Just Bricks & Mortar

“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.

Walking across the Bow river on my way to Kensington area for a coffee.

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.



Filed under Calgary, Canada, Life

4 responses to “Just Bricks & Mortar

  1. Julie

    hey good luck on your apartment hunt! i know the feeling one lacks the other in an apartment. I was like that in the beginning, I didn’t like my apartment at first but I’m growing to like it. Since I start paying my student loans this month, I came to reality that my studio apartment or one bedroom place of my own can be on hold. I am actually renewing the lease for my current apartment because I like the price that I am paying for my own room at least and it just doesn’t make sense to keep throwing all those collaterals like security deposit and another months rent in the beginning when I know I’ve got to put my money in other things you know.

    I really like the starting quote “that usually provides a catalyst for an explosion of creativity” it’s so true. It could mean lots of things, I’m suprised at myself that even though I’m not at school, I’m still doing things and being active in life.

    Anyways have fun on your apartment search!

    • Is it me or does hunting for apartments feel very grown up? Scarily so! Budgeting is pretty terrifying too.

      Apparently my place is in close proximity to the river, Staples (stationary yes yes!!) and the TELUS world of science. It could be worst!

      I know a lot of people out of college who besides work don’t make the most of their precious free time. So it’s super you are. Oh my, how true is that quote indeed! I think it’s only when we’re faced with change or a life changing event we get up and do something new and realise we are capable of amazing things. It exactly the shove we need to not sit there and think about something, and actually DO IT!

  2. Taryn

    welcome welcome!!! [or soon to be welcome!!! april fourth is fast approaching!] you will love calgary! im just starting to fully explore and there is never enough to see! im currently in love with the store steeling home on 17th great for knick knacks and paper stuff and home stuff!

    i hope you have a wonderful time here and if you ever get lonely in the big city and need a coffee, hot chocolate you can drop me an email taryn.nielsen@hotmail.com!

    hope you have a safe flight and i will look for updates on your stay on here!!

    chow dolly.

  3. Hey lovely,

    Yay warm welcomes and I haven’t even landed on Canadian soil yet, thank you thank you for the encouraging words! 😀 Hope I fall in love with it!

    I spent some time in Calgary in summer 2006 and autumn 2009 and gave it two thumbs up, I don’t know the city very well though it’s still a big mystery to me. I always tend to find myself in the same areas – Kensington, Mission, Downtown and 17th. I’ll be the blondey looking lost but amazed at everything and taking it all in. I must remind myself not to jaywalk!

    Oh, steeling homes is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I stayed close to 17th Av 10st (near Tim’s)before, so I would lovingly gaze at all the goodies in the window every time I walked by. I must admit I was a sucker for box, paper, scissors in Kensington and the Social Page. Anything crafty and I’m there!

    I would love a hot chocolate buddy, say Second Cup and I’ll foam at the mouth haha. Delicious white hot chocolates – I want my hands on their recipe!

    By the way, reading your blog gives me smiles! Thank you again Taryn and so excited! xxx

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