The first time I visited the Danforth, a variety of things caught my attention. Some of them because of their beauty, like an impressive white house with a bright red door, and buildings with beautiful architecture, like the church. Also, because something seemed unique, like signs with an “x” on it for pedestrians on Pape and Aldwych Avenues (I had not seen this in Colombia, the country I’m from). But among them all, one special place caught my attention the most: the Serano Bakery.
This spot reminded me of my country, my family, and my childhood. In Colombia, there are bakeries everywhere, sometimes several on a single block. It was easy to experience the delicious and tempting smell of all the addictive pastries, and I was always happy eating them, especially if it contained chocolate. Serano Bakery brought back these memories, and not only for having seen its attractive facade, but for the pleasant fragrance that I notice when I walk past the front door. In addition, I learned something else about this place which caught my attention too: it’s from Greece!
The first time I went to the bakery, I felt extremely excited. Though later, I felt overwhelmed; it was strange being there. I felt at home again when I saw the same display cases next to each other showcasing their products—in addition to the bread section behind them. Still, it was different. It felt too big, with too many unknown products. I guess I was hoping to find similar food, as I had been feeling a bit homesick. After deciding what I would like to eat, I went to the ticket dispenser to order (another strange thing, because I had never seen something like this in a bakery).
With or without a drink, the desserts were amazing—the cookies were both crunchy and soft at the same time. The size and the inside chocolate filling quantity were ideal, so the cookies had the appropriate amount of sweetness. I ate them wishing they could transport me home because sometimes it is hard to be far from family, friends, known places, flavours, and traditions. It was not the same as my country’s pastries, but it was the opposite of deception: these cookies were very special because of the way they made you feel with each bite. While you eat them, you can just feel happy. In fact, there is still a lot on the menu for me to try in the Serano Bakery.
I understand now that new places, new people, new experiences, and getting to know the variety of other cultures is fantastic. I have learned that different does not mean bad, and changes/new challenges in life are good. Not conforming or leaving your comfort zone is sometimes necessary, and this does not mean you cannot go back from time to time. Now I see the positive change, because one grows and learns to overcome the possible difficulties that appear in our lives. It is as simple as walking into a completely new place, such a bakery, in another country, and instead of going back out because it feels strange and a little uncomfortable, it is about taking another step forward and trying something new.