It’s funny the changes that happen when you make a move from the city to a small town.
Some, you immediately expect – less shops, less restaurants, less traffic. Depending on your previous like or dislike of these things, these changes can be minimal (or big).
Then there’s the school routine. Whereas it used to be a 10-15 minute walk to school in the morning for the kids, now it’s a 10-15 minute walk just to where the school bus picks them up, and another 25-30 minute drive to school (although that timeline does involve picking up other kids on the . way).
So, as a family who relied on convenience a lot (fast food, restaurants, buying stuff online), some of these changes have been fun to get used to.
One of the bigger changes that’s taking a little more time to get used to is that of the local way of life, and doing things.
City Dwelling to Small Town Living
In the city – pretty much any city, but some “rules” will obviously be different, depending on where you are – there’s a set way of doing things.
- Property lines are clearly defined (usually by fencing)
- Bus schedules are – for the most part – standard
- There are sidewalks
- Dogs are leashed, except for leash-free zones
While many of the bigger rules are part of both city and small town living, it’s been interesting to observe how they’re just a little bit more relaxed where we are now.
Fun with property lines
For example, the properties up here don’t really have fences as such – instead, property lines are defined by tree lines.
This is great when it comes to having more space for the kids and dogs to run about it, but can be interesting when, all of a sudden, your neighbour’s two big dogs come bounding into your yard!
So far, no major incidents, and the dogs seem friendly enough – but given we have three small dogs as well as the two kids, and our two boy dogs aren’t too good at getting along with other dogs, this may become a problem in the warmer weather.
The school bus and leaving when it wants
One of the bigger changes, for the kids at least, has been the move from walking to and from school every day to getting the school bus.
This is non-negotiable (and actually really good for the kids), as there’s no real drop-off area for parents to bring their kids to school. So every kid gets the bus.
When Ewan and Salem first started their new school, we were given a schedule of which bus number they’d be on, the times for morning pick-ups and afternoon drop-offs, and where that location would be.
Side note: the first afternoon, the driver dropped them off at the wrong stop, about a kilometre or so before us, in the winter, in a strange new town. All ended well, but that was not a fun introduction to the bus!
In the morning, the bus is meant to pick them up at the end of our street at 8.14am. Except that’s never the time – it’s usually 8.10am, though it can be even earlier.
This morning it pulled up at 8.04am, while we were still more than halfway down the street from it. I looked at my watch, and just told the kids to walk as normal, it was way early and they didn’t need to run to catch it.
Maybe I’ll see if the bus driver has a watch… 🙂
Leashes, sidewalks, and other fun stuff
One of the cool things – and maybe this happens elsewhere, but it’s a first for me – is the lack of sidewalks here, apart from the main town centre.
Instead, it’s just roads to your house/driveway. This means, much like the countryside walks I used to go on back in Scotland, you’re walking on the side of the road to get anywhere.
In the winter, that can be… fun, to say the least, as snow banks and drifts soon get pretty high. However, there’s a solution for this.
Each person on the street, when going out to use their snow blowers, makes a path in front of their house and up to yours. You repeat this to the next house, and voila – you have an interconnected snow path to walk on!
Dog rules are a lot more lax here too, it would seem. While there are definitely folks that have their dogs on a leash, there are also a few that are happy to let their dogs roam about.
So far, there hasn’t been any problems (though I did proverbially crap myself when I was walking one of our little dogs one night, and turned around to see two big dogs trotting behind me).
Dogs seem well-trained and behaved, and friendly enough – they’re more curious about the new arrivals than anything. Again, we’ll see how that goes.
It’s Different, But It’s Welcome
Last week saw us pass the two month mark of having moved here. We’re still finding our feet in many ways, but in others it’s almost like we’ve lived here much longer.
People are so friendly and welcoming; the local shops have amazing products, foods, etc.; the peace is serene; and watching/listening to the various wildlife is so life-affirming. And seeing the smiles of pure joy on our kids’ faces is all the validation we need.
Before we moved, some people would say, You’re from the city, you’ll never be accepted, or, It’s not the way of life you’re used to.
The first one might be true, but we haven’t experienced any of that yet – far from it. The second statement is obvious – of course it’s not the way of life we’ve been used to. But then that’s the whole point of making the move!
We’d been used to noise, hectic living, and convenience. This made us lazy and unappreciative, no matter how much we tried to ensure we appreciated the things we had.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem – for any of us – any time soon, if at all…
Until the next time, live life fully and with intent.