My good friend, Carol Stratton, just released her new book, Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You‘re Transplanted. But she still has time to maintain her blog, and was gracious to post my thoughts.
See this at the original site: http://www.changingzipcodes.com/highs-and-lows
We have another blog from Mollie Bond who has just moved. She is a very adventurous young woman and always has an interesting slant on moving, especially choosing a large versus a small town. I know you will enjoy her blog.
I moved from a town of 50 people to a town of 50 million people. Many things I had grown accustomed to drastically changed. I got funny looks asking seemly innocent questions. My new neighbors were accustomed to things that were new to me. But, I believe the greater the highs, the greater the lows. Moving to a big city had its benefits (highs), and its disappointments (lows).
High: Being close to a store. In an unincorporated town, there is no store, no mayor, no post office, no police. In my new city, I can walk to the store. And it’s not walking to the store that is exciting, it’s the choice of which store to visit.
Low: Being close to a store. It’s impossible to have a five-minute visit. I find the line where the person in front of me has limited English skills. That takes time. Although I try to be patient, I’m from a town where there is one customer in the store at a time, and we all speak the same language. (“Done?” “Yep.” “Ten bucks.”) It’s hard not to stare as the cashier answers back in their language.
High: Choices in churches. On Sundays, a couple of people show up at the same leaning church, the only one for 70 miles. So my family does the 140 mile drive each week. Leaving at 7 am before Sunday School and arriving home at 1 pm after grocery shopping makes it difficult, and leaves me hungry for lunch. In a city, there are many churches. It’s hard to choose one, but I am glad for the abundance of good community right around the corner.
Low: Not being from here. Most people are from the area, and even if they’ve moved, it’s been so long they’ve forgotten the lessons. Like radiator heat. I had to learn on my own what to look for when apartment searching, whether the radiator is broken or okay.
High: Driving. It never takes long to get anywhere, as long as the time of day is right. Mostly, I’m just glad all the roads are paved. It saves me on washing the car so much, but also saves my shocks from the washboards. I probably save some dentist work too from the lack of teeth rattling too.
Low: Parking. I have to look at a website before venturing anywhere to see where the closest—free—parking is located. Parking on the street is new for me. I fret about whether my car will be stolen overnight, or I’ll see the side view mirror hanging because the streets are narrow, or I will I find a ticket on my windshield. What’s parallel parking? And oh vey! the prices on parking passes can suck the life out of your budget. I miss the small town for it’s traffic, or rather, lack-thereof.
High: Peers. Where I attended church, the closest person in my age group was either 18 (living at home because they haven’t graduated yet), or 37 (with a husband and children). For me, the 26-year-old single, it was difficult to relate to anyone. While I sat on a bus recently, I tried not to get carried away guessing everyone’s age, knowing most were around my age.
Low: It costs! Not only is the tax rate higher in a city, but everywhere you go there is a cost. Cost to park, cost to drive (in the form of a toll), cost of admission. A day out can drain a bank account quickly.
Living in a large city, the choices, the people, all excite me. Yet those highs outweigh the lows of parking, prices, and some other small inconveniences. I think there are some who disagree, who see my highs as lows, and my lows as highs, and I can respect that. If that’s the case, there’s a town of 49 looking for that 50th person again. We all have highs and lows.