The sun highlights the orange leaves that fall wordlessly to the ground. Like me they seem surprised that it’s so warm in November.

I’m at Bom Dia, an adorable Portugese bakery on Queen West. It’s the way cafes should be – friendly staff who say “I’ll bring it up to you – you can pay later”. Where there are mugs and plates and long silver spoons for stirring, instead of countless disposable coffee cups. A relaxed vibe with beats that comfort yet don’t overwhelm, and upstairs seating that overlooks rows of Portugese tarts, sweets and treats. I love my walks in the city, breaking out of routine and wandering around, where I feel slightly rebellious to be seeking something a little different, to seek a tiny bit of adventure in a familiar yet different Toronto, one that I’ve come to love and sometimes hate because of how it’s changed in places I don’t expect.

My new favourite hero in the world of human rights is Nice Leng’ete, a Maasai Kenyan woman. At age eight, she ran away from home to avoid being subjected to a painful rite of passage for young girls – one that should be labelled as a human rights violation and a crime, rather than a cultural tradition. She and her sister ran 70 km through the wilderness, to their aunt’s house. She avoided the procedure, and has since become an activist, rescuing thousands of girls from this fate, and provided a safe haven that enables them to live their lives freely and without fear. She recently wrote a book, The girls in the wild fig tree : how I fought to save myself, my sister, and thousands of girls worldwide, that I am looking forward to reading.

This Halloween was really fun! Somehow I ended up wearing three costumes. The first one by mistake since I wore an orange dress and my glasses to my building party (too tired to bother with a costume after recovering from the flu), and people thought I was Velma from Scooby Doo. Coincidentally there was a Shaggy and Daphne at the party so we made quite the trio! My second outfit was a Spanish dancer, that I wore to my friend Magda’s for dinner. And the third was a Sheriff cowboy outfit, that I quickly put on to meet my friend Jasmine who was handing out candy with some friends in the neighbourhood. There were a lot of unicorns this year!! And one little monkey who learned to say Yes just in time for the question, “Would you like more candy?”.

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