Thursday, July 10, 2014

City Mouse vs Country Mouse

I grew up in the country. While there were much more rural places in the area we were miles from schools, stores, restaurants, public transportation and other things I associated with urban living. Heck, our street didn't even have sidewalks and cable television wasn't an option. (The street still doesn't have sidewalks but now has cable). Honestly I hated it and wanted to get out to an urban environment as soon as I could. Ironically I ended up leaving and going to college in a suburban environment. But the community's close proximity to urban areas made the experience very tolerable for me. Every chance I got I was out and about in nearby cities where I thrived on the hustle and bustle that came with them. I moved to a city after college where the sounds of traffic, sirens and people became a the soundtrack of my life. I never realized how accustomed I grew to the noise until I would visit my mother's house where I found the silence deafening. Combined with the lack of street lights I could never feel completely comfortable there.

Fast forward a few years and I'm living on the suburban edge of a city where at the time we had the best of both worlds. There were lawns and sidewalks and close neighbors yet we were minutes away from the urban amenities I love. While friends were driving upwards of an hour to get to work my commute was less than ten minutes meaning I could actually come home for lunch if I wanted. Restaurants, theaters and other attractions were minutes away yet when we wanted it, our little neighborhood felt like a refuge from it all. It was pretty darn nice but then we moved.

First to a sprawling yet under developed city where I actually felt more isolated than I did growing up in my rural community. Our token patch of grass had a tree planted in it and the rest of our walled yard had been covered with multi-level tiles leaving things slippery when it rained and dusty when it didn't. Streetlights and sidewalks were non-existent yet cows and chickens were plentiful. And even if the desire arose, there was absolutely no place to walk to. We might as well have been in the country. But by the country's standards our living was urban but in my mind it was anything but. Now we truly live in a city center in a row how with a postage sized back yard and limited parking. Despite being two short blocks away from the historic city center our street is mostly quiet and when I sit in the backyard I can look up at the stars. And I love nothing more than listening to the toll of the cathedral's bells on Sunday mornings. (If I crane my neck and look out the window I can see the steeple as well). Within minutes of walking down the cobblestone streets we can be at both the bus and train stations, shopping at the local market or sitting in a restaurant or cafe. Talk about convenient.

But do you know what? Many days I actually find myself wishing for more green space. It would be nice to have an actual yard where Sidney could run, play and maybe even have a trampoline. Sometimes I even think it would be nice to have a garden. (Granted I've never actually planted one but it seems like it would be nice). When I'm hauling bags of groceries down the street I think about what a luxury a driveway would be. Or even reserved parking in front of my house. It would be nice to open our front windows without reaching out and touching the passing traffic (seriously). And not sharing walls with our neighbors? That would be heaven since with a rambunctious little boy I worry about noise. Maybe this true urban living isn't all it is cracked up to be.....

So country mouse or city mouse? Or neither. Maybe I'm really  a suburbanite at heart? Somehow this label feels just so wrong......

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