Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Town and Country

I love the city, New York especially. I have been to Boston and Philadelphia and a couple of others, but New York is the city I like best, probably because I go there every few months and because it’s (relatively) close to where I live and because I know my way around (or can figure it out fairly well).

My husband and I often say that we should have lived in New York City for at least a year, just for the experience, just to say we did it. There’s so much going on in the city, so much excitement. Anything can happen. And there’s so much to do. You can learn so much just by spending a few days in New York.

Every time I go, I regret not having made that choice to move there for a while. The feeling I get when in New York is just so… Well, I can’t describe it really. I guess it makes me think of all the things that could have been possible, choices I didn’t even know existed, let alone made. My life could be completely different from what it is now, though I suppose that’s true regardless of where I live. I hear other peoples’ stories of how they moved to the city, or grew up there and some of those stories are quite exciting and just make me wish I had done it.

But the truth is, as much as I love the city, I’m a country girl at heart. I don’t know why exactly, or how that came to be, but there it is nonetheless. If you read my last post, this probably doesn’t surprise you (though you might not be surprised if you didn’t). Even if I had moved to the city at some point in my life, it would not have been where I stayed. I long and live for the open space, the green and rolling hills, the trees and wildlife, the sounds of nature, far away from traffic. I love the idea of a slower-paced life (slower than what NYC and sometimes LI provide), of spending an evening sitting on the front porch just enjoying the peace and quiet, watching the world go by. When I visit any place that’s “country,” I feel at home, at peace, like I’ve found something I’ve been missing.

While a great place to live geographically, Long Island isn’t my idea of country living. There are so many people who live here (too many sometimes), and there are stores and shopping centers on every corner it seems. It’s somewhat rare that you’ll see any empty fields or a line of trees. There are parts of Long Island that are still fairly rural compared to other parts, but even these places are no longer really rural. Yes, there are still some farms, but many of the farm land that used to be here no longer is, having been sold off for development. And many of the “farms” these days are wineries (not that I’m complaining about that!). The area where I live used to be very rural. Now it has grown so much and so many people have moved in, that many new schools are being built, housing developments and even more shopping centers are going up (yes, even in this economy) and trees are being torn down everywhere you look. Soon, it won’t be long until Long Island looks much like New York City (well, maybe not sky scrapers). And getting off the island is a nightmare—you have to time it just right, or you’ll spend half of what your normal drive time would be sitting in traffic, moving about an inch per minute. I kid you not. This has happened to me. Plus, there’s no easy way off—you must cross a bridge or take a ferry, neither of which is cheap.

I love the area where I live though. I love that I can drive back roads that not too many people know about. I love that I can come across turtles and horses and wild turkeys and goats and lama and buffalo when out and about (well, not that horses, goats, lama and buffalo roam the streets, but they are kept as pets and/or livestock). I love that some of these animals I can see right from my own window. I love that it takes me 15 minutes to get to the grocery store because that’s how far away it is, as opposed to it taking 20 minutes because of traffic when the store is only 5 minutes away.

At this point in my life, I have no plans to move for a variety of reasons. But maybe someday. It’s possible that my dream of a country life exists because I don’t have it, just as a missed NYC life sounds more exciting than it would have been in reality. It’s also possible that a daily country life wouldn’t provide what I’m looking for. But that’s okay for now. Either way, it gives me something to dream about and I will until (if) I’m proven wrong.

Someday I’ll get my dream home in the country. In the meantime, I can enjoy both the city and country life just by visiting each now and then.

4 comments:

  1. We live on the edge of a small French village, there are 850 people in the village, yet the geographic area it covers is bigger than the village we lived in Kent, UK, which has a population of 6500 people!

    Our French village has no shops, there is a school, village hall, a church, plenty of houses and places to walk and lots of farms and country side.

    However, living at the far edge of the village we are just outside another town, which is quite urban I suppose. But we are a 5 minute drive or a 20 minute walk to a decent size supermarket. 5-10 minutes gets us in to the town were there are more shops, post office, banks etc.

    We love our new house, 50 metres from the front door we have a magnificent scenic panorama view that is quite calming. Walk 50 metres in the other direction and you are standing between farmers fields. Yet we live on a small development of about 30 houses. We are the only English people, but all of our neighbours have made us very welcome.

    My son in contrast lives and works in London, he can drive but doesn't own a car, but he loves the buzz of the city. So may be it is an age thing...

    I'm very relaxed and happy where I am now.... you just have to find that place where you are happy and relaxed I think

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  2. Solution: Apartment in the city, house in the country. Duh :)

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  3. Another smashing post! I love the country too, but I also miss Houston! So much to do, so many restaurants, and shopping experiences (I <3 Ikea).

    My ideal would be about 20 mins. outside of a great city, on about 5 acres with my closest neighbors about 2 acres away on each side. haha Wanna come sit on my front porch and have iced tea and listen to George Strait with me?

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  4. Steve - Your place sounds lovely, and of course I've seen the pictures, especially that panoramic view. It is nice indeed, from what I can tell. I have to say that living in the city, I would so miss driving. I love to drive - every now and then it's just fun to get behind the wheel, crank up the stereo, roll the windows down and go (that is, if my husband lets me drive - ha ha). I'm not unhappy here, but relaxed, yeah, I could use more of that!

    Dasha - This is totally my plan! As soon as I win the lottery. You wouldn't happen to have the winning numbers, would you?

    Rori - Thank you. A front porch, tea and George? You know how to melt a girl's heart. ;)

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