This rural girl moved to the city
I've been reading Kim Izzo's series on moving to the 905 (read part one and part two) with a lot of interest, because about two years ago I made the opposite move, transitioning from a place far quieter than the 905 to living on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
You see, I grew up rural. And I don't mean like Mississauga rural. I mean 10-minute drive to the grocery store, 30 minutes to a less-than-stellar mall and an hour-long bus ride to high school rural. In the winter, it wasn't unheard of to get the car stuck at the bottom of our lengthy driveway, and have to ferry gifts and groceries up the hill to our house with a snowmobile.
I grew up outside Lunenburg, N.S., so it was picturesque, historic, and downright boring for a teenager. Not to mention a wee bit isolating.
View Bayport in a larger map
So, as soon as I was old enough to move away, I did, heading to Halifax for four years of university. Halifax is not a large city, but it has malls, shops, pubs, pizza delivery and public transit, along with four universities. The freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted, without having to drive myself, was a real treat. Add in a few options for shoe shopping, and, well, I was in heaven.
After graduation, and a brief stint of living even more rural than my hometown (that's a horror to be recounted another time, but involved living in my office and a 45 minute drive to the nearest Tim Horton's!), I was Toronto bound.
And the culture shock was significant. Like Kim Izzo, I feared I had made a terrible mistake.
There are more people in Toronto than in the entire province of Nova Scotia. The weather is hotter in the summer, colder in the winter. The subway is an unfriendly, and slightly creepy place. I got lost. A lot. But, after an absolutely miserable summer (just ask Mr. Speedy!), I started to find things to love. Little things, like the ability to hail a cab whenever I needed one. More shoe stores than you can shake a stick at. Great restaurants. Jobs.
Slowly, I got used to being a "city girl." But, it also made me appreciate - and miss - my rural life even more. Will I ever move back? The smell of the ocean, the slower pace, the beaches, my family and friends make rural life rather appealing, but I'd also miss the midnight delivery pizza, the robust job market, the wide array of entertainment options and all the other little conveniences of city living. So, at least for now, an urban gal I'll remain.