As you all know, I recently moved away from New York City and it’s not going well. I never considered myself that much a of a city girl. Sure, I was taking the train alone by the age of 10 but I also owned a car and drove it regularly. I lived in the most suburban part of NYC for the last 18 years of my life so I thought I could handle a small town.
I didn’t think there would be that much of a difference. Boy was I wrong!
If you actually live in a small town, you’re probably going to roll your eyes at a lot of what I’m going to say. Considering that my town has a population of 11,000 I am not exactly sure how small it’s considered. But for me, this shit is very small. Every day something new happens that makes me think, “Holy shit, I am living in the boondocks!”
This has been quite the learning experience for me. Below are just some of the many thoughts I’ve had since moving to the boondocks.
What is up with volunteer firefighters? Coming from a city where firefighters are revered, I just cannot get behind the idea of volunteer firefighters! Any child here who dreams about growing up to be a firefighter one day, needs to be put in their place. “Sorry sweetie, fighting fires is just a hobby. You’ll need a real job.” Cause apparently risking your life to save people from fire is not worthy of a paycheck. Since this is a small town, and the surrounding areas are even smaller, I can understand not needing a HUGE staff. Maybe have some people who want to volunteer if there is a big issue. But to not have any paid staff members is absurd to me.
If I get sick or hurt here, I am going to die. As a hypochondriac, doctors are very important to me. I had reliable doctors back in Staten Island and I even had 1-2 urgent cares that I trusted for same day issues. Now I have to start all over again and at a place where the doctors do not have the best reputation. I turned to my coworkers for references when I first moved here but practically all of them do not have a primary care physician. These are grown ass adults so this boggles my mind. I finally settled on a doctor that had decent reviews. However, I couldn’t get in for 2 months and the office is 45 minutes away from my home. I need to drive almost two hours just to see a mediocre doctor. There’s also no hospital in my town so if I fell down the stairs I’d have to drag my ass to the next town over, 20 minutes away!
I question the whole cost of living theory. When I was moving up north from NYC, so many people commented on how my cost of living is going to be much cheaper. When it came to rent, they were absolutely right. In NYC, I would be living in a studio basement paying what I pay for my 2-bedroom apartment up here. But plenty of other things are either just as expensive or even more expensive than the city. I have never spent more money grocery shopping than I have here. It’s unreal. I’ll go in for just some fruits and veggies for the week and spend over $60.
Maybe taxes aren’t so bad. This is one that I NEVER thought I’d say. Every 2 weeks getting paid in NYC, I would die a little inside. “Why does half my paycheck get taken away?” Then I moved to a place with volunteer firefighters and it all made sense. NYC may take a bit too much taxes but a lot of those taxes do go to good use. I’ll take some out of my paycheck to make sure those putting out fires are compensated. I’m also willing to pay out of my paycheck to make recycling easy cause recycling is a real bitch here. In NYC you could leave a three-piece bedroom set outside and sanitation would easily take it. Here, it’s like they don’t want you to recycle. Since I’m renting I don’t have to pay for garbage pickup. However, the garbage pickup does not recycle. So if I want to do my part for this world that’s wasting away, I have to lug all my recyclables to a dumpster down the road. Now, I get this is a first world problem complaint. However, not a lot of people can be bothered with going that extra step. Where I live, my neighbors don’t recycle. They just put all their giant Amazon boxes with all the other garbage. This world is falling apart, towns should be doing everything they can to make recycling as easy and accessible as possible.
Who comes up with these business hours? My current library is off a main street. And when I say main street that’s the actually name of the street. I am convinced that only small towns have a main street. And they are usually incredibly quaint and cute. My main street is no exception. However, the hours of the shops and restaurants are bizarre. My sisters came to visit on a Monday and decided to walk around main street while I was working. They came back to complain that only TWO stores were open. There are some shops that are open for three hours a day, two days a week.
