Saturday, September 26, 2009

Confession and Introduction

Confession: I DID actually grow up in the suburbs. However, being raised by native New Yorkers, I had sort of an odd upbringing in the sense that I didn’t feel a lot of the “suburban experience,” at least as I am experiencing it now. Granted, we knew our neighbors, and when I was a kid I rode bikes with them and did lemonade stands and all those quaint childhood rituals, so I wasn’t totally citified. I just never felt truly at home in the suburbs where I would go to school and hear teachers say to other kids “oh I had your mom in class” or had a mom ask my mom “you’re the black Stephanie’s mom, right?” The second I turned 18 and graduated high school I was on the next flight to Boston, determined never to return to suburbia again.

I kept my word until I turned 30. My then fiancĂ© and I had been living together in a very small condo near the city and it was time to make the leap to a house. We looked at about 40 houses and could not decide what to do. The younger part of us, “Young Hip Urban Us,” wanted a cool starter house in the cities, dreaming of pushing our baby’s stroller through the streets of Minneapolis, getting ice cream at the mom and pop shops, buying outfits at the little boutiques.

Then the market tanked and reality kicked in and we realized a starter house could end up being a 10-year commitment. We began to factor in school districts, resale value, all the adult things we’d been studiously avoiding as problems for “Future Us.”

So Future Us began to explore the suburbs, trying to stay as close to the city as possible. And our realtor kept leading us further and further West. When she mentioned the city we currently live in, we thought, not for the first time, about firing her. Because there was NO WAY we were going to live “out there.” I had heard tales about that city when I was growing up. I recall being jealous of them because they always got school off when it snowed since the dirt roads weren’t plowed fast enough or kids couldn’t get around on their tractors.

Our realtor was determined it would meet all our requirements and more, and we very grudgingly agreed to see a few houses and witness the new highway that supposedly meant we could get to the farm land in under an hour. We were dubious to say the least, but true enough, we did get there in about 30 minutes from the condo. It wasn’t ideal, but it would mean less than a 45 minute commute for both of us, which was one of our deal-breakers.

In addition to the highway, the neighborhood boasted miles of trails for biking and walking, a beautiful new community center, steadily rising schools, and even a Target or two. And once we saw the price tag on a house with a yard, a playground in the back, easy access to the trails, we were sold. And thus began what I have to say has been one of the strangest rides of my life, including wildlife, door-to-door salesmen, and more adventures to come, I’m sure. If you can relate, share your goofy suburban stories, and if you’re one of my city friends, well here’s to you! I’ll always be a little jealous of you, but I have better stories, so there!

No comments: