“Any time there’s a major change, whether it’s going into a relationship, getting out of a relationship, moving to a new city, a death — that usually provides a catalyst for an explosion of creativity.” ~ Lucinda Williams
The chain of ‘Sense of Belonging’ thoughts was sparked off when I began madly wishing that I could have that ‘come home’ feeling about somewhere. This might have been prompted by some transatlantic apartment searching. Which involves my boyfriend viewing places, then trying to convey layout and the ‘feel’ of the place through words, crude sketches and some photos. It’s hard to visualise myself there and mentally placing furniture on a blank canvas or superimposing them over the current owner’s belongings.
Calgary is made up of a mosaic of communities each with their own distinct feel. People speak of being from a particular compass direction of the city and the sheer size of the place is mind-boggling. At least when you compare it to where I’ve lived before. It was hard to know where to begin our search but we were certain we wanted to be in the downtown core even though the pull of the ‘Mission’ area with its many coffee shops (caffeine/hot chocolate fix!) and art galleries (so I can perfect my musing face) was a strong contender. The Riverside apartments are also in a perfect location, the looming skyscraper structures on one side and Bow River on the other, sourced from the Rocky Mountains. Like a clash of nature meets city. I love natural water sources, some Bow stretches are more furious and turbulent than others but the sound is just lovely when everything else is quiet. It feels relaxing and almost easier to breathe.
The start of the search was demoralising. Each apartment lacked a certain something or had a nasty surprise. A primitive kitchen. The front and back yards littered with cars the landlord collected and had let rust into oblivion. Too claustrophobic and cosy (read: cramped). Rooms arranged like a maze. I wish I could have seen them in person as they sounded truly horrendous, I probably would have pulled my ‘let’s get outta here’ face behind the estate agents back and made a swift exit!
Finally settled on one apartment complex. The inside of it remains a mystery to me but all will be revealed when I return. Click the photo below to see some of the high-rises and interesting buildings around Calgary, from the majestic to the run-down. I’m determined to make this place a makeshift home (or close as) even if it is only for a year, even if most of my belongings are waiting for me back in the United Kingdom. But it makes me all the more terribly excited for the day I can walk into a building, look around and know ‘this is it’ and give up this near-nomadic existence.
I do know one thing for sure, when I return a day out at Ikea, aka self-assembly furniture heaven, is in order.