Creating a Home in Québec City
Cobbled streets, 17th and 18th-century colonial buildings with steep metal roofs, 24-hour clocks, prices with comas instead of periods, and French signs everywhere you turn… It’s as though I’m walking through a small town in France, except I’m not in France, I’m in Canada. Québec City, the oldest fortified city in North America (and one of the most historic cities in Canada), it more of the more fascinating cities in Canada. It’s a city steeped in history, culture, and intrigue. I’m creating a home in Québec City.
I fell in love with Québec City last summer. The architecture. The history. The food. The people. All of it.
I returned to visit for a few days in October, and November. And then in December I sublet an apartment in the old city for a month and a half before leaving Canada to spend a month in Mexico. On this blog it may have looked as though I was done with creating a home in Québec City, that I had my fill and I was moving on, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Going to Mexico was not a sign of my moving on, it was merely a vacation. That’s it. I was always coming back to establish a home in Québec City. Always.
Home in Québec City
In the past four years I have flitted from destination to destination, exploring the world, but never truly having a home. While that perfectly acceptable for many people, I’ve recently discovered that I am not one of them. In recent months I have found myself craving a home the way a nymphomaniac craves sex. It’s all I think about. Where I once daydreamed of getting on a plane and flying to somewhere new, I now daydream about floor plans, fabrics, and where to place furniture – channeling my inner interior designer 24/7.
My desire to explore the world has not waned, I don’t think that is even possible, but my desire to have a place to return to after a trip and unwind is growing stronger. And I am so excited that Québec City is going to be that place.
Constantly travelling gets lonely. I miss having non-transient friends. I miss spending a day experimenting in my kitchen. I miss actually having clothing in a dresser for longer than a week. I miss having a personal space where I can unwind, relax, and be creative without having to get dressed. I miss a lot of things that a home provides, and after four years of not having one, I am more than ready for it.
Searching For an Apartment, Long Distance
I started searching for an apartment in the old city in November, finding a building on a quiet street that had an elevator (I wasn’t looking for one, but finding a building with one is a bonus), laundry room, and a rooftop patio. It was perfect. But they didn’t have any apartments available for December/January, which is why I chose to sublet instead.
Fast forward 2 months and I’m in Mexico, sweating from the heat, and searching online for a place to live in Québec City for when I return. I find myself on the website for the same building I fell in love with in November, and they have apartments available. So, I email them. As it turns out the one-bedroom is rented, but they have a small studio available, and a one-bedroom opening up in May.
For the next month, we email back and forth and I contemplate living in a 300 sq ft studio apartment for two months and then moving to the one-bedroom when it becomes available.
I can do that, right? Sure, it’s small, but I can handle that for a couple months and then move into a place with a bedroom. Plus, the rent is only $545/mth and I’d be living in the old city. How on earth can I possibly pass that up?! I can’t. Still, I don’t want to jump the gun so I search through craigslist and kijiji for apartments in the city, finding a couple that were okay, but I always seemed to return to my original choice.
On Friday afternoon everything became official as I signed a lease for the studio apartment for two months, and then a lease for the one-bedroom starting in May. Scanning my signed documents, I emailed them back to my new landlord and started making plans for my return to Québec City.
Starting Fresh, and A Little Vintage
Signing my leases was exciting, but not quite as exciting as planning and shopping for the apartment. I sold everything I owned four years ago, so that means new stuff. Yay! And some vintage stuff as well.
Years of travel have taught me to be happy with small spaces and minimal amounts of furniture. Does that mean I’ll be sleeping on a twin bed and sitting in just an arm chair? Hell no! I can live minimally, but I’m not a fanatic about it. I’m not going out to buy a ton of crazy expensive furniture pieces. I’m shopping at IKEA and slowly replacing that furniture over time when I can afford things that are a little nicer (and more durable).
I work from home so I want my apartment to feel cozy. I want a place where I can be creative on days when it’s too insane to go work from a café (I’m talking about those insanely icy days where walking becomes a challenge). That means I’m buy a comfy loveseat for when I want to curl up and write or read a book (which also means I sleep on an air mattress for two months until I move into a one-bedroom and buy an actual bed), a coffee table to hold my snacks, a kitchen table with chairs for eating my meals, and a small bookcase. That’s it. My first apartment is small, I doubt anything else would fit inside anyway.
One of the things I’m looking forward to doing in Québec City is going antique shopping. As a traveller and photographer I want to have accent pieces that speak to the things I love. My shopping list includes things like vintage globes and old film cameras. Frames for displaying a small collection of travel photos, money and memories.
My apartment will be a combination of old and new. Chic and industrial. My dream space and permanent home base.
In a way, I’ve come full circle. I no longer have an apartment because I need a place to sleep after work. I am creating an apartment where I can relax, feel inspired, and work. I’m creating a home.