It’s a peculiar thing, being one of the people who never left.
The holidays are always exciting. Friends come home to visit in various combinations, and I find myself in bars more than usual. This year, I saw nine different former Edmontonians now scattered around the world. The holidays are also a time to see people who live here who I rarely see. All in all, I love a good winter holiday reunion. It allows me to indulge my fantasy that everyone lives here again (life is complicated, but I can dream).
There’s something about reuniting with old friends that gets me thinking about the concepts of place, home, and change. Over the past week, I explored the city with a fresh perspective. Friends and I had numerous conversations about what has changed and what has stayed the same. The biggest surprises to those who hadn’t visited for a while were the closure of Funky Pickle pizza, move of Metro Cinema into the Garneau Theatre, demolition of the old New City building on 101 St & Jasper Ave, and the changes around the arena district. I advised them to check out the piecemeal destruction of the old Garneau neighbourhood, new buildings on the MacEwan campus downtown, changes in the McCauley/Norwood/Alberta Ave communities, and the city’s ever-expanding suburban waistline. We looked at old houses and told stories that once felt so present, but nowadays exist as amusing and distant anecdotes from a previous life.
Then just like that, life resumed as normal. Celebrating the new year involved gatherings of friends who do live here. Today, I took the same bus that I’ve taken for years, through the same section of downtown that I have passed through daily since I was a teenager, but to a destination that was not normal to me until recently. Old things felt even more sentimental, and the new things highlighted the inevitability of change. Without the injection of a previous life into my reality, I looked again at a city that has been many things to me over the years.
Not leaving your hometown means moving daily within a world saturated with memory. I think that might be why I’m compelled to capture it.
On that note…
YEGuncovered.com is back! It’s my new year’s resolution. I’ve been so busy offline that it has been difficult to dedicate enough time to this blog. This year, I will be updating weekly on Mondays. Expect cloyingly sentimental posts about Edmonton-related things, on topics such as to-be-determined, buildings-I-love, and memories-that-strike-me.
Because I want to remember. I need to remember.
Until next week.