Thursday, June 17, 2010

haligonian cliff dwellers

Unlike the neighbors we won't have to look at this place while we're living there. A couple of weeks ago we got word from the attorney in Nova Scotia that it was time to prove our intention to live in Canada by being able to show a lease or mortgage agreement to the authorities reviewing our file. Our first thought was to go there and look but that didn't seem either cheap or very convenient so what we did was use the handy google satellite maps based on rentals advertised by the bigger property management companies.

We spent hours looking at buildings in Halifax and taking virtual walks around the neighborhoods that interest us and around the city in general. I got headaches from all the swooping and zooming past houses, buildings, parks and docks that matched up smoothly in the sense that we could walk through entire areas but disconcertingly through different seasons. Winter, summer, spring and fall viewed in the course of a mile or two was almost too much for my equilibrium even though I was sitting on the couch.

Eventually we settled on an apartment in the tallest building east of Montreal and described as an excellent example of brutalist architecture by wikipedia (hah!). Fenwick Tower does look to be quite the eyesore and we wondered how they'd got building permission in the first place until we read it was erected back in 1970 as student housing for Dalhousie University. That explained it. It's inarguably ugly but it does give us a place to live while we get to know the city and besides, our 18th floor place overlooks the harbor and is close to lots of interesting stuff downtown. I guess it's even possible we might grow to like living there. I know I'm looking forward to seeing the Tall Ships sail in some summer morning and we can always pretend we live in a lighthouse.

I resigned from my job yesterday as of mid-August; we plan to fly sometime in September. Hello, I must be going :-)

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If you ever happen by to read this you should really check the follow-up post.


marja-leena said...

Oh, how exciting, the ball is really rolling now! A good idea to rent for a while and get to know the place. Good luck with the move, not far off now! I've heard good things about Halifax.

Seraphine said...

that is indeed exciting. you have to stay somewhere, so it might as well be there. it is, as they say, a place to lay your hat. or something like that.
you're awfully brave giving your place of employment two months advanced notice. i don't trust employers to do anything other than what is in their best interest-- which means they'll begin the search for a replacement, then let you go on some pretext rather than pay you through mid-november.
i know... it's a cynical way to think.
your new neighbors are going to love you. i hope you love them half as much. (i didn't man that as a curse! i meant that in a good way!)

gfid said...

Other myths about Fenwick Tower include:
that not all the bedrooms have windows
that the top two floors suffered extensive damage in a 1994 fire
that the developer committed suicide
that the building sways so dramatically in the wind that water in the toilets sloshes (in fact, the building sways 5 inches in 80 mph wind, 3 inches less the building code regulations in Halifax)

it appears to come complete with a few ghosts and fables. cool! one of my summer students is studying @ Dalhousie.

i envy you your view of the harbour. i dream of traveling by tallship one day.

this is very exciting.

Seraphine said...

i know. you're moving in mid-august, not mid-november. oopsie.
by november, all the welcome ducks will have already left...

linda said...

how romantic to watch the tall ships...are there really "tall ships" now excepting for an procession type of thing?

well, you are almost on your way to a new adventure, how exciting for you both! and to be up and looking out to sea, well, if you must live high up, you need to have a view of the sea to compensate! ;)

Lisa said...

It's becoming real now. I hope you like your new place. The good thing is you'll be inside looking out and oh, what you'll be able to see from that vantage point!

I love your idea of pretending it's a lighthouse. I have a thing for them lately.

susan said...

marja-leena - It is exciting and we're both very relieved as well. You can't really know a place until you walk it on your own feet and we're looking forward to exploring a place that will be new for us.

sera - Exactly our thought. I know what you mean about the danger of early notice but I'm lucky that my boss, although a bit inept, is a nice man and when I explained our plans to him last winter he asked for three months notice. He's getting two but chances are still good I'll have a month to explain the essentials to a new person. I've had a young and very sharp colleague for two years who will take over the complexities. Considering what's happened to so many people who are good at their jobs your observation isn't cynical at all - just realistic.

I hope the new neighbors will like us.

gfid - Yes, I laughed too when I read those - never mind the one that's true about a hurricane storm surge that caused water to rise 17 floors in the elevator shaft. Yikes!

I was really hoping we'd be able to go by ferry to Boston at least but it appears the local ones only go to Yarmouth or Portland, Maine and then we must drive I95 south 400 miles. That's not too bad. Maybe when the Tall Ships come back they'd be willing to give us a lift. Crow would enjoy the crow's nest.

sera - It will be interesting to meet the place as tourist season is ending.

linda - There still are Tall Ships that sail and race - next summer it will be from Spain across the southern Atlantic, up the east coast to Boston and Halifax and then on to Ireland. Cool, eh?

A view of the sea will be excellent compensation as you well know.

lisa - You're right it's becoming real now and we're excited. I always wanted to marry a lighthouse keeper and keep him company but knowing we can go outside and find more people is advantageous too.

The Cunning Runt said...

You've never been one to duck an adventure, have you?!

Good luck on this one. It'll be cool thinking that you're that much closer to us here on the Right Coast!

Seraphine said...

one good thing about moving is you pare down a lot of the things you accumulate.
the bad thing about moving is you pare down a lot of the things you accumulate.

Randal Graves said...

Color me disappointed in Canada. I thought we had a monopoly on ugly buildings post-USSR. But sounds like you'll have a swanky view.

susan said...

cr - It's time to break out of the stasis again but it took a bit longer this time :-)

sera - Damn right. We've already donated all the cd's to some nice people who own a second hand music store and donated eight cases of books to goodwill; that leaves us with all our music on two external hard drives and we still have all the books that continue to have relevance for us. This time we're taking the rest :-)

randal - You obviously haven't visited Toronto.

Spadoman said...

I am so happy for you my friend. I hope all works out as you desire. You need any help moving? How about that car?> You need that driven across the country? I'll do it you know. I've done it before for strangers, so I can certainly do it for you.
The Maritimes are a part of the world I have not yet exploired and have always been enthralled with. I WILL get out there if the Creator doesn't have other plans.
I just returned from my west coast trip and had a wonderful time.
Keep us posted on proigress and once again, I hope, (and pray) that it all goes smoothly.


susan said...

spadoman - Thanks so much for your good wishes - we're going to need them. We also appreciate your offer to drive our little car but we've decided we'll likely have her shipped since she's 16 years old and was never built for such a long drive in the first place.

I do hope you're able to visit the Maritimes one of these fine days. It would be lovely to meet you in person.

jams o donnell said...

I hope everything goes well with your move. As for the building at least by living there it won't spoil your view!

susan said...

jams - Thanks! That was our thought too.

clairesgarden said...

very exciting, its not far away at all!!

susan said...

claire - It is pretty exciting (just my fourth time moving across the continent) and we're looking forward to exploring a new place and being close to some old favorites.