Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Our Transition from City Life to Suburban Life​

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So what’s life like once the Halperns settle in? During their very first summer in the ‘burbs, they discovered plenty of perks (no sweaty subway rides…), plenty of great neighbors, and plenty of reasons to fire up the grill! See how Robin Halpern and her family transitioned from urban to suburban, and why it’s always great to have a few friends at the bus stop…

Summers in the city could be characterized by sweaty, smelly subway rides, sweltering walks from said subway, sprinklers spraying wildly in every playground, and singing ice cream trucks on every corner. But now, in the middle of our first summer in the ‘burbs, it was an entirely different world. The transition from city dweller to neighborhood family was a serious undertaking and we learned a lot along the way. For starters…

You’re taking a car EVERYWHERE you go

In the city everything you could ever need seemed to be within a two-block radius. Not so in the ‘burbs. Those same two blocks get you just as far as the neighbor’s driveway! So our new best friend became our car. At first, this seemed like a schlep. But after I learned the hard way how to back out of a long driveway without hitting a tree (ever play bumper cars?), I started to realize the value in driving everywhere. Grocery shopping was no longer limited to what I could carry the three blocks home. Trunk space is gold!

Nice neighbors are nice to have!

Those first few suburban weeks are quiet. After running around in the backyard for a while, our kids were looking for, well, other kids. You can’t avoid them in the city, but they’re harder to locate when everyone has their own fun-filled backyard. Once we zeroed in on a young family down the block (i.e. my husband accosted them in their front yard), they graciously invited us to a BBQ/pool party at their house and, from there, we quickly got to know the other families in the neighborhood. The best part? On the first day of school the bus stop was a lot less awkward because we already had a handle on who’s who and what’s what.

You are less anonymous

It’s easy to get lost in a big city. Sometimes that’s a great thing, but sometimes it can make you feel a little lost. Living in a smaller town where everyone knows each other makes you want to get out there. You want to be in the loop and know where the cool spots are for dinner, kids’ classes, or shopping. So you give up some of that anonymity in favor of knowing the shortcuts, like where to go when your nail salon is closed. I even joined a Facebook group of 3,500 other local “moms” who are (usually) happy to answer just about any question newbies might have.

Closet Space! BBQ!

Two things we didn’t need to “adjust” to at all: the extra space and the BBQ! Once everything had its own space and I still had room to spare, I could breathe so much easier. Then my husband started grilling up a storm now that BBQs weren’t building no-nos. And the two are definitely connected: if I keep eating those delicious grilled steaks and veggies I will definitely need a new wardrobe! 

Our move brought plenty of changes, but the adjustment wasn’t too painful. It actually brought more pluses than minuses now that all’s said and done. The best perk so far? Replacing family walks to our favorite bakery or park with family bike rides and picnics! I even got a pink “mom bike” with a bell and a basket. I am officially suburbanized!

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