Why do so many apartment buildings have names?
In winter I was the weirdo that cycled everywhere, even through snow, but now everyone seems to have okayed the weather for bike-ready, I’m not alone on the road any more.
And that changes things. Customers who realize you cycled to work go off on recommendations about routes, other cyclists make jokes about Tour cycling and using the other as wind breaker, and car drivers (the ones with the windows down especially) are very gallant, and somehow always feel like they have to yell something motivating.
It’s strange, but I like it.
For some time now, I’ve considered doing things to meet people. Best friends forever isn’t really the aim here, but someone to meet up with, someone in the same time zone to text (that isn’t your boyfriend), yes, why not?
Making new acquaintances isn’t easy in familiar surroundings, so how does it work when everything’s new? Do I ask the bakery girl if she likes movies? Do I talk to the mail man about something else but pretty stamps?
Nah, there’s an app for that. After looking at meetup.com (themed meetings) and library events (workshops about taxes, language classes and so on), I heard about Bumble.
Bumble is a swiping app in which women have first and final say. But the interesting part is their BFF subdivision. Select that and you only get women who are looking for platonic relationships, friendships (I don’t know if men can look for friends as well and why women can’t find platonic male friends). Of course (urgh) it links to Facebook and demands your location (that at least makes sense), but after that there’s only swiping to be done. When you have a match, there’s a 24 hour window for either of you to react, to prevent endless waiting. Then, the tougher part: connecting on another level than an approving swipe.
At least both sides acknowledge that it’s kind of strange, hoping that a list of shared interests may lead to a relationship. And maybe it won’t, already some conversations are fading before they could blossom. So be it, that’s how social life works.
No matter what, it’s surprisingly fun to chat. To not have to worry about time zones and view your every action through the lens of a stranger. I’m not alone in being alone, and I’m working on changing that.
On Victoria Day I had my first Bumble meeting. She initiated, I was nervous, but it was so nice to have someone to talk with over a meal. To have understand about knowing no-one but your colleagues. I’m not sure if we’ll meet again, even though she said we should and we still talk occasionally.
But I did it, I’m doing it, and that’s a step forward again.
It’s been over two hours and I haven’t left the dentist chair yet. Not because my mouth is such an utter wreck, but because it’s being profiled like it’s a master criminal. By a student dentist, not a forensic profiler.
How I ended up there? As a temporary resident I don’t have Medicaid. Without Medicaid I can’t just walk in every dentist (or doctor’s practice because not all of them help the uninsured. Nor did I really feel like paying the big bucks (again, $75 for a doctor’s appointment not that long ago).
So, with the help of Google ottawa+budget+dentist, I got a short list. One was closing for summer, one was very far away, the third one was the cheap one that wanted at least six hours of my time. A dentistry school, where time is filled with asking a lot of questions and checking and testing everything out of the (study) book. Distance between my teeth and gums is written down somewhere now.
I don’t even know if I have cavities yet, that’s going to be next time. But I have impressively straight teeth and the student’s lovely and fun. What else to do with my evenings anyway?
Having to post a picture every day, and just using the day number because I’m too bad at titles and at least won’t miscount this way, you really notice how time goes by. I have been here for ninety days, one-hundred, one-hundred twenty. Will I reach 200?
Because decisions have to be made, mostly because per August first I won’t have a place to live and speaking from recent experience, that’s not a stress situation I want to return to again.
But that means that I have to discover if Ottawa is worth staying for, if Canada is worth staying. And that will largely depend on a job, a job that is satisfying and enriching. Because right now I could work to find such a thing in the Netherlands, and have friends and family nearby. Those are on the other side of the scale, the worry that if I am gone too long, I won’t fit into their lives any more (especially the friends’ ones).
So I’m looking for jobs again, casting the net wide, down into the States. Maybe I’m worth a work permit, even when I’m not good enough for any other one.
Until then? I enjoy the weather, I enjoy making money I can spend, there are moments of ‘That’s my city’. I try to not to think too long about it, it’s just confusing.
I’m impressed by the size of the houses in and around downtown Ottawa, but I’m also impressed by how often I see the APARTMENT FOR RENT sign. Are there no large families in Ottawa or is it impossible to pay for such a house with just two incomes?
But, when noticing that a lot of apartment buildings have plenty of the signs as well, I start to wonder why there’s so many apartments available? Is Ottawa brain/age/migrant drained? Is Ottawa a temporary spot for a lot of people? Did I miss a memo about having to leave after x amount of months?
Maybe it’s just the students coming and going. Maybe I’m on to something horrible happening. Do Ottawaian houses need human sacrifices?
I may be here on a kiwi Work Holiday Permit (thanks, Commonwealth), I’m Dutch as well. With the number of comments I get about my accent, I wonder how large the group of Dutchies here is.
Of course, to keep myself entertained I tweak my story from time to time. My dad’s Dutch, my mom’s Dutch, I studied in South Africa (these are all facts). But all these people guess correctly because of a Dutch friend, a Dutch colleague, a career in The Netherlands, a Dutch wife. These Dutch people really move everywhere!
The most recent and interesting find was a staff member in a Southern American inspired lunch place (Gooney’s, in case you’re around). He had learned Dutch in Cuba (huh?) but – there goes my theory about the Dutch being everywhere – couldn’t find anyone in the city to practice his Dutch on! Different circles? Does Little Italy has more pull on the Dutch-knowing than Downtown?
I continue confused and amused. And with that accent (“It doesn’t sound very Dutch”, a customer assured me).