Growing up in Southeast Iowa, a trip to “the city” meant driving an hour north to Iowa City. There was a big college, a mall, one-way streets, and AN OLIVE GARDEN. It doesn’t get much fancier than that, ya’ll.
I never had any real desire to live in a city until I was in college. Within a couple years of graduating from Iowa State, I found myself moving to a metropolitan area that is populated by almost as many people as the entire state of Iowa.
There are a few things I knew heading into the game: parking would be a bitch, everything would be expensive, rush hour is a real thing, etc.
Here are ten other things I’ve learned about living in a city:
1. Dating can be kind of terrifying.
There are so many more single fish in the city sea, which presents a multitude of dating options. It also presents a multitude of potential crazies who you know nothing about.
Wait, we don’t have ANY mutual friends? Your aunt doesn’t even live, like, down the street from me or something? Alright then. Guess I’ll hop in your car and just hope you’re not a really attractive murderer.
2. A city is actually a bunch of little cities called neighborhoods.
“Where do you live?”
“I live in Portland.”
“Where in Portland?”
“Um. Like Northeast Portland?”
“No. I definitely live in Portland.”
3. You MUST love craft beer. (Disclaimer: This may be specific to Portland. Or adulthood.)
At the risk of sounding country af – Can a girl get a Miller Lite around here?
No, I don’t want an IPA. Yes, I understand that you think everything else tastes like urine.
By all means, sip your superior beer and discuss the hoppiness. I’ll be over here not falling asleep.
4. I mentioned this already, but PARKING.
Let me get this straight… You want me to pay for a parking spot… outside of my apartment… that I already pay way too much to rent?
Is this some kind of sick joke?
On the other side of this, you’ll learn that public transit is magical.
5. Homelessness everywhere.
Yes, your situation makes me sad and I hope you discover better fortune in the future. But I’m honestly considering making a cardboard sign that says “If you knew how much I paid for rent and parking you wouldn’t be asking for my change.”
6. Nobody knows where you’re from.
You’ll meet people from Seattle and Houston and Boston and London and every big city in the world.
“Where are you from?” They’ll politely ask in return.
“Oh. Um… where in Iowa?”
“Does it really matter?”
No. No, it doesn’t.
7. People don’t feel the need to be way too polite.
You’re not going to hold the door for me?! But I’m only two blocks down the street and definitely headed in your general direction!
8. Farmer’s markets have a different definition.
Small town farmer’s market: A place where fresh meat, produce, baked goods and crafts are sold at reasonable prices by their local producers.
City farmer’s market: A place where you risk being trampled to death to buy overpriced cage-free eggs and ironic t-shirts.
9. You’ll miss things you never thought you would miss.
Living in the city is the bee’s knees. Every store/restaurant/opportunity you could dream of is within reach. You’ll meet so many awesome people and learn a lot about yourself in the process.
You will, however, find yourself saying the craziest shit sometimes.
“Life was so much easier when I could only buy clothes from Target.”