I’m a country girl.
I grew up between city and country. But while that made me pretty flexible and comfortable in either context, I much prefer the countryside.
For the past 12 years I have only lived in European capitals and other big cities, such as Brighton. Now I live in Auckland.
However, city-living is only bearable to me if I can maintain my country roots.
By that I mean, be able to drift away to the countryside as often and as easily as possible.
In Portugal, I would leave Lisbon every single weekend just to spend a couple of days in the country. Vienna was perfect in that it had all that you’d expect from a cosmopolitan capital but the countryside was a small tram-ride away. Brussels was not too far from the countryside either and Brighton is surrounded by the beautiful Sussex countryside. Even a bike-ride to the Sussex Uni Falmer campus made me feel like I was in the country!
In New Zealand, strangely enough, I have been having trouble getting my countryside fix. It’s a bit of an irony because much of New Zealand is rural. But Auckland, I’m sad to realize, has been made into a horribly cut-off city.
You have to work very hard to see the natural beauty that surrounds Auckland CBD. Commuting here is a nightmare and really takes a toll. I try not to think too much of the time of my life wasted in motorway commuting (even though we’re on motorbike!).
I am glad my home is not only away from the road but all its living quarters turned to the garden, thus giving me a certain country-feeling. Growing a veggie garden has been helpful, as well as going for walks in the many regional parks on the weekend. But still I miss the countryside…