People people

16 Apr

I have long thought that I am a city girl. I have lived in the country, and felt starved of human contact. Just family wasn’t enough for me. (Mind you, I was a teenager.) I thrived in the city in so many ways. I love being able to go to a dance class or a yoga class or a playgroup or a huge library or the cinema or a cafe or a mothers group… you get the idea. There is so much going on; so many people around. I like that there is the potential to make so many friends when you’re in the city.

But I’ve realised recently, that I’m not really a city person, I’m a people person. There’s quite a difference. I like having someone around all the time. I don’t even have to be talking with them, although that’s nice too. I like doing things with people – working on an actual task. Things are always more fun when they are shared.

When I have previously contemplated moving to the country – which appeals to me in many ways – the anticipated loneliness has put me off. I simply could not live miles away from other humans, with maybe a few farmer neighbours who I don’t have anything to do with. But the thought of living in a village, now that has real appeal.

I hanker for a real community, a real village feeling. I grew up without much family around, and the 1.5yrs I spent in England surrounded by relatives, was such a strongly emotive experience that I still yearn for it. I like being involved with people on a real level, not just casually. I try to create a community around me: coffee group, neighbourhood support group, mothers network, heck, I even go to the local park hoping some other mother with a baby will be there. (There never is.) But in all my attempts to meet people and create support networks, I feel like I’m always the one pushing for it, and I wish I could find more people who are on the same page as me.

Traffic in Auckland. Who'd want to be there?

In Auckland, no one was interested. It is just not a community place. It was scarily insular, money driven, and difficult to be social if you didn’t have a lot of money to go to fancy restaurants or party. It’s better in Wellington. People are pretty friendly here in general, and I have lots of friends. But I don’t have anyone local who I can just pop round to visit for a cup of tea. No one to whom I can say ‘want to go for a walk’ or ‘need a hand?’ or ‘fancy baking some bread?’ or ‘my child is driving me mad today, want to come round so our children can play together while we drink tea?’.

Not to mention that I want as many caring people around the baby as possible. He thrives with lots of contact, just like his mama. I don’t want to have such a majority influence on him; spending much of our days just the two of us. I want him to be exposed to other people’s ideas, other people’s games and work and language and food and laughter and sorrow. Not just mine. Or mine and his father’s. I want him to grow up with the family I didn’t have; even if they’re not related.

Lambton Quay, Wellington

I don’t like the segregated feeling that comes from living in the city; where all the activity happens away from where people live. You don’t notice it so much when you’re working, but when you’re at home, community becomes a necessity for sanity! Sometimes I feel like I could fly above the city, and it just seems so strange. All these little cars zipping around, people doing their jobs and pruning their roses and mowing their lawns and shopping and shopping and shopping. Earning money and spending money and filling in time in between the two.

This is painting a depressing sort of picture of the city that I love, and as far as cities go, Wellington is a great one. But the fact remains that I am becoming more and more disillusioned of the value of city life. If I am simply a people person, rather than a city person, then I have to look at other options.

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