An Ode to a First Apartment

I’m moving.  After five awesome years in my “first” apartment, I’m upgrading to a condo.   I use quotations around first because although I did move out for school, this was my first on-my-own place, which was a big deal.  It’s time to move on, no doubt, but saying goodbye can be hard. Which is why I could use a little reminiscing, so here’ goes.

As a first apartment, it had its ups and downs.  Ups: it was affordable (cheap, considering today’s market), walkable distance to work, in the heart of a cool neighbourhood and just the right size, even when my 6’4″ boyfriend moved in.  Those ups were enough to outweigh the downs, some of which being: loud thumping music from the restaurant below, the occasional* cockroach, no air conditioning (or functional windows, for the majority of them), and always a just a wee bit dirty.

*it’s more like the AirBnB for roaches.

Some of you might remember this post, when I first blogged about my place.  How cool I thought I was! I couldn’t help but brag about my New York-esque fire escape or fancy art I got at Home Sense/ the Dollar Store – classy choices I am now having trouble parting with.

There were indeed some notable stories, like during my house warming party where I got so bombed I decided to give away the vase of fake forsythia to my neighbour, freshly gifted to me by my sister, who understandably couldn’t comprehend my inebriated generosity.  Or the time when I set up my GoPro in the cupboard and proceeded to film the launch episodes of “Mel Tries to Cook” with 14 exclusive clips of me crying while chopping onions and trying to manage how one cup of barley expanded to 20x its size when boiled.  I had barley for days, along with the undisclosed intestinal side effects that barley creates.

It’s also about the non-eventful moments that become wallpaper in the memory banks: Movie nights, dancing at midnight, strings of lights, no-warning scalding-hot showers, karaoke parties singing Phantom of the Opera, dogs barking at Starbucks across the street, smoking neighbours, my neighbour who I can hear cursing through the wall when he drops something in the shower…

Or perhaps it’s about the safe space / happy place I could always come home to after shitty days, work promotions, MC-ing at weddings, job interviews, all-day work events, Sunday night family BBQs, failed shopping attempts articulated by god-awful changing room mirrors, dentist checkups, wind chills of -30, long vacations, and forest runs.

Early life is sort of broken up into predictable chunks.  After birth, you have 6 years of your life at home then you go to school, then you’re in junior school for 5 years then you go to senior ones for another 4.  Then university for 4.  Then it sort of trails off into unstructured life events like marriage, kids, houses, more work, and retirement, with no defined timelines.  This chunk was one of those hindsight timelines – 5 years at the first apartment.  It’s in the cosmic canon now.

I could end this post with the whole “all this is great but onto the next chapter” shpeel but I think I’ll leave you with something more interesting: what’s happening to my place next.  No one new will be renting it out.  It’s going to be semi-occupied by the building owner’s son who will use it as his own personal airBnB pad to crash if he’s ever in the city and doesn’t want to drive home to Richmond Hill.   I wonder how long that will last once he discovers the cockroaches who may frequent as often as he does.

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