Ice ice baby

Trip Start Jan 09, 2004
1
12
39
Trip End Jul 14, 2004


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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Living in a new city is like wearing in a new pair of shoes. When you first get new shoes it's exciting, or at least enjoyable, wearing them for the first few times. They're different and new, which is fun in itself, and they allow different outfit combinations. Moving into a new city provides a whole new place to explore, and being somewhere different gives me a sense of excitement just waking up in the morning. Plus, you get the opportunity to develop interests or parts of your personality you may not have been able to at home, depending on whom you spend your time with or what you do there.

But new shoes can also be annoying. They can rub your feet in places while you're getting used to them. It can be disappointing realising you definitely can't wear your new shoes with your favourite skirt. A new city is like that. It's irritating not knowing my way around, getting lost when I get off the bus at the wrong stop, and not knowing anywhere good to eat. It's hard not being able to see the beach at all, and giving up the gym classes I did in Australia because they just don't have them here.

New shoes soon become just shoes. They lose the sheer whiteness, for example, and mould to your feet so they don't hurt anymore. They become comfortable, reliable, just another pair of shoes you wear. Unfortunately cities lose their shine too. It's satisfying in a way, knowing a city. Knowing which buses and trains I can catch where, knowing where to go for a beer or a meal, and stopping in the hall or street to chat to someone familiar. But it's also a bit sad not having that sense of excitement just walking around anymore.

Calgary has become comfortable. I know that the 8:39 bus doesn't actually come until 8:45. I know that Calgary is as ordered as Adelaide. Instead of squares and grids, everything is orderly numbered. There's NW, SW, SE, and SW. Streets run North South, while avenues run East West. In the city 6th Avenue is followed by 7th Avenue, and so forth. I know that a beanie is a toque. I know how to mock a Canadian accent, eh? I know the university hosts free movies on Monday nights, and the times I can use the pool for free. I know what time my housemates won't be using the bathroom. I know that the opening of Dalhousie station stuffed up all the buses in Brentwood, where I live.

The best thing about coming to know a foreign city is knowing that when I go home, it too will be like a foreign city, at least for a moment. When I get off the plane and drive down to the beach in Adelaide I'll see it with fresh eyes. You have a point of comparison which can be pretty hard to deal with, if you don't see home in a good light, but it's a great experience to have. Last time around I found it pretty hard to handle but now I love calling Adelaide home. I don't miss it yet, but I know down the track when I get home I'm going to enjoy it. We have it pretty good.

But there's no need to be thinking about that now! I've got too much to look forward to. I'm already a quarter through my stay in Calgary. Then I'm going on to Quebec, which will be a test of my French ability. No doubt as soon as I get the hang of Quebecois I'll be moving on to Paris to start again. I haven't even started snowboarding yet, and I'm heading to Vancouver on the 18th of this month. That is going to be great. I'm really looking forward to some good BC salmon in sushi, and seeing the ocean again!
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