on the hunt for a home

Everything seems to be moving so quickly since we’ve arrived in Calgary. Juan has earned his first paycheck. We’ve refilled the tank on our (new to us) SUV countless times. And we are meeting friends that we’ve had for years like we never left!

My parents are graciously letting us stay here while we get settled. So far we’ve been here almost two months and it is really great. Mom gives me full reign of the kitchen and usually comes home with a toy for Iago. Iago loves his time with Grandpa, not letting him out of his site from the moment he walks in the door. Most nights we make a pot of tea and hang out in the living room. It really is great to have such support and rapport with my parents.

But I have a pile of housewares in my basement that I can’t wait to start using. I can’t stop thinking of the vintage posters I’d like to adorn my walls, and while we are on the subject perhaps the color I’ll paint them.

Things are moving along in the real estate game though. We are first time buyers, so all ideas we had at the very beginning are now out the door by budgets and realism. All except for two:

1) Location, location, location

2) My romantic notions of older houses

Calgary is the epitome of urban sprawl. Check out that link, it is highly informative. Just to give you an idea Calgary is a city that is divided into four quadrants (NE, NW, SE, SW) over a land area of 726.5 km2, in 2006, which I might add is bigger than that of Toronto. We currently live at the very bottom of the SW (southwest) quadrant and Juan works at the very bottom of the NE quadrant. It is about 35km for him to get to work (ie. get across half the city), which he does twice a day. Yikes!
If you did check out that wiki link you’ll see that there are a lot of disadvantages to urban sprawl, like dependency on a car, obesity, expensive infrastructure and so on. This actually quite surprises me as cities like Calgary have had time to plan, and dedicated city planners, whereas many European counterparts haven’t! Couldn’t they forecast such problems? Basically I am telling you this to say we don’t want to contribute to this and wouldn’t mind at all living in a downtown apartment.

If we do end up in a single family home I want one with character, and somewhere along my 28 years I have fallen in love with the idea of older homes. I should also point out that older homes means really old homes. Recent conversation:

(scene) Dad innocently looking at my house listings
Dad: This one was built in 1911!
Me: I know, isn’t that great. It’s like living in a little piece of history. They don’t build ’em like that anymore.
Dad: Oh, I see.

I realize I’m obviously a lot more naive than him, he’s been working in the construction business since before I was a sparkle in his eye. I am aware of environmental concerns, but really they are the same in any house built before the 80’s.

So, this weekend we set off on the hunt! We need all the well wishes you can spare us :), well maybe our Realtor needs them more!

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