Despite the reputation cities have of being cold and unfriendly, I know most of the dozen neighbors on my floor, just as I did when I lived in Manhattan. My kids love our doormen, know our mailman by name and we can't leave the house without running into someone we know. The fruit vendor down the street knows what we like and I know every pharmacist at the drug store as well as the long-standing cashiers at the grocery store.
How long will it take for those connections to be made in my new town? How long will it take for me to know where to go and how to get around? How long will it take me to know which place has a family-friendly happy hour? More importantly, how long will it take until I have friends to invite to a happy hour? The task seems daunting.
At times, as I stare at the boxes I've filled and stacked in the corner, I feel as if I've sold out. I love living in cities and, with my penchant for packed schedules and diverse friends, I am a true city person. While my twin sister loves her car, I love not having one. I had vowed to keep my kids in public school here for as long as possible, hoping to be an agent for change in our community. I have helped others mold and shape our school board and elect our mayor. I have learned to commute efficiently on foot, train or light-rail and can now--only recently--give driving directions. Yet, I'm leaving.
I wonder if I am taking the easy route by carting my things and my children to a place where there are no wait-lists for a free, good education. Where I can walk around town or hop in the car without carrying car seats to the nearest zipcar. Where economic disparities are not as wide as they are here.
Despite all this, I know we are making the best decision we can for our family. My children will love having a yard and my husband can't wait to have more that two bedrooms worth of space. I wonder what will it be like for the four of us to be scattered around the house, together, but alone.
In a few weeks, we'll pack up our boxes, clean out our place and head west for our new beginning in the 'burbs. Wish me well and, more importantly, recommend happy hour locations because I will certainly need a few drinks and new friends to have them with.