Moving, I find, is generally not a very pleasant experience. Although I am sure that some people enjoy it (I have yet to meet them), I am personally not a fan of packing up my stuff and relocating all over again. I find that moving in Montreal is less evident than in other places say, for instance, in Sherbrooke. When I was looking for an apartment in Sherbrooke I basically went there one day, looked at a couple of apartments and found the perfect one in a matter of hours. I stayed there 2 years but would have gladly stayed for more if I had been staying in the city. Moving in the lively city of Montreal, however, is a different story altogether. For me at least. The first time I moved to Montreal was quite an experience. It took weeks and weeks if not months of looking at ads in newspapers and on the internet and calling numerous people to visit the apartments. From dozens and dozens of numbers called, most were already gone or turned out to be too expensive for me. Of the apartments that I did manage to visit, only two or three were decent-looking and clean apartments. I also find that as a general rule, you must sacrifice at least one of your criteria to find an appropriate apartment. I was looking specifically at location, size of apartment, proximity to a metro and something that would fit my budget. In the end, I had to sacrifice a bit on the location aspect in favor of the budget, if not I don’t think I would have ever found an apartment. I also discovered that everytime I had to move, I would find “the” apartment just feeling desperate and being very close to giving up.
After the tedious and sometimes exasperating stage of actually finding an apartment comes the second step: relief at finding a place to live and excitement for the new experience to come. It is time to plan the living arrangements, think about the decorations and placement of furniture and dwell on how fun it will be and how “this” place will be good. Third step: the not-so-exciting part of packing everything up, wrapping up fragile decorations and identifying boxes so as to not look for months on end for specific items. This is followed by the part I enjoy least about moving: renting a truck, packing the truck and, inevitably, unpacking the truck. I don’t dislike the physical exercise it requires, but rather just trying to fit big pieces of furniture such as couches and appliances through doorways and such, which is less than enticing in my opinion. However, worry not! After all this physical activity and session of human tetris, it is time for my favorite part of moving: making my new place my home! This includes placing the furniture as one envisions it and my most favorite part of all, opening each box at a time and placing the items where they go, or rather where I decide they will go from now on. Being an avid cook and baker, I particularly enjoy doing this for the kitchen. Unpacking all my cooking and baking tools is what makes me most happy in the moving process, I must say. As soon as the kitchen is fully loaded and that I have baked a first batch of cookies, I always feel that I am home.
Some people detest unpacking all their boxes and realizing how much stuff they have, but I see it as a new beginning. Moving, in essence, is exactly that. A new beginning to a new chapter in one’s life. It is the perfect opportunity to throw out old, unusable stuff, recycle or give aways things that can be and keep only what is needed. Everytime I move, I find that I throw out boxes and boxes of junk that were totally useless to me. Moving to a new apartment, although it has its challenges, is a new adventure, a new beginning that I take joy in – once the whole process is finished that is. The last step comes right after the unpacking of our belongings. It is an important step, I find, as it is when I learn to know and appreciate my new apartment and my new neighbourhood. No apartment is perfect, and the same goes for a neighbourhood. Nonetheless, the hope is to find a living situation that is perfect for you. I think that I have found such a place for me this time. It is small, but cute and clean. It is in an area that has many trees, parks and bicycle paths, which is a major plus for me. Everything is at a walking distance. So far so good.
In the end, the basics of finding an apartment in Montreal is to look and look and never give up. Just when you think you will give up and just move back in with your parents, you will find the place. Hopefully it will be a place that suits you well, so long as you are willing to make a sacrifice or two in your selection criteria.