I can’t really imagine living anywhere except in a city. I like the countryside (sometimes) but only for short periods of time, to relax and decompress. Mostly, I like having everything I need and want within walking distance of my house – I like to be surrounded by shops, cafes, restaurants, libraries, schools and universities, and people. But, I’m also picky about the cities that I like. They have to be big but not too big – I want to walk everywhere and not rely too much on buses, trains and undergrounds. Even though I live in Guadalajara now, and I love this city, Manchester is still my favourite.
I think I like cities so much because just wandering around is entertaining. There is always something going on, and if there’s not, there are always things to look at. Call me materialistic, but I like shopping, even if I don’t buy anything. I like looking at clothes and shoes and books and homewares and stationery and beauty products. I enjoy browsing.
I also love hanging around Universities, even though I’m not a student any more. Maybe I just don’t want to admit to the fact that I’m actually 23 and not 18, but I still find it exciting looking at a Uni and seeing everything that can be studied, even though I’m probably never going to study anything else. In fact, I hate studying. But being in a student environment inspires me, makes me want to learn about and investigate things (I’m glad I don’t have to really do it, though.)
But there are some things I really hate about cities. Firstly, noise. This is particularly tiring in Mexico – it’s something I’ve yet to figure out but everything here runs at ten times the volume of at home. Car horns, alarms, loud advertisements… I can’t stand it. Just thinking about traffic jams with everyone beeping at each other stresses me out, but unfortunately, that’s just something that comes with city life.
The second thing I much prefer outside the city is fresh, clean air. I like not being dusty and dirty all the time, not seeing smoke and smog coming from factories and car exhausts. I love taking walks through woods and fields, hearing birds tweeting and seeing wild flowers growing along country lanes, and seeing undisturbed frost in the winter. If I had to live in the country, this might make it almost okay.
However, I will put up with some grime if it means I can find more to do than go for a walk. I can be inspired by the country, but after a while, stillness becomes sameness, and I need to see something new. I’ll always like going home, but if I was always there, I would never get to ‘go home.’