I’m sitting at my desk, at an apartment that I’ve rented with Matt on a very short-term basis. I’m two months into a five month stint in Ottawa. True to form, we’ve decided to tuck ourselves away in a less pricey, less popular (and therefore, infinitely more “cool”… or so I believe) neighbourhood on the Quebec side of the Alexandra Bridge. Oui, nous sommes tellement francais maintenant.
It’s snowing, and so I took a walk. It’s cold again outside. Not anything unbearable, but a reminder that it’s still winter. I have many apprehensions about living in Ottawa, but there’s something about walking across the Alexandra Bridge toward Ottawa when it’s snowing. Ottawa has a particular kind of beauty not often witnessed elsewhere in Canada. Parliament Hill and the adjacent market have attempted to hold on to their early-1900s aesthetic. It doesn’t always feel authentic (in the way that many “tourist” facing areas tend to want for an organic expression of time and place…) but it feels satisfying and appropriate, especially juxtaposed to the very modern US Embassy that looms nearby. I find the whole thing charming. It gives a distinctly nationalistic impression. Very Canadian, in a way to which I really don’t relate. Post-cardesque.
I walk this route almost daily. I’ve been wandering for two months now. In the depths of cold, and then, in a reinvigorating “hot spell” (8 degrees celsius!), I wandered. Though I have doubts about whether this city is a good fit for me, I am a sucker for looks.
Often, I’ve been bored. For weeks at a time I’ve been greatly, heart-achingly, unbelievably bored. Wandering listlessly along the same routes–literally following footsteps I had laid in the snow the day before and the day before that. But this boredom has been punctuated by some really great plot-mapping and deep interest in the nuanced time period that I happen to be researching. And so, I guess I owe some credit to this boredom.
We never know where we’ll find ourselves. I was hoping to find myself on an epic hike, on the summit of a mountain. Or, better yet, on a pilgrimage to Mysore, India where I had originally planned to spend January 2014. Instead, here I am. Finding myself in the soft falling snow in a city where I’m a stranger to everyone.