I fall in love with places so much these days; I don’t know how any of you take me seriously.
I never understood Alberta’s economical amazingness until having spent the last few weeks here in Calgary. While the rest of the world deals with lack of jobs, unstable careers and questionable futures, Alberta is the place to go when you need to make a name for yourself. Like my friend Chris said, “If you can’t make it in Calgary, you can’t make it anywhere.”
For the most part, half of Canada frowns upon this lifestyle. Sure, it’s bit of a rat race. The streets of Calgary are jammed with SUVs and Ford 1-50s. People toss around dollar bills like nothin’. Everything is all corporate. It’s the exact opposite of every city I’ve ever loved (St. John’s and Montreal, especially), and somehow I’ve fallen hard.
1. Most people here aren’t from here. I’ve been visiting for just over two weeks, and I’ve made more friends in that short timeframe than anywhere else. East coasters tend to stick together, but we’re all young 20-somethings trying to find our way, and so meeting people and making new friends is insanely easy. I’ve NEVER shown up at a house party before where I’ve been welcomed instantly, and with great hospitality. Followed by a dance party to Oppa Gangnam Style. Of course.
2. The food scene. Holy cow. 30+ food trucks (Cheezy Bizness is still the best), Vietnamese galore, gourmet-style pizzas at Cilantro…I was pretty surprised. I still haven’t had Prairie Oysters.
3. The nightlife. I’ve partied harder these past two weeks than I have all year. Hard to believe, I know. But here’s proof.
And it’s not all just suits and white collars. Matt and I randomly walked into a hipster bar on Wednesday, to find a Ping-Pong tournament on the go. The announcer saw us standing by the door with horrified expressions, and told us to “stop staring at us like wild animals” and join the party. We did.
4. It’s not actually as expensive to live here as people say it is. My friend was renting a bachelor pad in Mission (about 20 minutes from downtown) for $800/month, pretty much what I can expect to pay in St. John’s. Most restaurants and bars have drink specials, and except for specialty brews, I’ve paid $6 at most for any pint. None of the bars I visited had cover charge, either.
5. It’s one hell of an active city. When you’re an hour away from the Rockies and surrounded by green-space (like the Bow River), you have no excuses for being lazy. Especially with so many fit, good-looking men around. Mrrow.
My experience here might have been entirely different if I weren’t so surrounded by amazing people. I’ve been crashing with two of my best friends, Matt and Laura, and they’ve shown me the most incredible hospitality. I spent the weekend in Edmonton with two other best friends, Ashley and Jessica, with whom I danced my face off until the wee hours of the morning.
If I’m being honest, my life in St. John’s feels stagnant these days. I still love that city beyond all others, but damn, so much has changed. My friends have moved on to big careers. My remaining friends have coupled up into serious relationships and adulthood. I’ve been unhappy, and feeling left behind.
I miss my insane social life. I miss my best friends. I miss the possibility of dating someone – ANYONE. And while I’m SO happy with my career decisions and my current location independence, I’ve been struggling like hell financially. That’s why I’m considering moving back here after Christmas for contract work, to get back on my feet.
Can I do it without getting sucked back into corporate? Can I maintain a life between Alberta, Newfoundland, and the rest of the world? Can I maintain my freedom? Who knows. I need Newfoundland and the ocean to clear my head.