Thursday, November 13, 2008

city mouse, country mouse

I am a self-proclaimed, big-time, big city girl.

I live in Vancouver, British Columbia - quite a metropolis in my opinion. It's not like it's New York City or anything, but it's definitely a big city. And, we live in the heart of downtown. In a high-rise condo. There is a grocery store, two coffee shops, three restaurants, a post office, a bank, a liquor store, a travel agency, a salon and a doggie-accessory shop (I'm serious) just in the bottom storey of our building alone. We can go downstairs and quite literally eat at one of a zillion restaurants. I don't have to leave the footprint of four city blocks for anything; it's all right here. This is city living at it's finest and we've absolutely loved living here.

But something's changed. Now we have a kid.

Suddenly, out of the blue, I find myself thinking about a house, a yard and small-town lifestyle. I used to scoff at my friends, tried and true city folk, when they started having babies and were struck with this very same notion. And here it is, happening to me. Today, during Maya's nap, I guiltily started searching online for the most-livable towns in British Columbia, researching school districts, crime rates and family statistics. I actually started imagining a life in one of these small towns, hours and hours away from the city I've lovingly called home for these past 6 years.

D wouldn't have to work nearly as hard or as long to support us; the cost of living and the housing prices would be way cheaper than what we're paying now, and therefore we'd have more time to spend as a family. We could easily trade in our two bedroom brownstone for a 6 bedroom house on acreage for half the price. I could send Maya outside to play in the yard, rather than take her to the public park. The sound of traffic and sirens would be replaced with birds and crickets. We'd know our neighbours. We'd be able to see the stars at night. I can't believe I'm typing this, I can't even believe I'm thinking this, but it's all starting to sound so...appealing.

That's not to say that city living doesn't offer some advantages when it comes to raising a kid. We've got a great community centre only one block away. We don't need a car; in fact, we don't even own one, and there is an elementary school just across the street. There are a million great places to take a kid in the city - the aquarium, the planetarium, the library, different neighbourhoods and streets to explore. And as far as amenities, it really doesn't get more convenient. Vancouver is such an awesome city.

So this is all kind of a conundrum. I am really confused. And I need your help.

What would YOU do? Comments, advice, words of wisdom - totally appreciated.


wannabmomma said...

I vote for moving to suburbia. I grew up in the country about 20 miles south of Olympia WA. It was nice to have a yard to play in and kids in the neighborhood to play with.

I now live in the "city", but we are in a developed neighborhood. I hope I'm blessed with little ones running around here someday.

Good luck in your decision making. It is hard to move :0)

Mel said...

We chose suburbia before I ever even got pregnant. If I were able to stay at home full time, I would love it. I absolutely loathe it because that's not an option for me, but in your situation I'd be all over it.
Good luck with your decision!

Paint it Black said...

Right now I am listening to the sound of the birds (and the wind, its very windy). I have a view of green all around. Trees, paddocks and the mountain. We are on a small farmlet (1 acre),Theres nothing like it. I'm on the edge of town (1k) from town boundry and 3 min drive to town. My brother has a similar set up and his young kids just love being outdoors and are very independent for it. I guess I vote country mouse, but then again all my family is here so that is different to starting anew.

On the other hand:
We have 1 car, 2 utes,1 motorbike, 1 dirtbike, 1 4 wheeler, 2 tractors, 4 pushbikes.
Some people get carried away (DH) with country living and can't stop buying vehicles!

I have never lived in a house without a large back yard. That is more the type you mean eh? But shit 6 bedrooms? Either you guys are loaded or houses are way cheeper where you are looking lol

Xbox4NappyRash said...

the funny thing...I think you have already made up your mind...

j said...

Hi! Haven't commented on this blog for ages (or maybe not at all) but I have been reading. I am pregnant now, 11 weeks. My partner and I live in our own house in the country and we have some land. I believe that the country is the best place to raise a child as there is plenty of room to move and it is quiet a lot of the time. I was raised in the country and moved to the city to finish college and attend Uni. It was so much easier for me when I was at the age where I wanted to drink and spend time with friends but now I'm back in the country I wouldnt be anywhere else.

Thats just my opinion.

My stepson lives with his mum in the suburbs and visits us every second weekend. He loves coming here, its like a holiday for him.

Anonymous said...

I'm a country girl all the way! I grew in the country and as children my brother and I made forts in the woods and played/fished in a nearby creek. Running around outside makes for some of the best childhood memories I have!

christina(apronstrings) said...

i am a city girl too. we chose surburbia when i graduated from law school-then we.were.miserable. and immediately moved. and we lost $$ on that houes.
if you can live in a place were you will have friends you like, and has a city feel about it...maybe.
me? we'd stay in the city.