Friday, October 19, 2012

Contrast Essay

              Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which do I prefer? If you have asked me 2 years ago I would have told you without hesitation, City. It's now been three years since my husband and I uprooted our three kids from our hometown of Phoenix, AZ and moved cross country to the small town of Harmony, Maine.  I am currently undecided, there are pro's and con's to both city and rural living and I am still figuring them all out. There are so many differences between living in a big city and living in a small rural area, even though there might only be a couple hundred of miles between you and what you used to know, you might as well be in a whole new country.
              I do know that most people need to work to make a living and it just seems to me that getting to and from work is easier in a big city. There are less people living in small towns and therefore less public transportation. If you want to get anywhere you need to have your own car. I've also learned quickly that in small towns, especially small Maine towns; the road conditions aren't the same as in the city. There may be bumps, unfilled potholes and plain old falling apart pavement heaves. This can reek havoc on your car and is definitely not a perk, this is something we experience all the time in Harmony. In the city it's quite common for the workplace to be within walking distance or at least a close drive, but in small towns like Harmony;  unless you are working at the town's country store of laundromat/ tanning/ movie store you will end up driving at least an hour. This has personally been a huge challenge for my family because It's bad enough that my husband is gone before the kids wake up and then works a 10 hour work day but he then has to drive an hour just to get home. To some this might be the price you pay for the peace and quiet of the country.
               Everybody needs a little fun in their lives, and I am certainly no different. What I had missed most of city living was all the entertainment options. When you live in a big city, you have much greater access to a variety of venues and you are exposed to all sorts of different cultures. I missed all the places I could shop and all the restaurants that we could check out .By contrast, small towns generally don’t get nearly as much variety, and everything closes so early; but most people in small towns can and do drive to nearby cities to take advantage of amenities like the shopping and concerts and so on.  I don't miss any of that anymore, I enjoy the peace and quiet of the small town I live in and have no desire for all the hustle and bustle. We have lakes all around us so there's always an opportunity to fish, swim, boat, and tube. We also have a few snowmobiles and there are tons of trails to use them. There's never a boring moment in my town of under 1000  residents and even though I never, ever thought I would become a homebody, I am now, and I am pleasantly surprised.
             We owned a beautiful 2 story house with 4 bedrooms and a loft in Arizona. When we found out we were moving to Maine we put it on the market and because the housing market was just beginning to collapse it sold quickly. We sold it for a good price which was really exciting but since we were inheriting my father in laws house I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy picking out what I really  wanted in Maine. I had visions of all the old, well kept country homes that you see on the cover of L.L. Bean, what I got instead was a house the color of lime sherbert with wall to wall wood paneling, a falling apart barn and 40 acres of land. I have done some traveling across Maine in the time I've been here and have found that it really is just hit or miss when it comes to the condition, style and quality of the homes. On the same road you can find a three story colonial, a double wide trailer and a small ranch with a failing roof.  I have to admit I originally was afraid of the land we had because  I was only familiar with what we had in the city, small dirt backyards with concrete block walls to separate you from your neighbor. When I lived in the city I felt like large yards were overrated and just caused more work than you would want, boy was I wrong! I have fallen in love with our 40 acres and all the freedom, privacy and safety that it implies for our family.

            I've been living here in Maine for a little over three years and even though my homesickness for big city living in Arizona has subdued for now, I don't think I am ready to make my mind up about staying here in the "country" forever. I do prefer to live in my small isolated town in Maine right now because I think it's the best place to raise a family. I like the feeling of community, of "everyone knowing everyone," and all the small town happenings. I used to be afraid of how everyone knows your business in Harmony but I have come to learn that being part of a close knit community doesn't mean you're involved with everyone on a daily basis. In a small town you can be as involved or uninvolved as you'd like, and that works just fine for me!

1 comment:

  1. Notice how neatly in grafs 3 & 4 you start with city and end with country. Contrast that to graf 2 where we get city/country/city/country.

    But that minor pothole does not keep this from being a well-organized, detailed, individualized strong contrast essay. Glad to have it.