staying put


The last few years I've had the luxury of an extended Christmas break. Generally I've been out of town, only to return the day before New Year's to celebrate with friends. This year, I returned almost immediately after the holidays and have been back at work during this gap between Christmas and New Year's day (although I've been working from the home office for the past two days). It feels a bit odd to be at work though, since this year the majority of the people I know are all off until the 4th. I wish I had done the same. I could use some more idle time to relax and spend time with friends and family.

This morning I read a post on GOOD about 'staycations'. Reading this made me think that next Christmas I'd like to stay put in the City. Maybe I might find some way to host Christmas for my family (although living in an apartment and having a large family makes that very difficult). If there is one reason why I would want a house is so I could invite my entire family to come and stay with me. We are really limited as to where we can get together because so few of us live in spaces that can comfortably accommodate such a large group. But I'm genuinely sad to not be able to spend as much time as I'd like with my siblings and parents. I suppose that's why I've been enjoying hanging out with a new 'urban family' (a term I've borrowed from my friend miss sarah).

After three and a half years living in this city, I'm finally starting to feel established. I was lucky to move here and have some friends (Wade in particular) to start out with, but it's only very recently that I've really felt that I have a functional network both personal and professional. It's this set of people, particularly the personal connections, that have made me decide that I am staying in Edmonton for the much longer term than I had ever really considered before.

I suppose part of the reason why I've changed my mind is that I've begun to make friends who have also decided to stay put. They're committing to the city, making it better in their own ways, and also being there to socialize with. I like having more people in my life who are not just friends when it is convenient. We have regular interactions, sometimes so regular that it begins to feel like we are family. I like that. When I came back to Edmonton after Christmas, I found that the next day I was woefully lonely. It was really strange to be back in my apartment and not have at least four other people in close proximity. Needless to say, I was pleased as punch and judy to join up with some of my new friends for dim sum in the middle of the afternoon.

the selection

the feast

We feasted on tasty delights and relaxed with easy conversation. We collectively made fun of the nearby table of dudes (and their Dad?) who were all decked out in Ed Hardy gear, bomber jackets with fur trimmed hoods, manicured brows, spraytans, and massive shades. We even conspired to secretly photograph the parade of douchebags as they were leaving. I knew if I were to be attacked by said d-bags that my chums would leap to my defense (even if that defense only came in the form of witty jabs and intellectual punches).


After dim sum we stopped in next door at the Hong Kong Bakery to pick up some more tasty delights, this time in the form of delicious Chinese pastries. It was a lovely way to conclude our little social gathering.

something for everyone

soviet block

Looking ahead, my social calendar seems to be filling up quickly. Wade's birthday is tomorrow, there is New Year's the following day, not to mention just ordinary get-togethers that are sure to happen on a fairly frequent basis in 2010. I write this not to say, "Oh look at how popular I've become!" (I assure you I am not, I've met some folks who have an appreciation for my particular brand of humour) but as a reflection on how nice it feels to have a group of individuals who have quickly become like an extended family without plans to move away.

So, City of Champions, you may not have won my heart just yet, but you have by virtue of my current career prospects, the wonderful qualities of certain residents and the photographic potential of the High Level Bridge, convinced me to stop dreaming about moving to Vancouver in the very near future. I may not sound very committed, but remember that I am writing this in the very depths of winter, when I am at my most melancholy. Taking this into consideration, this declaration of ambivalent resignation to living here is very nearly equivalent to my shouting my love for this city from the rooftops.

a view I could live with

I doubt that will ever happen even in the summer. While I'm here though, I will continue to spend time with the various branches of my urban family (wining, dining, slumming recreationally) as well as document my time photographically. If I'm going to stay put I might as well make the most of it.