Oct 2, 2005

rural vs. urban

If there is only one lesson I could have taken home from my mainland trip this summer, it's that I might be a little more keen on city living than I previously thought I ever would be. The visual splendor of the Vancouver skyline at twilight left quite an impression on me, as did the renowned Stanley Park. I greatly enjoyed gallivanting around Seattle and San Francisco, experiencing true metropolitan culture.

Surprisingly, I did not feel estranged while wandering around most of the cities I visited, but instead I was rather ensconced. Seattle and Vancouver offered such a rich assortment of activities, both in and outside of the city. The green spaces and outlying nature were luxuriant and beautiful, and the nightlife was alive. Calgary and San Bernardino, however, were two cities I don't particularly care to ever set foot into again. I only spent a day in either, but they both left a very bad taste in my mouth. They made Phoenix, the only city I've ever really lived in, seem almost ... liveable.

Hilo has its beautiful parks and surrounding nature, but the nightlife ceases long before the night even begins to age. Recently, I have realised that the ideal place or me at this point in my life is a city. It may seem contrary to my very nature, but I can still see the logic in it.

First, the city offers many more career opportunities in contrast to a relatively small town. Being as I have been educated for a career relating to the social sciences, I would like to live in a place where more career opportunities are available. I don't care to be stuck working for the future Petco or a papaya farm.

Second, there is simply more culture in the city, and more things to do. Walking around Hilo at midnight, I notice that everything is closed save for Safeway and a few convenience stores. Increasingly, I yearn to live in a place where there is abundant nightlife through the wee hours of the night, in the form of clubs, concerts, arenas, shopping centres, etc. I don't particularly like humans, yet many human functions and gatherings tend to appeal to me. Ironic, no? I just want more to do.

Third, living in the city doesn't mean I always have to -be- in the city. When I lived in Phoenix, I fortunately had a car I could use to venture out into the mountains on occasion. That was one of the few things that kept me sane. It would be nice to live in a place where if I wanted some time alone with nature, I could simply hop in my car and drive for half an hour and be entirely by myself. That's one of the biggest advantages to living here in Hilo. I can ride my bike for ten minutes and be lost in the rainforest. No city can beat that.

Fourth, I have lived in rural areas for 20 years of my life and desire a departure from the norm. One of my parents' goals was to bring up their two sons in places surrounded by beautiful nature, and I would have to say they have done a tremendous job. I feel such an upbringing was appropriate for who I am, and in retrospect, couldn't imagine what kind of person I would be today if I had been raised in Phoenix like so many of my cousins. Poor souls.

Fifth, something about the vast array of glowing, flickering city lights at night has a way of soothing my soul. It's one of the very few things I miss about Phoenix. I loved going up into the mountains in the middle of the night and looking down upon the city like a raptorious observer.

I could base my prediction of whether I would enjoy living in the city or not entirely on my rather negative Phoenix experience, but I think doing such a thing would be foolhardy. Phoenix is incredibly boring, featuring countless golf courses, endless sunshine and brutal heat, square mile after square mile of upscale shopping centres, a couple water parks, and... not much else. What did people do there on a hot summer day? Stay indoors and watch the baseball game or hang out at the mall. All the brown grass, the polluted air, the deserted streets in July, the cruddy looking buildings down on Van Buren... yuckaroo. I must force myself to cease ranting about how bad it was.

Fortunately, I am anywhere but there. Actually, I am strongly considering Honolulu as a future living prospect. It's very, very feasible at this juncture, moreso than any mainland city. In the past, I turned my nose up at it because my brother lived there, and it just seemed too crowded. My perspectives and values have shifted a little since then, though. In truth, it's quite a beautiful, nicely run metropolis. It has Waikiki, and many, many more venues and cultural events than anywhere else in the state. Honolulu is the throbbing heart of Hawaii, where an overwhelming 70% of the state's population lives. Something exciting is -always- happening there. And of course, it's but a mild leap from home compared to the mainland. Returning home for a vacation would be a much easier feat.

Then, I am turned on by the fact that there is so much beautiful wilderness on Oahu that I have never before explored. Honolulu is confined to the southern part of the state, but between the city and the north shore lies a vast network of nice hiking and biking trails and places to otherwise lose oneself in. I would certainly have plenty to do on the weekends- maybe spend the day wandering around in the mountains and the following night attending a rave.

I'm not certain I could find a sufficient place to live for as 'cheap' as the $400 per month I'm currently paying for my apartment, but I'm sure I could find something. There is also the possibility that my brother may be moving back to Honolulu, and I could stay with him while I search for my own domicile. I think I might be able to tolerate that for a few days ...maybe. It would be easier to line up a job in Honolulu from my current residence than try to get a job on the mainland from here. It makes sense to start work in Hawaii since I will also (hopefully) earn my degree from here.

I suppose anyone who perceives me as someone who wants to hide out in an isolated cabin in the Montana wilderness and be a recluse for my entire life may have just gotten the wrong impression.

To reiterate, at this point in my life, I believe the city is where I belong. Several years ago, I never could have imagined myself saying such a thing. But life is like that. Maybe someday, I shall have kids...

**giggles** I kill myself.

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