Friday, March 2, 2018

City Life

A nice city walk

When I was 15, we moved from a house on a street of similar houses in the “burbs” to a 100 year old farm house on 250 acres of land. Although I had grown up living in the city, I took to country life quickly and found I loved it. I looked after a neighbour's heifers in our barn, and worked on his farm in the summer. To this day, I do not turn up my nose when we drive past a field spread with manure; to me it is a pleasant reminder of living in the country. This idyllic country life only lasted a year however, when Dad got transferred to Halifax with his work and we were back in the city. My love of the “Country Life” remained and my goal was a house with land in the country. When I got married we had an opportunity to rent a nice house in the country with lake frontage for a ridiculous low price. I'm glad we were renting, because I hated it. I think I went down to the lake twice, and every time I needed something it involved a 30 minute drive to the city. That was when I discovered that my idealistic dream of the country life was not what I wanted – I had become a city dweller.

I discovered that I loved living in the city and the closer to the heart of the city the better. There are a couple of factors causing this. One was that I like to walk. I walk to get groceries, I walk to take pictures, I walk to explore, I walk to visit friends and family. Walking in the country was usually a walk to "walk"
How to totally mess up a busy intersection.
with no real goal or destination, just out and back; walking in the city is always new and exciting. After years living in the city I am still discovering new trails to hike, neighbourhoods to explore or places to walk to.

The other factor is I love being around activity. I love walking through crowds of people, I love traffic, I love ships coming and going, I love construction. The hustle & bustle of the city that bothers many, I find interesting. Although not a particularly “Social” person, I love watching and observing people. The city is the place to do this. I enjoy walking through peaceful forests and country meadows, but my favourite walks are exploring cities.

Lots of people to observe
When my son moved to Ottawa, he lived right downtown and I loved visiting him, and his move to Toronto puts my visits right in the middle of one of Canada's most vibrant cities and I love spending time there. We visited friends in Vancouver who for a while lived in an apartment right in that city's heart and I immediately knew I'd love living that close to things. I found that when I travel I gravitate to rentals in the heart of cities or towns all over the world. I love being able to walk to city markets and finding local wine shops. Regis says I can somehow “smell” markets and always manage to find interesting markets to explore. When I retired I spent three months in China in an apartment in the Suzhou and could walk anywhere. We had an apartment right on the Danube in Budapest, another just outside the wall on the river in Chester UK, one right in the middle of the walled city of Lecce Italy, and on the waterfront in Auckland. I loved them all.

I've discovered that I have become a city person and love life in the city. The country is nice to visit, but the city is where it's really at.

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