I’ve lived in NYC all of my adult life and I never wanted to live anywhere else. NYC is home. It can be a tough place to navigate, expensive for sure, but I love most things about it. I love the crowds, the high-rise buildings, the subways. I love the fact that the subways are crowded at 2 am. I love the constant energy, no matter how cliche. So when we vacationed in Montana this month, I was very much a fish out of water. A fish out of water wondering where the hell the nearest Starbucks was and why there was a bison walking alone over there.
But not my son. What surprised me was how much my 11-year-old son took to the calmer way of life.
Don’t get me wrong: Montana is beautiful. It has stunning mountains, a sky that goes on forever (with real stars!) a river that made me think I’d see Brad Pitt fly fishing any moment and a scent of pine that reminded me of a pre-urban life. It’s just that I couldn’t quite find my pace in Montana. Maybe I’m just wired differently, but when my husband took the rental car for the day, I was stunned to find out that there were no taxis. I’d have to walk or stay put. Walk? Stay put? What happened to walking out my front door and being able to jump on the subway, that for $2.50 would whisk me anywhere I wanted to go in NYC?
Not in Montana. So I walked. My son and I walked to the nearest center that had a restaurant, about a mile away. “We probably won’t see a bear,” we reassured each other along the way. And we didn’t, but we also didn’t see many people. Eight, to be exact. I know of no place in NYC where you can see so few people at any given moment.
I missed New York City, I missed it a lot.
“Do you miss it too?” I asked my son.
He didn’t, he said. He missed his friends and his XBox, of course, but he liked Montana. He liked white water rafting and he loved fly fishing. Fly fishing? I asked. But nothing happens in fly fishing.
“Maybe,” he conceded, “but it’s really fun.”
And it was fun for me to watch him, casting, waiting, pulling. He got more tugs than I did and he accidentally landed the fly on his own cheek, but he was absorbed, he appreciated the process more. And watching him, I saw the city kid who spent his summer playing baseball morph into someone who lived with the serenity of wading in the river, facing the mountains, trying to hook a trout.
Maybe there’s something to this country living.
For more of Marinka, visit her personal blog Motherhood in NYC and The Mouthy Housewives, where she doles out advice as though it were candy. Mmm … candy. Also, follow her on Twitter, where she never refers to herself in the third person, but does have a potty mouth. Sorry!
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