Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Bright lights, big city

I read something quite surprising in last weekend’s papers: something like 80% of the population wishes they lived in the country. That seems an awful lot – doesn’t it?

I am firmly in that remaining 20% that does not want to live anywhere near the country. I’m a big city girl and that is absolutely fine by me, fantastic in fact. The bigger the city, the happier I am. Except for Mexico City, I don’t think there is a city out there that I wouldn’t like to live in, especially in England.

While the issue of Milton Keynes’s “cityhood” is always up for debate, I consider it a city. A small one, but a city nevertheless. Here in England the boundaries between a city and the country seem rather fluid and can sometimes seem to get confused, but back where I’m from the city is where everyone seems to live and the country is anywhere without a Vips (local restaurant and also a local joke, so apologies if you didn’t get it).

Perhaps this is because of the rather unique situation Monterrey has in the surrounding area: rather like Las Vegas, the city is everything that’s built up and the country is the sparsely populated desert that surrounds it. Nearly 4 million people live in Monterrey, the 3rd largest city in Mexico and arguably the most important city in industrial terms. This is where I grew up (albeit in the suburbs but still very much a city) and what has shaped my views on the country.

I then moved to England where pretty much everywhere seems to be populated (good-bye to wide open spaces) and where you can find village after village after village… You can’t drive anywhere without driving by or even through some tiny little place you’ve never heard of, even if you do live about 20 minutes away from it. Sure, it’s all very cute with all those cottages with thatched roofs and gardens full of flowers… but it just doesn’t appeal. If I have to drive half an hour to get to Tesco or Starbucks or even a gas station, then it’s a bit remote and my idea of hell.

You may have guessed by now that I am more of an inside kinda-girl and you would be right. I am not even involved in mowing our lawn or anything to do with gardening. It’s too muddy and dirty and I just can’t comprehend why anyone would want to spend too long messing around with nature. I like staying clean and being entertained by new media, not by tractors and dogs (ugh!).

So I will definitely never want to move to the country. Cities are what I grew up in and what I love – with their museums and shops and coffee houses and great restaurants. I even like the hustle and bustle of the cities and can not for the life of me figure out why anyone would trade all of that to live in an old cottage in the middle of nowhere where it’s too quiet and nothing to do. They might not even have broadband access out there – yikes!

4 comments:

Shazza911 said...

I too am a big city kind of girl. I lived in a smaller city growing up, but really like where I am now. We can walk to Starbucks in under 3 minutes, and the grocery store in 5. Although, the idea of less traffic to deal with every day is a bit appealing, but still don't think I could live anywhere that didn't have a Starbucks or Chapters (bookstore). Oh, and I totally agree about the gardening. I just have no interest!!

MontanaAnna said...

This is from a country girl... my town of roughly 2000 people is an hour away from the biggest city in the state, but I feel like we have the best of both worlds here. Broadband and Starbucks in my own restaurant, a great independent bookstore down the street, beautiful, unpopulated mountains outside my window, and the fact that I know every single person I meet on the sidewalk. I LOVE my big city fixes - Prague and Chicago are my favorites - but after a week or so there, I feel claustrophobic (especially in NYC) and anxious to get back to the place I love, where I can actually be ALONE in silence. However, I have NO interest in gardening, either! : )

Sarah aka Flo said...

I'm with you :)

city girl through and through.

not that Swindon is one....but I grew up in London and spent 10 years in Coventry.... and village life doesn't appeal to me one jot either.

(your line about staying clean and being entertained by new media made me chuckle :))

Rachael said...

Nope not me. I'm a country girl.I love to be outdoors and I love the colours of the trees, fields, hearing the birds sing and the fresh air.
I do like Starbucks and bookstores but can get to them in 20-30 mins if I need to.I also couldn't deal without broadband and don't like gardening at all (I have managed to plant a tree and not kill it though!)
Cities are great for a day trip but I do feel very clustraphobic with all those buildings and noise and soooo many people so I am really grateful to get home to the peace and quiet at the end of the day.

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