Big City lights

It’s been nearly a month and a half since I’ve gone into Edmonton or Calgary. To put things in a little bit of perspective, I’ve been living in Lloyd for 10 months. So a month and a half just hanging out here shouldn’t be that bad, right?

More perspective: the last time I didn’t do some major highway travel for roughly a  month was May. I went home at the end of April for Easter, and then was back in Calgary in June for convocation. Up until now, actually, I think May is the only month that I haven’t gone into either Edmonton or Calgary at least once.

I mentioned this to my mom the other day, and she asked me what the big draw was. I’ve been trying to figure that out ever since.

I think one of the major things is an occupational hazard: if there’s something going on in town, I’m probably there already, covering the event. If there’s nothing going on in town, then I’m not working, but then, what do I do with my spare time if there’s nothing going on?

In bigger centres, however, even if there’s nothing going on in St. Albert, for example, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on in Edmonton.

I hate to admit it, but loving Edmonton had a lot to do with where I lived: I spent my Saturdays walking down to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, dropping in at the library, then across the river to the market on 104, sometimes I’d drive out to St. Albert for a bit too. I loved walking down Whyte Ave. and through the river valley; I got to start my Sundays with free yoga every week because lululemon was a couple hops, skips and a jump away from my building. So I’m worried if I go back to Edmonton, and I can’t get a place in Old Strathcona, Garneau, Bonnie Doon or areas on the north side of the river (my running route used to take me through a couple of them, but I don’t know what they’re called) I’m still not going to be happy in a Big City.

I don’t really have any desire to work at a daily paper unless it’s for copy editing; I like doing everything from writing and photography to layout and copy editing at a community paper. So I knew that in order to do that, I’d have to move to a smaller town. The unspoken expectation is, however, that you do a couple years at a community paper, before “moving up.” Except I don’t know exactly what I want to move up to.

So I’m trying to find positives about living in a smaller city. The one I came up with this morning is that I don’t have to jump through a million media hoops to talk to the director of education at the public division. His direct line is on his business card and he picks up when I call. (This in contrast to the million media requests and run-around you get when dealing with a certain school division in Calgary.)

It’s not much. I guess rush hour is another thing — there are certain intersections to avoid at specific times of day, but I find if I don’t drive the meridian and take a couple of side streets, it’s fine.

Still, I’m going into Edmonton in a couple of weeks, and I can’t. freaking. wait. It’s nothing special — a friend and I are going to see some live theatre, I want to go to the farmers’ market and the mall (I don’t have that many long-sleeved tops and I am determined not to freeze this winter), and other than that, it’s just going to be a lot of coffee dates with various people.

See? Nothing special. So I don’t know why I feel so cooped up here sometimes.

What’s that they say? The grass is always greener on the other side?


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