Today is St-Jean Baptiste, the Quebec national holiday. While my fellow Montrealers, along with the rest of the province, enjoy the warm weather and copious amount of beer that come with this mid-week bank holiday, I’ll be making the final moves into my new apartment.
I decided to get my moving done a week early, because while the rest of Canada celebrates the nation’s birthday on July 1, all of Montreal descends into this spiralling vortex of chaos known as Moving Day.
Six years ago, I sat on the front steps of my very first apartment with one of my first two flatmates, who was a girl I met in my Greek mythology class the previous September. We bought chips and soda from the Couche-Tard on the corner of our new street and made plans for the upcoming adventure of being two college girls sharing a big apartment with another student.
Today, I am sitting on those same steps — by myself this time, with a cup of coffee on the stoop next to me. It’s still quite early, and the only other living things awake right now seem to be the birds and squirrels. They, and my thoughts, are my only company right now.
Six years is a long time to live in one apartment in this city. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of being only ten to twenty minutes away on foot from wherever I have to be on any given day, and I’ve been quite happy here sharing this space with an international and colourful cast of interesting flatmates and couch-crashing friends. Although I haven’t seen or spoken to my first two since we parted ways at the end of year one, I’m still in touch with a good number of the twelve (yep, twelve) people with whom I have shared rent, drinks, meals, and experiences since then.
So far, 2015 has brought a whole slew of changes to my life in the forms of both gains and losses in my life, and it seems fitting somehow that after a challenging first half of the year I’ll be starting a new chapter of my life in a new place with an amazing friend.
If these walls could talk, they’d tell you so many stories…and you’d realize then just how big of a role this place has played in my life. Six years ago, I moved in as a nineteen-year-old student who had no idea what it was like to live on one’s own and be totally responsible for oneself in all aspects of life. Today, I move out as an almost twenty-five-year-old woman with a little bit more than just a Bachelor of Arts and two years of professional work experience under het belt.
As I prepare to finish packing and cleaning up this space I used to call home, I realize now why so many sitcoms use characters’ apartments as central sets. So much of the stuff of life happens in apartments. I have lived, loved, laughed, cried, fought, dreamed, and grown in this apartment, alongside others who did the same.
This is the bedroom where I woke up one cold February morning to the news of my father’s death. This is the bathroom where I sat under a hot stream of water after being stood up and realized my self-worth. This is the kitchen I made countless meals, batches of cookies and brownies, and argued with roommates over whose turn it was to do the dishes. This is the office where I wrote term papers and studied for exams. This is the living room where I watched movies and played video games and had pizza and beer with my pals. This is the laundry room that flooded one summer night when the washing machine broke, and where I consequently made my very first claim on tenant’s insurance. This is the exterior staircase which, because of its rusty and rickety blue metal construction, has been called “deadly” and “crazy” by pretty much everyone who’s had to climb them…and then go back down. This is the front stoop where I sat and thought and dreamed on many long nights and early mornings.
This is another place I can remember as once being “home,” and this is the door from which the road goes ever on and on.
Samantha (Spring 2010)
Carolina (Summer 2010)
Serafina (Summer 2010)
Jamie (Fall and Winter 2010)
Felix (Winter 2015)