Why We Love Living In Cities. Especially Asians

City life. Some of us love a lot of the things that come along with being in the city.

I’m one of those city-loving folk in Melbourne. Whenever I have a free day, I usually head down to the city and see what’s going on there.

Silhouettes of Melbourne as the sun goes down. Princes Bridge | Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

Silhouettes of Melbourne as the sun goes down. Princes Bridge | Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

We love living in cities because everything is literally at the tip of our fingers here. Shops and restaurants are just around the corner in Melbourne: Nike shoes to Nintendo games, Hong Kong yum cha to Spanish paella. Convenient, and variety is never dull.

We love cities because it’s easy to get around, and we feel like we’re going places. At least in Melbourne: Hop on the tram or train to get to the other end of the city. If not, walking is always an option and it’s good exercise.

If we look hard enough, we’ll find hidden museums behind the doors of heritage buildings. There’s every chance we’ll stumble upon a bit of old architecture nestled in between larger than life skyscrapers – Melbourne’s Chinatown squeezed right in between two mega-mall streets. How can we not love cities for the capsules of time and culture that they often are.

Maybe why I love cities has something to do with being Asian. Growing up in Malaysia, my parents and I lived the average middle-class Malaysian life in a suburban townhouse: putting up with water rationing in the hot months of the year; everything from shops to parks was a half hour drive away. Lifestyle and geographic hassles aside, rent was cheap. Maybe the “modern, white and clean” city life is a comfortable step up from the places that we’re from, for some Asians.

With cities come shopping malls, the temptation to spend. Sometimes having the latest things in fashion, or a swanky apartment down town, adds to the “face-thing” for Asians, all the more reason to live in the city. There’s also not forgetting many Asians are competitive, so perhaps the city hustle and bustle suits their lifestyles. What I see in Melbourne always inspires me to write and be a better writer.

Walking down the city streets of Melbourne on a recent Saturday afternoon, strangers brushed against my shoulder – the city was packed with people. Out of the corner of my eye, I sensed someone looking at me. Turning to my right, a hippie-homeless-looking, long white-haired old man who was an arm’s length away grinned at me. Clutching my sling bag a little tighter, I looked away and kept walking with the crowd.

The pedestrian traffic light flashed red ahead. I slowed to a stop and so did the rest around me. The hippie-looking man – probably high on something – was still lingering around, turning his head left and right – and smiling at everyone straight in the eyes. And they smiled back. Or turned away in amusement. Then he caught me looking at him and grinned again.

This time I didn’t reach for my bag. I smiled back. Maybe he means well. It’s ironic since I was brought up in high-crime-rate Malaysia not to look at strangers for fear of getting their unwanted attention, let alone smile at them.

When we’re in the city so often and surrounded by so many strangers, we learn to trust and not judge: we let the homeless be on the streets, though we might step slightly away from them. We let walking drunks stumbling out of clubs be and though they might scare us when they lurch towards us, we walk on in the city.

The city. A place where we can feel ever so part of a crowd, and a place where we can feel so alone when we’re part of a crowd. Being part of the nightlife and queuing up for sales with people we’ve never met in the city, we feel part of something bigger. But when we stop and look at those around us, we feel small, think about where we’re from and….think about them. Maybe the hippie-looking man just wanted to make someone happy.

Sure, Melbourne comes with pollution. Traffic. Noise. Stress. Things most of us don’t like about cities. But the peculiar people here are enough for me to put up with this city. We love cities because we live in this “glorious madness…(of an) invigorating community”. A community where we learn to see the worst in others – and the best in others too.

A community where we feel alive. Especially when we least expect it.

Do you like living and/or being in the city?

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132 thoughts on “Why We Love Living In Cities. Especially Asians

  1. I grew up on a farm in the middle of the prairies in Canada. Some long to live in the same environment they were born to. I love the opposite and adore being in the city. The convenience, the opportunities for cultural events, and entertainment, the diversity of population and of course close proximity to an airport for travel. 🙂

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  2. I grew up in 5th biggest city in my country, my husband is from HK, now we live in a small town in America and I literally hate it. everything looks the same, no shopping centers, everything is far and inconvenient… the only good thing is we live quite close to the bay and the ocean so at least we have views, but I hate it hate it HATE it >____<

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    • Uch, small town America is the worst. My condolences. Let me guess, once you do go far there’s still basically nothing but Wal-Mart and McDonalds… 😦

      That is cool you live next to the ocean. My personal requirement is to always live in a big city near the water.

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        • Graveyard 😦 I hope you’re not too bothered by that. Costco? I bet there are a great variety of groceries to buy there…but you have to buy in bulk which I’m not a huge fan of. Too many things taking up space at home and hard to try something new. I hope you get to move to a better place at some point.

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    • I am so sorry to hear that you don’t like the town where you live 😦 I used to live far away from the city and wasn’t a huge fan either. Being far away from everything is hard – going out feels like a lot of effort especially when you’re tired. If you live close to the ocean, wouldn’t that mean you get sea breezes? They can make you feel cold in the winter, but they can be refreshing in the summer.

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    • That is so true. The more rural land there is, the cheaper it becomes. And so as you said, the wealthy will buy up this land and build estates, houses, apartments, a town, maybe even a city eventually…

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  3. I love big cities! Especially in Asia, where megacities tend to out-New York New York…

    In America, suburbs always meant boring middle-class lifestyle with no culture and only shopping malls. When you have a family you were just expected to move to the suburbs and commute to the city. In recent years there has been a sort of reverse exodus of people moving back to downtown centers, and I totally get it.

