Cities, versus suburbs, are more energy efficient, better for the environment, and (most importantly) tend to produce more vegan restaurants. This is due to the large amounts of diverse people living so closely packed together. If you happen to believe that city living could never be for you, here is one perspective on why you might want to consider changing your mind. Some things are more important than how big your apartment is, and what kind of parking you get for your car.
Like many Americans, I grew up in a suburb; a little place called Wauwatosa WI. Now before you go thinking I was a small town girl, let me be clear that this was a true suburb. The city of Milwaukee was literally 4 blocks away, along with the drop-in housing prices that went along with it. Though Milwaukee was close, I didn’t spend much time outside of Wauwatosa or even my room. The real world, to me, was a little underwhelming. Perhaps it would be more fair to say I grew up in books.
A change happened when I won a trip to the Big Apple. We had a little hotel room overlooking central park, and I was a girl possessed. The people! The life! The action going on all around me! Now I had been to New York once before, but nothing like this. There was something about sitting there, just a few stories above the crowd, and watching the people down below. Our hotel blended in to the apartments around us, and I felt almost like a local. It was the next logical step to just descend the steps, go through the lobby, and to go outside. I could just walk around, and within blocks find the most awesome coffee shop to sit and… READ MY BOOK! How cool was that? It actually made me want to, you know, go places and do stuff. Suddenly, the city to me wasn’t a bunch of tourist attractions connected by public transit, but a big exciting organism all in itself!
I remember going home after that, and looking at New York apartments. Someday I want to live there, I thought.
As I have gotten older, I’ve discovered more cities that I love. Boston is one, and San Francisco is my absolute favorite. I loathe Atlanta. There are a few common themes that make up my favorite cities. Ease of walking and biking is a big one, as who wants to drive in a city? Good parks are another, as I love a good running path and a beautiful city outlook. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to stay in San Francisco a week for work, that I realized what truly calls me to city life.
I am a weird person, and let’s be honest, most of us are weird in our own way. In a suburb, there are only a relatively small amount of people. Because of this, stores and neighborhoods have to even out their differences in order to appeal to the masses and survive. The same can be said for people. I always had this feeling that in a suburb, everyone was pressured to be the same. If none of us have anything in common, we are going to have to make do with talking about sports, tv shows, and the weather. With only so many friends available, you have to ignore the parts of yourself that bore others. That is, if you even have the energy to have a social life after commuting back and forth all day.
This is not true in my favorite cities, such as San Francisco. A few nights ago, as I was walking to a vegan restaurant, I turned a corner and smiled. I couldn’t tell you what exactly about this neighborhood made me smile, but based on experience, I just felt it. Now, I thought, now I’m with my people. It was the same feeling of connection that I felt in that hotel above central park. You see, cities are by nature, big and beautiful and diverse. No matter how different or weird or unique you are, you’ll find other people like you in a big city. Truly, there is some block or street or neighborhood where you just belong, and all you have to do is turn the right corner, and you will know you’re home.
Even though I was trying to just eat and run out of that vegan restaurant, I had some pretty good conversations with my fellow patrons. Talking and relating to one another, despite our differences in age and income, was easy and effortless. Turns out we were all not only vegan (no surprise there) but we both had an intense interest in politics, civic service, and how public parks shape city life. We didn’t agree on everything, but we knew enough to challenge each others’ perspectives and opinions. Where else do you just stumble into someone and debate about how block sizes and badly created parks create food desserts, which leads to problems in the national health care system? Who knew other people were into that kind of stuff other than me?!
When your differences are too large to hide, a suburb is a poor place to grow. This is especially true for introverts who do not necessarily have the energy to hunt down and maintain many relationships over long distances. A city sucks you in, and if you go with the flow, you’ll find yourself in that one little section that is truly made just for you. It isn’t a beautiful house that makes a home, but the people in it, and around it, that steal your heart. That is why I am, and will always be, a city girl.
This Week in Updates: Travel, travel, travel
So I am home… for like 5 days. I got back from PR, had my sister visit, then had Jesse visit for about a week before taking a work trip to San Fransisco. Family things took me to Florida last weekend for a few days, followed by about 24 hours in Portland with Jesse, because why the hell not? It actually saved me $300, but I appreciated the time with him much more than I appreciated the savings. I have tomorrow and Tuesday off because GRE take two is Tuesday morning. Here’s hoping some more sleep and studying helps me out. Then I have a three day work week. Furthermore, after my travel in Portland, I will have another short 4 day work week before heading to Arizona for Thanksgiving. And after that, well fuck, it is basically Christmas and time to blow this popsicle stand. I guess my routine for the next two months is that I have no routine. Even so, while tired and really hoping I do well on this GRE, I’m happy. I have a pretty darn good life, with a darn good man.
Restaurant Recommendation: BEST VEGAN CAKE EVER
Yeah, no cooking recently because it is hard to cook when you are not home. However, I have to say that I finally had good vegan cake AND IT WASN’T IN SAN FRAN! It also just so happened to be gluten free. Now, I make a pretty good vegan cake, and honestly this is the first time I’ve tasted something better. Thus, if you happen to ever be in the Portland area, you HAVE TO stop by Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. That’s right… pastries! And if you can do vegan pastry, you can do anything.
Did I mention that Jesse knows the way to my heart? Who else would buy me $42 of VEGAN CAKE!!!!!