Friends, I did it. I finally did it. I, at the tender age of 25, have finally gotten my own apartment.
When I tell people my age, they make the "WTF" face at me and ask me what took me so long. True, 25 does seem a little late to the moving out game, but I've always just assumed I'd only leave my childhood home when I was married. Or rich enough to afford a mansion with an indoor pool and a slide that leads to my own personal water park. You know, whatever.
Since those things have yet to happen (and I'm an adult now, apparently), I decided to take independence into my own hands and move out on my own. Not going to lie, it's been pretty awesome - but that doesn't mean there weren't a few struggles along the way.
1. Finding the perfect borough
Honestly, how do you even choose where in Montreal you want to live? Every single borough is vibrant and awesome in its own way. Like, you could move downtown and be right in the middle of the action; you could pick the Mile End and live in one of the world's coolest spots; you could settle in NDG and enjoy a trendy, fun neighbourhood. How do you decide?
For me, the decision was easy - I wanted to stay near my friends and family, and so I stayed within my borough. For some people, it's a little more difficult to pick the Montreal neighbourhood that you're going to eventually call home. But once you do settle on a 'hood, it's awesome to discover all the new places you'll get to call home.
2. Learning your new bus and Metro route
Once you've found an awesome place that fits your budget, your needs, and your expectations (a struggle across the board, not just in Montreal), you now have to plan out a new way to get yourself to school/work. Maybe you live closer to a Metro or to a major bus line; maybe a family member gave you lifts everywhere when you were living in their house; maybe you've moved into a spot where it's a 30 minute trek to the nearest Metro.
Whatever the case is, you now have to plan out a brand new strategy for getting to wherever it is that you go everyday. Which means you have to rearrange your whole morning and sleep routine... a huge struggle at first, but after a while, you'll get used to it. (Right? Right?)
3. Spending your Osheaga ticket money on rent
Hey, remember when you said you were going to go to Osheaga for all three days, and you laughed with glee at the prospect of actually going? Yeah. Chances are very high that you can't do that anymore. When you're living at home, a lot of things are paid for you - like heating and food, for example. When you're on your own? You've got to fend for yourself.
This doesn't just apply to Osheaga, though. For the most part, living on your own means that you've got to scale back on a good chunk of your extracurricular activities. Feel like chilling at Apt. 200 tonight with your friends? Nah. Your only friends now are Netflix and responsibility.
4. Moving day
I don't even think I have to say anything here. In Montreal, moving day is July 1 - which means you've got to secure your new place way before that date, or else risk not being able to find movers/parking spaces/friends available to help you make the move.
If you can avoid the July 1 moving date, try to. But if you can't? Get on the ball as early as you possibly can. You'll thank me for this piece of advice later.
5. Living off of poutine for your first week
Because poutine is awesome, and now that you're no longer in your childhood home, you don't have to fear someone stealing all your delicious poutine leftovers. Bonus points if your poutine is as cheap as it is yummy. It's all about saving coin now, friends.
6. Eating out way more than you should be
I know I said it was all about saving money - but no one can blame you if you go off the rails a little bit in the food department. Sometimes, you don't have time to do your own groceries. Sometimes, you don't have time to cook for yourself. Sometimes, an Aux Vivres burger seems a lot more delicious and healthy than anything you can cook yourself at home, anyway.
7. Attempting to get to Ikea on your own
... And then failing miserably, probably. First of all, let me just say this: Everyone loves Ikea. Everyone goes to Ikea. But getting to Ikea in Montreal? Yeah, just a tad on the complicated side. If you're getting there by bus, good luck hauling your furniture back home. If you're getting there by car, good luck not taking the wrong highway and ending up in the total opposite direction. Although, TBH, Ikea is so awesome that it's kind of worth whatever complication it takes to get there and back.
8. Blowing your paycheque on home decor
Which wasn't a problem back when you lived in a house that was furnished and decorated by your fam. Now that you've got your own place, it's natural to want to fill it up with things that you love. And since Montreal is literally packed with amazing home decor spots, it's also natural to blow half of your paycheque on lamps and picture frames. (Just kidding. Don't do that. Do not recommend).
9. Those staircases, though
As I'm sure we all know at this point, Montreal is a beautiful city, filled with gorgeous scenery, history, architecture, and... staircases. If you're not a climber, then I've got some bad news for you. Many Montreal apartments have outdoor staircases, which is super fun in the summer, but can be slightly less fun once winter rolls around. And when you have to haul your furniture and/or appliances up the stairs. And when you have to take out your garbage in the middle of the night. Still, staircases are super gorgeous to look at - and don't say you don't feel really cool pointing to a beautiful, vintage staircase and telling your friends that you live up those works of art.
10. Missing your old house
Getting your first apartment is always super hard - not just because you have to set up your own Hydro account and wash your own dishes, but also because you're on your own, possibly for the first time, and that can be a little terrifying. Also, you tend to miss your old house a lot more than you thought you would.
It's cool, though. Despite everything, moving out on your own in Montreal is a really big, important, awesome step; and although there are some struggles, on the whole, it's an amazing experience.