I miss rats and cockroaches. Now this is a statement I really never thought I’d say. I’m not suddenly a fan of rats and cockroaches but I’d take them over ticks, bears, and rattlesnakes. The wild creatures living in this neck of the woods freak me out on a daily basis.
I totally could relate to your post. I remember moving from California to a small town in Wisconsin in my twenties. That was a culture shock, sure there were no bumper to bumper traffic but my choices of stores were very limited. The thing I really hated was that everybody pretty much knew everyone or the family member of the person that was being talked about. I hated that. Needless to say, I moved back to California but found myself moving to a smaller town with one stop light ten years later. Maybe it was age, but in my 40’s living in a small town was more my speed, but the closest town was just 15 miles away.
Everyone knows everyone here as well. It’s insane. My fiance and I stick out wherever we go. People automatically know we’re not from around here just because they’ve never seen us before. I am not sure I’m ever going to be able to get used to this. I miss the city too much.
The business hours are definitely the worst part for me. I live in a small city so it’s a little better here, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone to order food and they’re closed on sundays and tuesdays or we go shopping and they were only open for 2 hours that day lol I definitely understand your culture shock, a population of 11,000 is not a lot
Omg yes! Places are closed on the most random of days. Have you had to look up doctors yet? I have been looking up doctors here and those hours are the worst as well. Not a single late night. I get that a doctor’s office doesn’t want to be open til 8 every night. But at least have one late night for working people.
I found a doctor who JUST switched her hours to early mornings which was just plain luck on my part lol
Yes, life in a small town. I came from one of those. For the longest time I had no idea firefighters were actually paid in some cities.
If you are born and raised in a tiny town you think nothing of it at the time. It’s not until you move away to a much larger town that you realize how different it really was.
It goes both ways. There are so many things that I just assumed would be the same and realized that it’s only like that in a big city. I was shocked when to find out that I couldn’t get a single restaurant to deliver to my apartment!
As someone who grew up in a small town in upstate New York, I found this to be quite amusing and interesting!
So where do you guys live? I see a reference to the Catskills in your tags.
I am living in the Catskills area right now. I am glad you enjoyed the read and was able to see things through your perspective.
Ahh I’m excited to have a new post to read but kinda shocked I’m like, a month late. Sorry this is going to be a long comment but first, why did you move?! I am obsessed with NYC and live in the suburbs, but I wouldn’t be able to live in a small town so I’m curious to see what you have to say now.
Okay yeah I 100% agree with you on the firefighters and medical things. Basically all emergency services — I have seen too many horror movies to want to live too far from police, haha.
Limited business hours drives me nuts. I’m hilariously thankful for places like 711 and CVS that are open 24/7 just in case I need anything, and thankfully there are a lot of places open pretty late around me. Small towns just always make me feel strangely claustrophobic because I feel like I run out of options really fast. I am dying to hear why you moved, and some pros to living in a small town. I bet one of them is seeing a lot of the same faces around and getting to know people faster!
Jonathan and I were talking about wanting to move for awhile. We were both tired of NY and the prices and wanted to be closer to nature. I wound up getting a job at the library up here so we couldn’t think of many reasons not to go. We miss out friends and family a lot and probably won’t be staying here for very long but it’s we’re glad that we tried it.
Ahhh that is so freaking cool!! I can’t wait to see more blog posts of yours about life. I’m gonna go to your page again when I’m home today. 🙂 I’m sure it’s a great experience together!
Hahaha I’ve always lived in a small town. The town I grew up in had a little over 4,000 residents. I currently live in a “bigger” town, but I still walk down the streets and see the same people everyday. I know nearly every person in most of the bars in town, which makes for drinking much cheaper on my end haha
I stick out like a sore thumb when walking around town simply because no one knows me. Whenever my fiance and I go anyway, people just automatically assume that we’re visiting. Even the local ice cream shop that we’ve gone to several times was shocked to see us on a random weekday cause they thought we were weekenders.