I grew up in the country. Not on a farm, but down the street from one. My parents’ house is surrounded by fields on three sides. I spent my childhood digging holes in the yard and picking wild blackberries in a town where cows outnumber the people.
My first job was in a small city that I’d frequented on outings with my family, so it was not a bright-lights-in-the-big-city experience to work there. But then I got a job in Boston (which some people will argue it is not a big city, but to a girl from a 3,000 population town, it is.) And man, life is different. Here’s what I’ve learned.
Public transportation is not that scary, but also kind of scary. The first time I took the subway, or the T as it’s known here, I was terrified someone was going to swipe my purse and bash my head into the ground. I was an hour and a half early for my first day on the job because I thought it would take an hour to get five miles. And buses? NO WAY! I made my roommate explain to me the exact process on how to get on and off a bus. Pathetic, right? It DOES take a while to get used to but there’s no need to be scared. Although drunk idiots and creepy people will always exist. Just mind your own business.
Cabs are your friends. I avoid taking cabs by myself because I have irrational fears. Cabs do not exist in Small Town, NY so obviously I didn’t know how to use one. But if you find yourself walking alone at night, you should probably just take a cab.
It’s hard to make new friends, but also easy to make new friends. Netflix is always there for you. But you should probably make friends. It takes a little effort. My efforts: moving in to an apartment with two roommates I found on Craigslist, joining a volleyball league with strangers (friends), socializing with bar strangers (boyfriend.) Obviously within reason, listen to your first grade teacher who always told you to never talk to strangers.
Nature still exists in cities. It can be hard to find, but it’s there. A city park is by no means a substitute for wide open fields but it’ll do in a pinch. Makes you appreciate fresh country air, no?
Learn to drive! Driving in a city is hard. I was terrified to use my car anywhere close to the city limits for months. But just suck it up and try it out. And don’t hit anyone. Pedestrians exist. You’ll become a parallel parking master in no time.
Things cost a lot of money. My rent skyrocketed and groceries cost one million more dollars. I was not prepared for sticker shock. It really forced me to think about stupid, worthless purchases I was making. It also made me accept that I will probably have to shell out $5 for a bottle of shampoo instead of $3.
Am I a city girl? Not quite, but I’m getting there. I’ll always be a country girl though. (Insert cliché country song lyric here.)