Welcome to Saskatoon, SK
It seems it’s time I get some content onto this blog! We’ve not been here long, but let me tell you about the journey so far.
Where to start? I’ve often thought that the secret to writing is to just start putting words on the page, so let me ramble at you a moment and see where it takes us.
It’s kind of wonderful to finally see my little blue Google Maps dot hovered over the streets of Saskatoon. I’ve been staring at this map for so many months now – where should we live? Where do the buses run? Where is the supermarket? Where are the pubic loos? – that it’s a little surreal to finally be walking these streets.
Saskatoon is a funny little place. Its internet identity is completely wrapped up in its severe weather, which, although perfectly understandable, makes it difficult to discover anything else about it. But in my brief time here, I’ve discovered a handful of things.
Cold is not cold (yet)
Although we arrived to a balmy 8°C in Vancouver, in Saskatoon it was a chilly -6°C and the ground was snowy white. For a few days we’ve had regular snow fall, with top temperatures hovering around -1°C, with a wind-chill “feels like -10°C”, whatever that means. To be honest, though, it really isn’t that cold. I mean, even outside. Yes, we’re dressed for the weather and no, I wouldn’t want to be sleeping out in the snow – but it’s certainly nothing to be scared of. In fact, temperatures above zero are are considered tropical – my colleague yesterday, on asking me how many layers I was wearing (answer: 4), raised an eyebrow at me and said, “you know it’s going to be like 6 today, right?”.
I know, I know, it will get colder, and I’ll deal with that as it comes – I’m certainly pleased that we have most of the year to get prepared for the extremes of winter (where temperatures regularly get down to -30°C without accounting for the arctic winds) – but for now, I’m pretty pleased with how manageable “frozen” can be. Also, snow is pretty!
Saskatoon is dusty
It’s also super slushy right now.
To help with the slippery, icy conditions, the local council “grits” the road. I’m sure it’s great if you’re a driver, but as the weather warms up, the grit dries out and the air is really grit-in-your-eyes dusty. On top of that, a winter’s worth of snow is currently melting and trying to make its way down the limited drainage (at 400 mm, the annual precipitation is low, so drainage is seemingly not a civic priority). Ridiculous puddles form at natural low points, which often require a serious detour. It makes walking around town a moderately unpleasant experience. Perhaps this phenomenon is limited to a small window of the year, but I’ll keep you posted.
Basement living is actually pretty cool
Pros of basement living: it’s warm, it’s cheap, it’s easy to manage and there is a surprising amount of natural light. It’s also kind of nice having a landlord who’s problem it is that the toilet drips or the light globe doesn’t work. Our basement is old-ish, renovated some time in the last 10-15 years, and it carries the marks of an old place – a crack in the tiles here and there, a small but deep hole in the wall (I have no idea where it goes but I know I don’t want to stick my hand in there).
Cons of basement living: It’s noisy. Our upstairs neighbour steps heavily (but is a really, really nice guy) and the furnace (located in our cupboard) switches on randomly and sounds like a truck is inside the house. Apparently you don’t hear it after a while… It still wakes me up at night.
So that’s a brief run down on Saskatoon. A beautiful, flat, snowy, slushy, dusty place.
Home for the next little while 🙂
Love you all. jx