A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock n’…I Mean City
I’ve spent the last week with my time split between southern Maine and Vermont, the quintessential places of my childhood. One is my home, the other the most common vacation destination for my family. It felt good to be out by the ocean or back in the woods and it strengthened my feelings for moving to Arlington. I’ve spent the last 4 years enjoying the conveniences of living in the city (in a good living situation to boot) as well as adapting to a very strange and brave new world the city really is compared to the country. The thoughts made me stop and consider the differences between the two, and how Arlington seems to mesh the two together.
Now I grew up in Vermont, but I didn’t grow up in the sticks. My house wasn’t over a hill, down a dirt road, surrounded by trees and where basically you only saw your neighbors when you wanted to, although I can’t count how many of friends did have houses like that. I lived on a street just outside a town, with the houses lined in a row. For me, getting to the elementary school was only a 10 minute walk, but the high school was an 8 mile drive. Comparatively speaking, it’s a shorter distance for me to get from where I live in Arlington now to Northeastern’s campus in Boston than it was for me to get to high school, and I lived relatively close to the high school compared to some of my friends.
That was the charm of living in Vermont though. The towns served as hubs for activity, there were a few cities you could drive to for some excitement, but a lot of the time there was just the outdoors to spend time with. Whether it was the natural settings of the forests and the rivers, or more man-made areas like the mountain slopes or the hilly golf courses, life just seemed to be spent outside more than it was in. Bars and restaurants may close before midnight, but there were opportunities for night skiing and night-swimming around the area to fill up your nights. And large lawns with pits to make fires seemed to be a weekly event. People were relatively just good people, that for the most part lived and let live.
Living in Boston and going to Northeastern taught me a lot that Vermont really couldn’t. I learned more about the true size of the world, especially when I realised that my graduating class rivaled the population of my hometown.
I learned just how much Vermonters (or at least the ones I knew) are accepting of others, despite the fact we are one of the least diverse states. I was surprised to find from my friends at college that people are still bashed for being Jewish or ridiculed for having red hair. Looking back, things such as religion or backgrounds seemed to hardly be discussed growing up. Most of my friends I couldn’t even tell you what religion or denomination they practiced, or if they practiced at all. And red hair! Such a thing just seemed preposterous. This doesn’t even include ethnic diversity within the city and just coming to terms with the differences in speech, lifestyles, etc..
I learned that not everything roles up before the night is over and that you live in apartments, not houses, which means there are always people, always noise, around. This also coupled with living with roommates and what situations arise from that scenario, especially being an only child growing up and having these first time problems. I need to thank my college roommates for surviving me and for also relaxing my expectations of not only others but of myself.
I also learned how convenient city life can be. Campus convenience was even far and beyond what I could have expected. Food available right on campus, shops and shops and shops within a 15 minute walk. Subway was available from three locations on the campus that could take you anywhere in the city. Honestly, I thought living within walking distance of town was great growing up, the power of Boston was truly immense at first.
And then there’s Arlington
Arlington has so far been a blessing of mixing my old life with the new. I’ve learned that I live better alone (or with maybe only one other person) so I’ve moved into a single on Mass Ave. The location allows me easy access back to the city as well as being walking distance to the local pond. The nearest pizza shop is right across the street, the movie theater at the other end of the block. There’s a bikeway that travels through the treeline and there’s a town center with shopping and restaurants that are reminiscent of Montpelier. Indeed the area combines the conveniences of the city life with a small bit of the natural world mixed in.
Will anything be like Vermont ever again? Maybe Colorado, but probably not, no. I can really imagine myself coming back to Vermont. But not now. Right now Arlington provides those things I miss enough, even if the air quality is still a little less than perfect and if crossing the street does still require waiting for the traffic to die down.
It was great seeing you again, Vermont. I’ll be back again soon.