8.25.2011

Life In The Country


I am incredibly not good at writing about my day-to-day, but I realize that after dropping the bomb that we were leaving Canada’s biggest city for South-Western Ontario’s biggest cornfield, you deserve an update.

I can’t talk about the actual move, because it still might end in litigation (yes, moving day was that fucked up), but I can tell you a few things about being here. I’ll save the mundane shit for Facebook, like how much I love – LOVE – my house, but here are a few nuggets from the country:

It’s LOUD here! I am used to city-loud: traffic, sirens, streetcars, teenagers getting high and yelling stupid things in the park across the road – that kind of loud. The loud you can sleep through. Here, though, I am not used to the loud. Country loud is all sorts of crazy – crickets and owls and toads, and the cicadas! The cicadas are friggen insane. They (what? Sing? Ok.) sing constantly, 24/7, but really kick things up at night. I am getting used to it, in fact, I really enjoy it, but anyone that says it’s quiet in the country is a liar. It’s not quiet, ever.

Oh, and I’m not really in the country. I’m in town, on what might look like a really nice, old suburban street (for TO peeps, think Blythewood. Gorgeous, old stately houses on beautiful lots, with some really weird 1970s renos, some really quaint little places and a few McMansions in between.) We’re in a 1940s rancher. The lots were all originally ½ acre, in accordance with a VA stipulation that soldiers returning from the war get ½ acre parcels of land, but our lot was divided in the 70s, and we have about 2/3s of that ½ acre, and I have no idea what that fraction/percentage actually is, because I’m a writer, not a mathematician.
‘The country,’ is three houses down and to the left.

We kept the cat that lived here before we did, because the owners could not bring her with them.  And I really want another baby or maybe just a dog or maybe just a new purse, but I know I want something, so without consulting anybody I sleep next to, I said we would keep the cat. Our old cat, Miko, and the new cat, Mouse, are getting along famously. And by famously, I mean that Mouse – of the Siamese variety – ponders Miko with a Buddha-like tolerance, wondering how this thing could not possibly adore her already, and Miko – of the Scaredy variety – literally shits herself every time Mouse comes within 10 feet of her. We had sequestered Miko in our room, with our things and our smells, but after 10 days and me getting tired of bribing Chris with x-rated favours to once again be on cat-shit-in-the-closet duty, they need to just get along already.

This is not a pedestrian-friendly town. New York is a pedestrian-friendly town. Toronto is a pedestrian-tolerant town, and right now, that would be good enough for me. People do not walk here. They barrel down the road in the biggest honkin pickup trucks you’ve ever seen, or meander along in tractors (true), but they do not walk. We just can’t shake the city-centric urge to get off our asses and out of our cars, so being a pedestrian is risky. Drivers are just not used to having to wait for people to cross the road before they can turn, so if on legs, it’s best to be vigilant. Because it’s like they aim for you.

There’s not much to do here. But you knew that. So did I. It’s a big part of what I wanted, since what I wanted was not to be distracted by things like a full-time job or you know, something to do.  Still, I have steadfastedly sought out things to do when, by late afternoon, I get tired of unpacking and of the kids whining that they’re tired of playing without me, and we explore. So far, we have explored every park, plaza and farm stand in the vicinity. Ok, there may be a farm stand or two we’ve missed.

Of course we talked at length about this before making the decision to come here, but at this moment, I am scared to raise my kids here. Everybody says that it is a great place to raise kids, but do they mean Jewish kids with a mixed faith background and very progressive parents? We have been in a glorious little bubble where the only people we have had to interact with are people we know and love. I hope I will not see some of my fears come true when school starts and I am more ingrained in the community.

I have not yearned for a Starbucks mocha lite frappucino. I know! Maybe out of sight does equal out of mind, or maybe out of luck just equals out of fight. Whatever it is, I barely even wanted the one I got when we drove to London last weekend to get my new computer.

