so they could explore the neighbourhood.
Yonge Street goes on forever. We probably walked up it for about 45 minutes, and there was no end to this part of the shopping district, before turning around and walking back down the other side of the street. We visited all kinds of little shops and then stopped for lunch. After lunch we explored the mall attached to my building and they decided to see a movie. I went home for that since I had already seen most of the movies playing.
John got home before they did. We made some bagel sandwiches and hung out on the couch until they came home. Allan had offered to make dinner, so we hung out with Judy while he slaved away in the kitchen. He made us ceasar salads and some kind of chicken penne with a curry cream sauce and pineapple. It was excellent. And he made a ton so there is still lots left in the fridge.
After supper it was already pretty late, so we headed out again to yet another karaoke bar, this time one called Gabby's that was about a 15 minute walk away. The atmosphere in this place was a lot cozier and the sound quality was better. I sang Womanizer by Britney Spears and Girl's Not Grey by AFI (my favorite song to sing). Allan sang a couple of Nirvana songs and Paralyzer by Finger Eleven before John and I left, although I think he sang a couple after we left as well. He sounded much better that night than the night before and I think I did too.
We had to leave early to pick up tickets for something called the CNE. I'm not sure exactly what that is but apparently the price of the ticket includes rides, so I think it must be some kind of fair. As I write this and feel like an idiot, it occurs to me that maybe I should ask John for more details when he is planning our fun. Although he's never steered me wrong so I'll probably just keep going with it, content in my obliviousness.
Anyway, the point is that the tickets were on sale until midnight so we had to leave early. We bought them at 11:55pm, just under the wire. Then we headed home for sleeps.
John had to work early again this morning so he woke his brother from some groggy hugs before he left. I made breakfast for the three of us and then we went upstairs to the pool. Allan and Judy went for a swim and I laid out on the roof reading.
After we got back to the apartment, Allan and Judy packed up their stuff and headed off for the myriad of bus transfers on their journey back to Orillia. It was really great to meet them and I think they had a good visit with us as well. Judy said she wants to move here, so it can't have been all bad. It's a nice feeling to know we have some immediate family less than two hours away, makes it feel a little more like home.