I’ve been in constant comparison mode since I got here, thinking about how Calgary doesn’t seem to know what it is. It’s a strange change coming to Winnipeg, which has many overlapping stories and histories and mythologies about itself. Winnipeg has many identities which can all be true for different people. Conversely, Calgary can’t seem to figure out what it is, or its identity seems phoney at times. It’s like an insecure person who has attended too many self-improvement seminars but shouts about how they are fantastic. Maybe some people would define it by the Stampede and other things I hated and chose to ignore.
Here, there are tiny bunnies instead of Calgary’s huge jack rabbits, and I haven’t seen a single pigeon or magpie. Lots of crows and Canada geese, though, and weirdly tiny beige and brown squirrels. Calgary has these huge black squirrels the size of housecats. My aunt used to buy peanuts at Costco for her backyard squirrels in Temple. She affectionately named one especially mangey one ‘Mrs. Baldy’.
It’s hard to get a place to live, here. Application forms have ridiculously personal questions and the companies expect a lot of your former landlords and employers. I don’t remember finding a place in Calgary being this hard, and they have similar vacancy rates. This one asks if the employee is punctual, and the employers/landlords are expected to send the reference sheets back within 24 hours. It’s like they don’t even want to rent to anyone. I thought I had found a place with a more laid-back landlord, but he gave it to someone else, saying he had received many good applications so he decided to just give it to the first person who had seen his ad. I’m feeling pouty because I’m pretty sure I was the first person to view the apartment, but I’m splitting hairs, and it’s not helping. I guess I wasn’t refreshing Kijiji fast enough. We’re trying to find a place that allows pets, and it’s proving to be almost impossible. Winnipeg needs a cat cafe. I have a cheesy ad posted with the picture from our christmas card, and have had barely any replies, or they are in the complete wrong location or are hundreds of dollars more than my asking price. A nice woman just called to set up an appointment and I later Google-mapped the place, and it is so far-flung that it would take me a 45 minute bus-ride to get downtown from there, and an hour to get to school. I know for a fact that if I am that far away, I won’t want to go anywhere.
I’m rambling. I want to like Winnipeg, but I’m going to be grumbly until we find a place. I’m beginning to feel like we’ll have to live in some dump.