When you first begin to learn the geography of a place, it exists in your mind in the form of a set of very limited spatial relationships: X is west of Y, following A street will lead you to B, landmark C is to the north of town. The really disconcerting phase is not at the beginning, but at the point where you start to understand how previously seperate connections are actually interlinked. You realize that the passage between places D and E can also be an expedited route between F and G, and that place H (which you had never associated with place I), is actually right beside it.
This is the stage that I have reached for Ottawa, largely on account of a week’s worth of intense apartment hunting. Soon, I will actually have a comprehensive understanding of the spatial geography of the downtown region. That is the point, more or less, when it becomes defensible to think of oneself as a resident.