This city is a strange creature.
Sprawling out of control, cement and asphalt, and houses stretching for miles in any direction, nothing to hold it back, nothing to contain it. Nor any geography to guide it’s growth, to provide a pattern or direction for it to move.
Locals and inhabitants (Because we may live here but it does not mean we will ever be from here) say the city is laid out in a grid system, but some roads don’t connect; the one-way streets are a tangled labyrinth waiting to claim you for its own.
The people here range, like any city, to the very poor and homeless to the extravagantly rich. People are setting new precedents for housing prices, creating a competitive edge that isn’t going to help people find their own forever homes.
The smell of this city is… dry. It’s a desert, truly. I smell dirt on the wind, and unless I’m standing in the middle of Memorial Park, I can’t smell any trees or grass – my smell of sunshine. It is very dusty and gritty here, due to the incredibly extended winters and snowfall – the city sands the roads for traction and safety. This piles up to an inch deep in the gutters of some streets.
I don’t feel connected to this city, I haven’t found any neighbourhoods in it yet. Yes, google maps can tell me what neighbourhood I’m in, or will be travelling to, but they are just city blocks, filled with apartment buildings, teeny-tiny yards they call green spaces here and the odd large historical-looking building. Yes, it’s a vibrant city, but it feels like a vagrant city – everybody is just passing through and so they make few efforts to make it welcoming and inviting. I’m sure there are kitschy places and havens around, but I haven’t stumbled upon them yet.
I still feel lost and drifting, but I hope as I make this a place for me that I will be able to enjoy my tenure on the prairies. We have had a few thunder storms, which is in the top 3 good things about this move. I cannot wait to see the big ones that roll through during the summer. I will drive out to the country side and watch the lightening strike, and hear the thunder rumble so loudly it echos in my chest.
I am hoping that I will see some storms where the lightening never reaches the ground but instead connects within the clouds. That is simply the most powerful and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.