Definition of City.

My family in Michigan drove to the UP this weekend for vacation. Flint to Houghton is about nine hours, so they stopped in Newberry on the way. I couldn’t remember where it was, so I looked it up on Google Maps and found this picture of the downtown area:

For most of my life, this is what I thought downtown meant. Wide straight roads. Old brick buildings. Not a person in sight. This is heaven to me. I grew up in the countryside, with the closest city being a 10 minute drive away and the actual city limits extending only one square mile. My concept of “city” was obviously skewed from the beginning.

Then I moved to Flint for college and saw what I thought city-life was. Not true however, as Flint’s population is rather low and many buildings remain empty. But traffic wasn’t bad. The roads were still wide and there were few pedestrians to watch out for. I could walk or ride my bike to school and work. Grocery stores remained a 10 minute drive away though.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting (and driving in) New York and LA, and traveling through the major cities of Europe, so now I know what “real” cities are like. But I’ll always prefer my original idea. There’s just something so serene and peaceful about the wide, open spaces. Or maybe it’s just the lack of people, and therefore noise…

Can you tell that living in a residential area surrounded by loud neighbors is getting to me a bit? I would give anything to live in the countryside again.

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  • http://www.australiatoitaly.blogspot.com/ Leanne in Italy

    I have never lived in the countryside – always in big cities and think I would be scared in the country with no one around at night time…and no other lights to be seen!
    Saying that in the cities I lived most of the time I have been in houses or small apartment blocks and these big ones in Rome and driving me crazy now. I am sick of hearing the noise from each and every house in my block!

  • http://www.australiatoitaly.blogspot.com Leanne in Italy

    I have never lived in the countryside – always in big cities and think I would be scared in the country with no one around at night time…and no other lights to be seen!
    Saying that in the cities I lived most of the time I have been in houses or small apartment blocks and these big ones in Rome and driving me crazy now. I am sick of hearing the noise from each and every house in my block!

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    I find small towns nice too, just to visit though. I grew up in a big enough city and got used to it.

    Now I had a hard time getting used to the fact North American downtowns were supposed to be the “bad place” whereas the malls in the suburb would be the place to shop.

    Zhus last blog post..A Bizarre Story

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    I find small towns nice too, just to visit though. I grew up in a big enough city and got used to it.

    Now I had a hard time getting used to the fact North American downtowns were supposed to be the “bad place” whereas the malls in the suburb would be the place to shop.

    Zhus last blog post..A Bizarre Story

  • Mom

    I would like to live in a city to be able to walk to a library or store, but I also like the privacy of the country. For now I am satisfied with working in the city and living in the country.

  • Mom

    I would like to live in a city to be able to walk to a library or store, but I also like the privacy of the country. For now I am satisfied with working in the city and living in the country.

  • http://annenorcross.blogspot.com/ Anne Norcross

    A fellow “Michigander” who knows where Houghton and Newberry are, and has been tthere recently! I’m from the Lansing area — yes Michigan State (Go Green) and studied art history at Ohio State. I am now an assistant professor at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, but would LOVE to uproot my family and move to France. What truly, what are the chances of getting a job? Are you fluent in French (I’m not)?

    Anne Norcrosss last blog post..

  • http://annenorcross.blogspot.com/ Anne Norcross

    A fellow “Michigander” who knows where Houghton and Newberry are, and has been tthere recently! I’m from the Lansing area — yes Michigan State (Go Green) and studied art history at Ohio State. I am now an assistant professor at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, but would LOVE to uproot my family and move to France. What truly, what are the chances of getting a job? Are you fluent in French (I’m not)?

    Anne Norcrosss last blog post..

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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