From The Miserable Bridge

So long, Torontonians*. Goodbye to your hey-how-are-yas, to your many shapes and sizes and colours and accents, to your excellent nails, teeth and eyelashes. Goodbye to your civilized line-ups, no matter how chaotic the situation. Goodbye to your friendliness, your earnestness, your vague discomfort around my constant sarcasm, to the way you always offer your food around, to the little gifts you give out at Christmas and Halloween and Valentines’ Day.

Goodbye to Tim Horton’s: Tim’s, Timmies, Tim-Tims. Cheers to Double Doubles, to the Rollup competition (I only ever won more Tim’s), to Timbits, to novelty hockey donuts, and really…


When we first arrived in Canada, I would sometimes cry when I went to the grocery store. A variety of of things would set me off. I tried to do our first big home-stocking shop on July the first, not realising that it was Canada Day and that little to no stores would be open. I rode busses and streetcars to various groceries that had been recommended to me, only to find them shut. I was once overcome by emotion in the detergent aisle, finding myself unable to be certain of which of the products before me was actually laundry…


About half a lifetime ago I became, for a few years, a bookseller. One January, when I was 20 years old, I returned from a brief working holiday in the United Kingdom, walked into a local bookstore chain, and handed in my CV. Honestly I can’t imagine what it said, at that point in my life. Probably it detailed my high school marks, my previous work experience as a waiter and a warehouse packer, and maybe a short testament to my love of fiction. Anyway, I handed it in at a lucky time (there were fresh vacancies) and a week…


A long, cold season

The worst thing about winter is trying to get the kids dressed. Most days, I leave for work too early to be involved in the endeavour, which is a guilty relief. Last year I made a little Instagram story about getting them ready to go out, when it was still a novelty. The layers we stuffed them in: underpants and socks, long johns and long sleeve vests, sweatpants and shirt, a sweater, a snowsuit, a coat, and then the accessories. Boots, scarves, mittens, hats. This year we have convinced them to dress themselves before they leave their bedrooms to ask…


Photo: Rowan Eva

As the possibility that we will soon be leaving Toronto becomes more real, I’ve started to think a lot about the things I’ll miss. Anybody who has been to Toronto will tell you: it’s fine. It’s not particularly beautiful. It’s not particularly well-positioned for travel to other particularly excellent places. It’s expensive, for reasons that are not particularly obvious. It has good food and all the big bands pass through and the major theatre productions swing by eventually, it has good jobs and schools and the museums are fine. Bad days in January may leave you wondering if all life…


I never took a gap year. After high school, my friends left for gap years in droves, but I did not. I guess I wasn’t a very independent person, but also I was the kind of person who did what was considered ‘most sensible’, and what was most sensible was go to University and become a doctor. I must have expressed regret at the time because I do remember being told that I could ‘do it later’. …


(And also, you have things to do)

It’s the dead of winter and the park is nothing but slush and ice. You’ve done all the crafts, all the card games, all the puzzles. No, they won’t just play trains by themselves or even with each other. On top of that, you have Chores to do. Below are some ideas.

You know what kids love? A spray toy. That’s why there’s an entire aisle of them at the Dollar store when summer rolls around, they’re what kids wrestle each other for at splash pads and the beach and in all back yards ever. It’s why people love paintball…


Max Is Six

Max is six years old. The day he was born is still so clear in my mind. I had been on leave for a month already, waiting and waiting for labour to start, and one Monday afternoon I went to my obstetrician for a check in and to decide if I should be induced, and the CTG was non-reassuring, and then I was having a Caesarean section. I remember that I had left my lunch on the front seat of my car. I remember that the spinal was already in by the time Rowan crashed into theatre…


It struck me a while ago that I knew absolutely nothing about Cape Town before I moved here. I’d come here for the weekend once or twice during University, and before that for a family holiday in primary school. As I was getting ready to leave University it seemed like it would be a nice place to live, and when I made my selections for my internship placements I picked a bunch of hospitals in the city, and was ultimately placed at GF Jooste Hospital in Manenberg. I didn’t know where Manenberg was. To be fair, the friend I was…


Max is Four

Max loves a grown-up. It’s partly because they are the vectors of sweets and gifts, but also because he can pepper them with questions. He could only speak the tiniest handful of words when he was 2, but he now has a rapidly expanding vocabulary that he uses mostly to ask questions. Hundreds and thousands of questions. I am surprised by which questions I find easy to answer, and which I don’t. It was relatively straightforward, for example, to explain where babies come from and why old people die. On the other hand, I have found it close to impossible…

Karen Eva

State doctor, mom-in-training. Bad runner. Fiction reader. Occasional cook. I mostly write about parenting, doctoring, the intersection of these.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store