I love my house. I know, I said I would save the mundane for Facebook, but I really, really love my house. It’s more house than I ever thought I would have. That doesn’t mean it’s huge – it’s not, really, I’m not bragging – but I have never lived in a house that was bigger than about 1500 square feet (with 5 other people), and I have never had ‘good’ things. I’ve also never wanted for anything, and never counted a French-door fridge or a fireplace as a necessity, but now I have both and I will be thankful. SO thankful.

Biggest surprise: I’m not bored. True, there is not much to do here, but that doesn’t mean that I’m bored. I’m really and truly not. I know, it’s only been less than two weeks, and I’ve had a house to unpack and get to know (there are still light switches that I cannot figure out the connections to), but in a couple of weeks school and preschool and gymnastics and routine start, and I won’t have time to be bored.

But I will have time to pick my kids up from school and preschool and gymnastics myself. And to work in my marvelous garden. And to cook with the marvelous bounty of goods that are grown in the rich soil here. And to write, hopefully marvelous stories, but whatever they will be, at least I will have the opportunity to see them through. 

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10 comments:

  1. I have also just moved to the country, from Ottawa to Orangeville! My story is exactly yours, right down to leaving the trees planted over placentas. We've been here 5 weeks now. Loving it. LOVING it. Where are you? What town did you move to?

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  2. Glad you guys are doing well! It's hard giving up proximity to those placentas, isn't it? We moved to Chatham, ON, a smallish farming community in between London and Windsor. Luckily, the weather is more Windsor.

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  3. The post we've been waiting for!
    A nice kitchen is a wonderful thing for a cook like you.
    I worry about raising kids anywhere. I'll be interested to hear about the other parents at the school - that's an interesting story anywhere.

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  4. We just moved to a small-ish town on an island in the UK from downtown Vancouver. Couldn't part with city noise so we got a place in town. Town being the big city for the island at 21,000 people. Big city but no Starbucks, no multi-plex cinema and just a few restaurants that ass-holey restaurant goers like us find acceptable. Don't think I could ever go real country but it's very doable here. You can live on a few acres and be a 5 minute drive from town. Of course, you would have to have a car. Which we're still making do without.

    I miss Starbucks. I really do. Mostly for the familiar. If I want Starbucks I have to take a ferry or book a flight.

    Spent many a summer in London when I was a rower. Have a real soft spot for SW Ontario. Like the people and love the seasons there. The trees turning in the fall is so fucking beautiful.

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  5. @Rachel - thank you for reminding me that I have nice things to look forward to. Good luck in your small town - sometimes I think the totally different is easier than the kind of familiar (says the girl that spent the better part of a year in the Middle East for kicks).

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  6. We made a move from Toronto to (kind of) the county about 5 years ago. I would describe it more as moving to a small town (Woodstock) that is surrounded by farms. Anyway, I totally agree about the driving vs walking situation. It can be dangerous. Many near misses and middle fingers flying.

    I have experienced many Starbucks cravings, but apparently one just opened in a 401 eastbound rest stop between Ingersoll and Woodstock! Woo-hoo!

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  7. With regard to country noise, I couldn't sleep with the window open at my mom's place for years after I moved to the city. It was too quiet (and sometimes too loud at the same time). I always worried in the dark (as one does) that I would wake up the next morning and the world would have ended. With city noise, there's people and lights and cars going all the time. You don't feel like you're the only person on earth.

    I'm mostly over that now, but I still have to sleep with the blind closed there - small steps.

    Glad to hear you're settling in, and hope that the moving situation sorts out soon with as little litigation as possible.

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  8. To me it sounds wonderful! Can't wait to hear more!! I think you guys will have a wonderful life there! And who needs Starbucks anyway!!!

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  9. Awesome. Sounds like you are settling in.

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  10. I'm so happy for you! A slower pace sounds nice and Starbucks is kind of shitty anyway. ;)

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