It’s true, I’m a city girl; born and raised in Toledo, OH. I may not have been born in a big city like New York, L.A. or Chicago but a city nonetheless. Toledo boasts 316,238 in population which is 66th in the U.S. and has more than enough culture, arts, sports and fun things to do right at your fingertips. We even have a few local celebrities you may have heard of; Jamie Farr, Danny Thomas, Gloria Steinem and Katie Holmes, just to name a few.
I grew up in a quieter area of the city in a suburb by the name of Holland but Holland itself was pretty busy with all the restaurants, bars, shopping, movies and hotels all within 3-5 lights away from my house. Plus the airport was not too far away which brought plenty of hustle and bustle to the local establishments and rushing traffic down Airport Highway.
Even before living in Holland we lived in Toledo proper off of a fairly busy road that led to a busy intersection. I walked to 7-11, we didn’t need our pizza delivered we just picked it up since it was on the corner, never had to worry about running out of gas that too was on the corner. When staying with my aunt, uncle and cousins during the day while my parents worked we even walked to school.
So when I met my husband and he told me he lived in Columbus I was more than willing to move up in city size. I always considered myself a city girl and Toledo was much too small for me anymore, especially since I had gotten a taste of the big city of Boston when I was younger. Ever since I was out there in Boston I knew Toledo couldn’t hold me in any longer. When I first moved to Columbus with one of my friends we moved to Grandview, it was close to everything. It was close to downtown, close to the expressway, close to OSU campus, it was perfect for a city girl like me. Even after my husband and I got married and had kids we have never lived from anything we needed. We even walk to our church. The city has everything!
So when I started to get agitated and irritated more and more with traffic, large amounts of people everywhere I went and an increase in rudeness of said people I was scratching my head as to why all of this was bothering me, I mean, I love the city, I love the fast pace, I love the diversity of restaurants, fashion and culture so I couldn’t imagine why I was getting so frustrated. Then it dawned on me, I had gotten a taste or two of the ease of the country.
My parents had moved from Toledo to the outskirts of Mt. Vernon to a lake community called Apple Valley. Since I’ve been a stay at home mom we are always looking for fun things to do outside in the summer and my parent’s boat on Apple Valley Lake is usually where we head to. We also own a trailer that we park on a lot in Camper’s Village inside Apple Valley. The people of Campers Village are so friendly and kind they even hold gatherings at the picnic area in front of the village so everyone gets to know each other. There’s a great playground for the kids and all the little streets that run through the village are always packed with smiling walkers walking their dogs waving hello and you will always see kids on bikes having a blast. I always imagined that this is what a small town was like.
In the past when entering back into the city I would say to myself “Home Sweet Home”. Home, where I didn’t have to drive 15 miles to get to the grocery store. Home, where we didn’t grill all our food and we had a microwave and stove to cook on. Home, where I could buy clothes that didn’t have the Wal-Mart or Tractor Supply Company brand on it. Home, where my bed was. Even though I always said “Home Sweet Home” when we would exit the expressway there was always this little part of me that couldn’t wait to get back to the ease and quiet of the country.
My husband has always been an advocate for living in the country. He grew up in a much smaller city then I, he was born in what I call a “town”. There were still shopping, restaurants, and conveniences that a city offers just not as many and not quite as good. There of course was a mall, your big box stores and a multitude of chain restaurants. But he had also had a taste of the country or more like the outskirts of town since he was a kid. He had room to breathe and appreciate the openness. So when George suggested that when we retire we will have 10 acres, a small farm and a big house with barns I thought he was crazy! I told him that he would never get this city girl out to the country, no way!
I have in recent months come around to my husband’s way of thinking. (Gasp! What?) Yes! I have found myself enjoying the country living. The thought of having large spread of land has excited me. The thought of giving our kids plenty of room to grow has made me giddy. Not to mention the friendliness and kindness shown by those in town when shopping or eating is unbeatable. It makes me smile to think maybe my kids could go to a good country school away from the public schools in the city. I of course do not know much about schools systems as of yet but from what I’ve seen on the surface it seems to me that the country schools and kids seem to have the same feel as those kind friendly shoppers I meet in town and the public schools seem to have the rude attitude that I have recently begun to notice with the shoppers, drivers and restaurant goers here in the city. I may be completely off base but I may not be either.
Now when I come back from being away from the city I exit the highway and stop at the light I sit and think “Ugh, I’m back. Back to the busyness, the rudeness and rush of the city” I have even grown to dislike the smell of the air in the city. It’s hot and smells like fumes and asphalt. It’s something I have never noticed before and now I simply can’t stand it.
Of course this city girl will adapt to not having everything at her fingertips but the one thing that I may have a harder time adapting to is the “wildlife” of the country. We have our city creatures like raccoons, squirrels, and barking dogs. I have on occasion smelled a skunk but the country will have much more in the way of critters and creatures. There will be mice, snakes, weird bugs, more skunks, even coyotes and much much more. Just last night I freaked out and ran in the house because of a bat! I just don’t know if I will be outside much after dark.
I am sure that when our time comes to move to the country I will learn all that is needed to learn about living out away from everything. I am sure we’ll need lots of storage for the stock of groceries I’m sure I’ll buy and we’ll need either classes or books on how to farm the land and such but I think it will be good for us and the kids to leave the crazy life of the city behind and embrace the quietness of the country. I am sure I will no doubt feel isolated at first but with any new home, surrounding, or town you learn the ins and outs of the town and the people fairly fast. I am looking forward to a new adventure, when that will be I’m not exactly sure but I’m sure the Lord will prompt us when the timing is right.
So for now this city girl will remain a city girl and will appreciate our visits out to the country a lot more.