So often since we moved here to our small town, people who knew us before ask "How could you leave the city? How can you stand it there without good shopping, good schools, good anything?!"
Well, yes, there are plenty of times I miss Target when we need a quick birthday gift for a last-minute party, or the choices available in a nice big Safeway. But I find we spend a lot less money on impulse purchases of stuff we don't need in those stores, too. Where we are, there's not four places to browse. There's one and if you're lucky they've got the thing. If you're not lucky you make do, do without, or try to find someone else who's got one you can borrow.
Good schools? Well, I work there and feel they do a pretty good job. With having to meet the needs of all the kids, low to high, it's hard for the teacher to serve everyone. I get frustrated with our parents who never check homework, never read with their kids or take them to the library, never come to conferences, never do much of anything except complain about how bad a job they think we're doing. I worked at schools in the city where things weren't any different. Small-town schools aren't necessarily lower in quality.
And we have lots of good "everything". At lunch we looked out the front window over the bog and got to see a red-tailed hawk hunting for his own lunch. For at least 15 minutes he dipped and swooped in the sun, giving us quite a show. Then we went outside in 65-degree weather, a real corker of an afternoon, and watched Pony Girl ride Honey in the big pasture. Now from my chair here I can see a bunch of ducks on the water hole and a heron wading at the edge looking for a fish. It's just quiet enough for me to hear the ocean roar every now and then.
At our old place I'd be looking out over four lanes of traffic, where it wasn't safe for the kids to play in the front yard. Loads of fast-food trash blowing down the street. And for sure at least three sirens would have screamed by our house during the course of the afternoon.
Would we give up what we've got to go back to that? Nope. Not even for Target.
3 days ago