By Jyotica Barrio
My mom grew up with this family; the mom – her “aunty” – and the mom’s two daughters (around my mom’s age). Her dad and her auntie’s ex-husband used to work together at Bell Labs. I have met with this family a few times for family gatherings, so I knew them, but not like my mom does.
When they heard I would be in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving, they immediately made sure to have me over. They were worried I would feel homesick for the holiday. I’m glad I went. It was a great bonding opportunity, and a wonderful chance to get a break from the city.
When I arrived, I was so excited.
A normal house! Trees! A yard! Fresh air! I could see the stars!
I hadn’t realized how much I missed these things until now.
During my stay, we ate good food, went on hikes, and sipped coffee while staring out at the vast forest that is their backyard. Oh, nature, how I missed you.
Don’t get me wrong; Philadelphia is a wonderful city. The people are lovely, the amount of diversity is incredible, and there is always something to do. I have had a wonderful semester here. However, after that visit, I realized what living in an urban setting meant giving up.
I miss the green, the trees, and the fresh air. I miss the brooks, the starry night skies, and even the quiet.
I’m sure that once I return home, I will miss having the ability to go out and do something if I’m bored, and the relative closeness to everything. I think that the city is great, and I love having the opportunity to experience city living. However, I think that this experience has shown me that it’s not the place I want to live in for the rest of my life. I really do prefer the set up I have at home (and could have here, or somewhere else).
Back home, I live about 30 minutes – driving – from Seattle. I am close enough to the city that I have the option of going to Seattle, but I also live close to the Puget Sound and to the Cascade Mountains (1-1.5 hour drive). I can drive a car – useful for grocery shopping – instead of relying on walking and public transportation. I can be in an urban environment but also have quick access to privacy and nature. I don’t have to be stuck behind someone smoking a cigarette or deal with catcalls on a daily basis.
I really have enjoyed living in Philly. Like I said before, the people, the food…everything has been wonderful. But, I am looking forward to the presence of trees and grass, and absence of sirens and city air.