Heima! (Or, At Home)

A little Boney M., including an music video that I had no idea existed until this moment. No written explanation does this justice:

I wrote this on Friday:

I moved to this city two weeks ago, and now I have a home! Moved in on Wednesday. I feel pretty lucky that I found an apartment and moved in within the week, instead of waiting until December 1st to catch the next month of someone’s lease or sublet. My gracious hosts for the first days after my arrival, Mink and her roommate, Aliza, were lovely for having me for so long, but it’s nice to have a space to officially call my own.

My new roommates are Leah, a fashion marketing student, and her one-year-old black cat, Oliver. He’s been busy checking out my room and hopping in and out of my laundry basket and tentatively poking a paw at my belongings. I would say this is definitely a good sign for our impending friendship, but he is ‘fraidy cat if I ever met one.

My room is currently somewhat sparse, akin to my room in Vienna at this time last year, give or take a few weeks. I will doubtless have concert tickets and random art from secondhand stores and stolen street art adorning its walls soon enough. At least I have a bed now! It took Leah and I wayyyy too long to build it, which is embarrassing to admit. I suppose the IKEA gods were not smiling on us that day.

And the books! The Goodwill Store down the street from my place has a 50% off sale on Fridays, which meant that I couldn’t resist buying seven because they were like $1.50. And I am a sucker for books. And being a poor writer type, these books are all that I can afford at the moment. Fortunately, I did see the public library for our area, and it’s only a block away. Mmm, sweet sweet public library. Don’t take them away, Rob Ford!

I don’t know if it’s because I have lived in a few different cities now and am used to moving and learning how to navigate a new city, but I haven’t experienced much culture shock in the past two weeks. Not really at all, actually. Everything is just exciting. People warned me that Toronto might not be to my liking, but this city has a great energy. Maybe I’m still riding the high of having just moved – and there are negative aspects of the place, of course (see Rob Ford reference, above) – but I think it could eventually come to rival my first love, Montreal.

And this North-South East-West thing Toronto has going on is the best ever. Before moving here, I had no reason to actually learn which direction I was facing at any moment, but my terrible orientation skills have improved immensely since moving here. It helps that all the roads are straight and long and not windy, and that the street signs are in English and not German. (Although Vienna is definitely the more beautiful of the two cities, no contest.)

Welp, I know the internet has unlimited space for mundane posts like this, but I am going to hold off from the rambling until something happens that’s worth writing about. I wanted desperately to see the M83 concert tonight, but it was sold out before I even moved here. The only remedy to this crushing realization is to go out into the city and tear up the night.

Let the adventures continue!

A lazy Sunday update:

The weekend was indeed full of adventures, because Toronto is a city that seems to breathe on its own; its potential energy is always lying coiled just underneath its concrete surfaces. I’m sure I will have the opportunity to ruminate further on the inner, intertwined energy systems of cities as I come to know this particular one a little better.

Last night, we went to The Office Pub to sing karaoke, which was an excellent choice (but when has karaoke ever been a bad choice, really?). The second floor of this rather unassuming pub has karaoke on the weekends, with a great song selection but only one microphone, much to the chagrin of any patron who’s ever had a hankering to sing a sappy duet. We consumed a decent amount of alcohol, sang some tunes, and made friends with the birthday party that was sitting at the table beside us.

Peter and Mink sang “A Whole New World,” which was a real crowd-pleaser, judging by the applause. This became even more apparent when a rather diminutive birthday party guest in a blue dress shirt shook Peter’s hand and tried his hardest to get them to do an encore performance at 2 a.m., just as the bar was closing.

Mink and Aliza sang K-Ci and Jojo’s “All My Life,” a song whose very existence I loathe merely because I was compelled to listen to it during so many awkward middle-school dances. That’s not to denigrate the quality of the girls’ performance though, since it was flawless.

I sang Boney M’s “Rasputin,” which I think was well received – especially since the crowd joined me in a lusty rendition of the “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” part, staccato hand-clapping included. Mink and I also sang “Summer Nights” from Grease and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” just because it seemed very important that these two particular songs be included in the lengthening list of top-notch performances.

One thing that became clear to me after last night: never again will I underestimate how easy it is to meet new people in a place where everyone speaks the same language (more or less, at least). Going out in cities where people speak predominantly another language is another awesome kind of adventure, don’t get me wrong. But to have a joke be understood and appreciated by near-strangers – and to be able to enjoy the sort of instant camaraderie that springs up from a comment such as this, in the midst of a slightly buzzed and generally amiable atmosphere – this is a luxury.

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