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City Gal

So, the other day, sister-in-law got this t-shirt  for my daughter:

city gal

My kid absolutely loves big cities and hustle and bustle that comes with them. It made me smile because I am the original city girl. Well, I should probably say “city gal” due to my age. I grew up in a major Belarus metropolis with half a million residents back in the day. Actually, even that felt too small, which is why I set out for Minsk, the capital of the country. After all, large cities is where all the interesting people are. Or so I thought.

There was this cafe in the center of Minsk that was cheap enough even for a broke  university student. Sometimes  I would have my coffee and just look out of the window for an hour or so. If you stayed there long enough, most of Minsk’s 2 million residents would eventually pass you by. Riding a subway each day felt second nature. Once a guy gave me his card and said he was a movie director and wanted me to come to auditions. Pfft, I have my sights set on Hollywood! I felt like I belonged in this chaotic mess of people, and could get lost in the crowd and do my own thing.

But there was this guy back in America… We wrote each other every day. Real letters, there was no email back then. He must have really liked me because I can’t get him to fill out anything by hand these days. Every day after classes I went by a post office to see if I got anything. Sometimes there were five letters waiting for me, but then a week would go by and nothing would show up.

Eventually, I flew to US to see about a boy. Didn’t earn any miles because I had no idea about the Hobby back then. It was supposed to be just a  visit, but here I am many years later. While I was in Florida, we saw some news indicating escalating tensions  between USA and Belarus. In fact, at one point, the government cut off power to American embassy. So, it was decided (by me) that we would get married and I would stay in Florida. Needless to say, the boy (and we were oh so young!) wasn’t too upset. I think he was concerned that if I went back, I would become a huge Belarus movie star and would forget all about him.

There was, however, one problem. He lived in a small town in a middle of nowhere. County population: 10,000 people, and it hasn’t grown much in the last 17 years. A mall? We don’t got one, well, unless you count Walmart shopping plaza. One time I saw a guy ride his horse in the bank’s drive-thru area. Hmm, ride-thru? Once my husband accidentally hit a wild pig with his car. Someone stopped and asked if he needed help and if he was going to keep the pig. Umm, no. So, the man (of redneck-ish appearance) loaded it into his truck and took it home to make some bacon.

So, naturally, I was thinking we would move to a real city at some point. Something like New York or San Francisco. But eventually it became clear that my husband was not a city dude and he had no desire to leave. Ever. Besides, his family was in this small town, and everything felt so familiar.

Years later, we are still here and surprising thing  happened. This place became home, and now I don’t really want to move to a big city. We have a simple life here, very little traffic and people actually care. I know it will sound like a cliche, but when someone asks you how you are doing, they really want to know. There is no hiding in the crowd anymore, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Plus, in just few hours we can be at the world’s most beautiful beaches, no airfare required.

The cost of living is fairly low, so even with one white-collar job in the family, it’s possible to pay the bills and have a little leftover. I’m so happy I was able to be a SAHM for the past 8 years. I realize it’s not for everyone and some women simply have no choice. So, this isn’t a “mommy” type statement. What I appreciate the most, though, is that my kids are near their grandparents. And when I say near, I mean it. We live across the street from my in-laws, but that’s a story for another post.

The thing that really helped me through the years when I felt like I would suffocate from boredom was travel. In this day and age, you can hop on a plane and be a  “city gal” or dude for a weekend. In fact, in 6 months my husband and I are going to Chicago for just two nights to celebrate a wedding anniversary. Flights are short, there are no connections, so why not?

Thanks to miles and points, the out-of-pocket cost is minimal. So, if you live in a middle of nowhere and have little money for travel, this hobby can provide a solution. You can have your city cake and eat it too. And if you happen to hit a pig on your way back from the airport, just load it up, go home and make some bacon to go with it!

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

8 thoughts on “City Gal

  1. I had to laugh about your husband hitting a pig. Our little town of 10k recently made the news when a pig showed up at our primary to vote! And, half the town was in mourning two week’s ago when the wild turkey that lives in front of the high school got hit by a car. However, I adore living in a small town. We avoid big cities when we travel too! But, I will agree that sometimes life does get boring and it’s miles/points to the rescue!

    • Michelle, that’s hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing. I can totally see something like this happening in our town. I too prefer small city living now. Less craziness and more nature.

    • @Uri Glad you could relate! It does require some adjustment to go from living among 2million to 10,000 individuals. What I eventually realized is that people are the same everywhere. And not all interesting folks are in big cities. I sure have met some characters over here!

  2. What a fun post to read! I always like when you mix other comments with your travel posts. I do love cities and never lived in a small town, not sure how I’d feel about it. I come from a 1.7 million (in a very tight area) South American city and ended up livig in Minneapolis, a city of 400K which feels just good for me, especially when I can cross the river and have another city of 400K or so if I want some variety. As I’m writing I’m visiting my home city thanks to miles and points. Thanks for all your valuable advice Leana!

    • @Leticia Thank you so much for commenting all the way from South America! How neat. I would love to visit that area one of these days. Yeah, 1.7 million people is a lot. I’ve heard good things about Minneapolis. In fact, one magazine called it a large city with small town feel. So, you have the best of both worlds. Enjoy visit with your family and quit reading my blog till you get back to US! 🙂

  3. Fellow City Gal here! Like you, I was born and raised abroad, in a city of 10 million people. I love big cities, and what seems like endless choices for dining, entertainment, cultural venues, etc.
    That being said, our family road trips throughout the US have taken us to big cities, small cities, mountains, and quaint small towns. I have come to love and appreciate them all, and now I am as happy spending a day hiking in a mountain in the middle of nowhere as I am exploring the sights in a bustling city. There is so much beauty to be discovered wherever you go!

    • @TropicGal Hey, that makes you a TropicCityGal! I love USA road trips too, well, as long as I don’t have to drive. So much to see! America is extremely underrated as a destination in this hobby. I’m hoping to finally see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone in a few years with my kids.

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