Maybe Edmonton Isn’t Soooo Bad. Maybe.

018 - CopyYou know you have moved to Northern Canada when all of your friends and family gift you with winter gear for the holidays. Apparently I have been doing a lot of complaining.  With the thick new boots from my PH, an adorable purple hat from a close friend, and a super-long hooded coat from my parents, I no longer have any justification for losing digits. My sister even crocheted me a fuzzy scarf with her own two hands. If I feel the cold at all now it is my own fault.

Six months in, I am starting to get used to my new surroundings. The city doesn’t feel like home yet. That will take a few more winters and no doubt another few moves. Probably more drinking. We still haven’t found a favourite pub, after all. It isn’t the same as our old place and there are still many things that irritate me. I dislike how many people feel free to walk their dogs off-leash in the ravine. The glaring streetlights beaming in our bedroom window are a constant source of sleeplessness. The noise of traffic, the fact that it is dark by four o’clock in the afternoon, and the ever-present dryness are all sources of annoyance. My skin is never going to recover, I know it. Still, I am adjusting. The benefits are beginning to outweigh the minuses.


As much as I will always adore Halifax, the rain was a huge downer. True, a part of me misses splashing in puddles. It is nice to not have to style my hair every day so that it fits under a hood. I won’t ever miss the constant dampness of everything – even if it made my skin happier. There were other, larger downsides to life in the Maritimes. Being so far from family and friends was a big one. When one’s house is a good five-day drive from relatives, one doesn’t end up seeing people she cares about the most all that often unless they are willing for fork out the cash for a plane ticket. I enjoyed our quiet life and our simple holidays, but I have to say it was a fun change this year to get to see family. It made them more special. Not to mention the brilliant training opportunities this lends to our dog.

026Shiva has never spent so much time in other people’s homes in her life until we moved here. In fact, until this summer, she had never been in someone else’s house. Ever. We had no idea how she was going to handle a new environment already inhabited by a new dog. In traditional Shiva style, she blew me away. Yes, there have been moments of concern and anxiety. There are always going to be with this mutt of ours. After visiting her cousin in Calgary and then staying over night twice at my practically in-laws, she is learning how to adapt to strange places and different rules without losing her shit. I think the changes have been good for her.

Not to mention, before we moved here we never, ever invited friends over to our house. It just didn’t happen and not entirely because we are hermits. Shiva’s territorial nature makes it awkward. When it’s family, we just deal and they all seem to understand when Shiva goes from soliciting pets to barking in their faces. Even if they don’t get it, their love for us forces them to put up with it. When it is friends, and friends who many never have lived with a fearful dog before, it is another matter. It just didn’t seem worth it. However, last night, for the very first time, we invited two human guests over for a late gift exchange. Two! Non-dog-owning! Friends! Was Shiva insane? Yes. Did she bark in their faces? Yes. Did anybody get hurt, threaten to sue, or storm away offended? No. Shockingly, no. After four hours the night ended with everyone still smiling and no one needing to visit the emergency room.

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It is often so easy for us to go through life doing the same things over and over again. Routines are natural. When I stop exploring or bothering to attend local events that used to thrill, I know I am in trouble. I have always thrived on change and I don’t think I am the kind of person who can stay in one place for too long. After five years on the East Coast, it was probably time for a re-location, regardless of the reason. Moving to Edmonton has forced me out of my bubble and given me new territory to explore. We now have a whole city full of new parks, theatres, restaurants, museums, and festivals. Moving ended the stagnation, rid me of excuses, and has pushed my dog’s boundaries. I still miss my friends and I definitely miss my former job. Somehow, I am getting accustomed to that. Edmonton, as frozen and as flat as it is, isn’t as bad as I expected. Maybe, just maybe I will be able to call it home one day. And if not, we can always move somewhere else.

14 thoughts on “Maybe Edmonton Isn’t Soooo Bad. Maybe.

  1. I invested in an extra humidifier this year and my skin has been very grateful ever since!
    If you and the PH are ever looking for a nice dinner out, I HIGHLY recommend the Hardware Grill. Hands down my favourite in your new city.
    Though I think we all collectively wonder why the h-e-double hockey sticks we live in Alberta November through March. -25 now, but I can cross my fingers for a chinook to warm it up on Monday, at least.


  2. Sounds like Shiva is chilling out. You have an adventure ahead of you getting to know everywhere.

    Get some blackout blinds for your bedroom.

    Hope you get warmer sunnier weather soon.


  3. Leave a couple of inches of water in your bathtub. It helps a lot with the dry air.

    And while your days are extra short now….just think how long they will be in the summer 😉


  4. I’m with Jen – get yourself a humidifier. Not only will your skin appreciate it but your rooms will feel warmer since moist air holds heat better than dry air.

    I’m thrilled that you’ve found a perspective about your move that works for you. I also get restless and need a new adventure once every decade (obviously I’m more emotionally retarded than you so it takes me longer to move on).

    First I buy a fixer upper in a neighborhood that even my brother-in-law the ex con was afraid to visit. Then I move to a small city without a job or knowing a soul and reinvent myself as a bicyclist, hiker, and kayaker. Now I’m planning my move to a sailboat.

    The only steady part of every adventure is that it always includes dogs.

    I’m thrilled that Shiva came through for you and that you relaxed enough to trust the people who love you to love you when your dog acts like a dog.


  5. I moved a lot when I was younger and although it took a while to adapt, the experiences of living in different places was incredible. It is so easy to get complacent in the same environment. Also I knew where I eventually wanted to live when I decided to settle down.


  6. A humidifier saved me when I lived in Chicago 🙂 My mother calls me a gypsy because I have never lived in one place for too long. We will be in this house 5 years in April, which will be the longest I have ever lived in one place! (oh no, is it time to move again??) I’m glad you are starting to settle in, they say it takes two years for a place to feel like home!

    I love Shiva’s coat – too cute!!!


  7. Wow I never knew she was like that with guests, good for you for changing routine and expanding her world. I know how stressful it can be. It helps to have guests who will respect your rules, bet she will continue to get better.


    • Yeah, she is a territorial little demon at times. Since we almost never entertain it hasn’t been a big issue. The only time it really gets to me is when we are camping and she barks at everyone who walks by our site. We should probably work harder on this in the future.


    • Well, I did live in a cold place, if you consider that every where in Canada is cold at least some time during the year. But now I live in an even COLDER place, because I am crazy like that.

      We actually moved due to a work promotion. It has not been an easy adjustment and I miss Halifax dreadfully but I am getting used to it.


        • It did! Which is why we couldn’t turn it down. As much as I adore the East Coast, our financial situation had to take priority. It is now our five year plan to make as much money as we possibly can and save to move to the West Coast. We shall see how it goes!


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