Posts Tagged ‘living in the big city’

Is the grass really greener in the country?

Country life

Country life

This happens every time I go to visit my sister. After fighting the traffic and the asses that cut you off or weave through and around the other cars, after passing the shopping malls and rows and rows of cookie cutter houses you enter an open green space full of small towns and farms and cattle and a handful of cars.

You probably know my desire to get out of the city, which is kind of funny considering I purposefully moved here because it is the big city. But my reasons for coming here twenty years ago have changed. Perhaps I don’t use the facilities the city offers as often as I use to, though I still pay for them. Yeah, a little. Perhaps I’m tired of having my neighbours watching us in the backyard. Yeah, kind of creepy. Perhaps I’m tired of being polite to all the rude people. Definitely. There are a lot of little reasons I want to move versus one big reason. The city was great when I moved here, but now with young kids I’m looking for something else. And by something else I don’t mean a home in suburbia. I think that would be worse.

So my husband and I have mentally decided we’d like to get out, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Living out of the city might be cheaper, but you still have expenses to pay so work is essential. Thus the problem. But that doesn’t stop us from going through the MLS site, checking out turn of the century homes on acres of land.

I know what you city dwellers are thinking. Yes there’s less selection of stores and items in the store, but how many types of bread do you need to choose from. I’m sure I would survive. Yes there would be less to do nearby. I may have to drive to one town to get groceries and another town for the kids swimming lessons and another town to catch a movie. But with three young kids who tire easily, I seem to spend a lot of time in the car anyway. Yes I might have to give up on visiting my local Indian or Thia restaurant but cutting down on eating out is probably good thing for both health and money reasons. And many small towns have celebrations around their own farming community culture. I think I’d enjoy celebrating my own English/Scottish heritage for once, which seems to get lost in the big city. I’d like some quiet and space, though the bugs might be an issue.

Would moving to the country live-up to my expectations? Because once you’re out of the city it’s hard to get back in. I don’t know, but I think there’s only one way to find out and at this point I think I’m ready to take the risk. Now all we need is the kick in the ass to get us there.

Where’s the line between saving and wasting your time

After I dropped my son off for his afternoon kindergarten class, my youngest daughter and I walked over to the grocery store around the corner to pick up a few things. We live in the big city, but our neighbourhood feels very small town (with three times as many houses and cars of course). We spend most of our time in our neighbourhood. We walk to school, to the local library, grocery store, convenience store, video store, movie theatre and soon to open, veterinary clinic.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my neighbourhood and all but I still want to move far away from the big city. So the walk made me think how much I would miss having everything so close and convenient. I know there are small towns with shops close by, but when I’m talking about moving out of the city, I’m talking country home with land, population 100. Probably not too many shops to walk to in those areas. I was thinking how I’d have to get use to driving everywhere to get things, even a replacement bag of milk (‘cuz no matter how much land I have, I’m never owning a cow).

My sister lives in the country, sandwiched between two farms. Since her husband works in town he does most of the shopping. They are living on a limited budget and have four kids in the family, so there’s no splurging when it comes to grocery shopping. After flipping through the grocery flyers, my sister’s husband drives from store to store (and since most towns only have one store, this actually means driving from town to town). All just to save a few cents on milk and apples. Now I’m no economics major, but how much are you really saving? The cost of driving from town to town must be higher than this weeks deal at Foodland. Don’t you think?

I’m all for saving and I know if we do get out of the big city it will mean giving up the big money and making adjustments. I hope along the way I don’t lose my common sense. [mental note: refer to this blog if I feel the need to drive more than 20km for a savings of $0.10]

A glutton for punishment

You’d think going through the Park and Recreations registration process once this week would be enough fun for me. But no. I had to do it again. This time I was registering the kids for Spring swimming lessons. The big city I live in is so big that they’ve divided it up into four sections, with separate registration dates for community programs. The camps I wanted to register for were in the west end of town. Swimming lessons are in the centre of town. I wonder if people who live in small towns have to get up at 6am to register their kids for swimming (with no guarantee of getting a spot).

And even though I’m just trying to register for Spring lessons, the registration dates is the same time as all the summer camps and programs in the centre of town. I was fortunate enough to get through, though I had to regiser my son for private lessons in order to keep everyone in the pool at the same time Saturday morning. I should have realized, but didn’t until after the fact, that the private lessons are 3x the cost of his regular lessons. Yikes! Well, when he turns five this summer he’ll be able to join the Ultra Swim program stream which is much easier to get into.

And the good news, I don’t have to worry about going through the registration process again until the Summer when it’s time to register for Summer swimming lessons. At least that won’t be as busy. People don’t seem to do lessons as much in the Summer. They’re probably fortunate enough to be away at the cottage or camp.