March 6, 2011

City Girl

Last fall, a rep from a vendor based in California came on-site to my workplace to help my project team with some work that we were doing around that company's product. While waiting for a meeting to start, I decided to avoid the awkward silence and some small-talk. So I asked him if he lived in the city or in the suburbs. He said that he lived in the burbs, the move having been prompted by the arrival of little ones. I mentioned that I lived in the city, and that I really loved city life. To which he turned to me and said, "You don't have any kids, do you?" And I responded, "As a matter of fact, I have a two-year old."

I've been a city gal most of my life, so I guess I don't get what people love so much about the suburbs. My parents moved to the burbs just outside of Ottawa when I started high school, and I have to say that I wasn't a big fan. I found it too small and too boring. The only excitement we ever had was either going to the mall (which was a fair drive because it wasn't in our suburb). or driving into the city. The latter happened once every few weeks, when my dad used to drag us to his favorite bookstore in downtown Ottawa (they had a large computer section).

Unlike me, the hubby lived a good chunk of his life in the suburbs. His family has been living in the same place for the better part of 30 years, and back in the day, this place was literally the middle of frickin' nowhere - tons of farmland, and sparse amenities. These days, his parents' area is quite built up - the farmland has been replaced by condo buildings (I will never understand what people find so attractive about condo buildings in the burbs), strip malls, industrial parks, and tons of new subdivisions for houses.

I have to admit that I totally don't get why, when people have kids, they immediately think that they have to move out of the city in order to raise a family. Why is that? What's wrong with raising a kid in the city? The city is so rich and so full of culture. Sure, we have our fair share of neighborhood crazies. And pan-handlers. And the drunk university students on occasion. And yes, I hear the occasional siren at night, but that's just background noise! To me, the suburbs are so uh...boring and cookie-cutter-y. Honestly, I would've gone absolutely bonkers during my year of mat-leave if I had lived in the burbs.

To me, the benefits of living in a smaller space closer to work and excitement far outweigh the peace and quiet and bigger living spaces of the suburbs. Plus no raking in the fall, gardening in the summer, and shoveling snow in the winter are added bonuses. But I guess, to each their own. I know that there are people out there who love living out in the middle of nowhere, love small communities, and view city living as impersonal, crowded, and stinky. They probably view me as nuts for loving the city so much.

Though we plan on raising PK in the city, she will ultimately decided where she ends up when she's older. Will she be a city gal or a suburbanite? I guess only time will tell. Until then, I hope that she learns to love her time spent in the city as much as the hubby and I do.


Fawn said...

Commuting from the suburbs is such a colossal waste of time, too. (That's one nice thing about living in a small city -- heh heh!) Oh, not to mention gas. You're living a much greener lifestyle than your burby pals. :)

Mr. Shiny and New said...

I think you nailed the reason in your previous post about having two kids: more space. We lived in a condo and it was really nice for two people, but when our daughter came along it got a bit crowded. Your place is bigger than ours was, so that isn't really the same problem, but for us we decided that a house was best. And if there's something the burbs have, it's cheap houses.

But I think your house is actually plenty big enough for two kids. You could put the 2nd kid in your bedroom for 6 months then move him into PK's room. I used to think this would never work but after seeing the kids sleeping in the same room while on vacation, I'm convinced that it's workable. (I think every kid should have his own room if possible, but it's not strictly required). There's enough play-space that you could maintain your city-girl lifestyle (modulo 2nd kid).