    One thing similar about America and China (although not sure I can speak for all of the West and Asia) is that there is a great disparity between small towns and cities. The countryside is uneducated, conservative, religious and so on. The city may be far more expensive, but well worth it for the better lifestyle. It can get stressful at times but nowhere is perfect.

    I have noticed that in Europe, Australia, and Canada there are many ‘hip’ sophisticated communities in small towns. It just usually doesn’t seem to work that way in America.

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    • It seems natural for families to live in the suburbs as rent is much cheaper there, and there is usually more land/room for houses here. But you are right: capital cities are getting more and more congested each year – at least in Australia – with singles and families which I think is due to everyone being more well-off, educated and affluent these days.

      The hip communities in Australian towns tend to be within kilometres of the cities. Most Australians still live well outside of the city areas…which would explain why outbound roads and public transport during peak hours is always a nightmare.

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  4. I read somewhere that there will soon be more people living in cities than in rural areas, for the first time in human history. I have a love/hate relationship with the city and I need to escape from it sometimes. Melbourne is a wonderful city, and I noticed it’s just been voted the world’s friendliest. 😉

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  5. I think I like the city lifestyle more than the more regional areas. I’ve lived in regional areas before, and frankly being an asian myself, I find it hard to enjoy asian foods and treats (eg Taro Milk Tea!!!!). Also, trying to fit in was a lot harder in a regional community.

    And I like busy and bustling! More interesting things are around that we can learn heaps from.

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    • Haha, yeah only in the cities will you be able find Asian snacks and treats – unless you’re living in Asia, in which case you will probably find them anywhere!

      What do you mean by “fitting in”? As in making/finding friends? I would think that people in rural places would be more neighborly and friendly than folks in the city.

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      • What I meant by fitting in has several meanings: to blend in with the crowd so that I’m not noticed by others when I don’t want to be (being asian really stands out when everyone else around you is caucasian), and also in others being open to talk to you/form a friendship (perceived less things in common).

        On another note, you look uncanningly like someone I’ve seen around in my medical school.

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        • Ah, yes, Western Asians tend not to be the kind of folk who live out in rural areas. Their ancestors probably came from the countryside, so the city life is far more desirable. Haha.

          Wish I was that guy. But I’m not nearly dedicated enough to go through medical school. My friend’s done that for five years and he’s still not done. 😛

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    • That is so true. Sometimes the further away you go from the city, the less (culturally) diverse the towns are. It’s probably due to the high cost of transporting Asian foods and drinks to the outer suburbs *sniff*

      There tends to be existing close-knit communities in many rural areas or outer suburbs. Some of them might be welcoming. But some others are not. For instance, Geelong is town a hour away from Melbourne’s CBD and majority of it’s residents are of Caucasian background. So if you aren’t in line with the”cultural fit” for a rural community, you might feel lonely living there.

      And if you ever get tired by all the hustling and bustling, there are always quiet spaces to retreat and relax. Like the library 🙂

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      • Well, it’s not necessarily the high transport costs, but rather that there aren’t that many asians to buy the asian foods, and also less skill base present to produce asian delicacies like milk tea.

        Yea, and at times, not culturally fitting in did make it feel a tad bit lonely. There were pubs, but I don’t drink.

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        • Not to mention less Asians living in some outer suburbs away from the city.

          I don’t drink too, and if I were to live in the suburbs pubs won’t be my choice of to-go places. Though here in Melbourne, some outer suburbs tend to be dominated with more Asians. For instance, in a western suburb called Point Cook (about a 40 minute train ride from the city) there are quite a lot of Indian and Indian restaurants there.

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  6. I personaly prefer living outside the city. Not the countryside but a bit away from all the noise. I grew up in a small town and there it was fine, later on I lived in a bigger city and didnt like it alot. In Finland we live now/still in a little area just 30min away from Helsinki city center and its very enjoyable here because it is so close to nature, we even have a lake just behind the building!
    Cities are for me not needed, even if it makes life much more convinient. I dont really care if I can buy the newest things out there just by going along few streets or shopping malls but this might be due to internet making it so easy just to buy everything online these days 🙂

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    • Interesting to hear you prefer living away from the city, Crazy. Somehow I always had that impression, seeing you like to spend time outdoors when you are free. Sounds like you are more in touch with nature and the finer things in life.

      I do think it’s good to grow up part of our lives away from the city – there’s a certain rigidness that comes with being in the city: timed traffic lights, fixed white collar working hours etc.. Whereas in smaller towns, usually “anything goes”. You could even run in the middle of the road and not get hit by a car 🙂

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  7. So funny… I prefer being away from the city, more suburban and rural area. Nature amazes me and I grew up in city (suburban) where everything was so close including the neighbors -.- I hated it there. I hate the traffic, the crowd, the noise… It gets me dizzy, my head starts to hurt and I feel like I can’t breathe. right now someone is drilling something and before someone’s car alarm was on. Terrible.

    When I found myself in a meadow, in a park, surrounded by threes, by the lake, near the water, with not many people around (preferably almost none) I feel an instant relief. 🙂 ❤

    The city is in my opinion good for two things – it convenient to buy stuff and stuff happen here. Oh, and the third – you have something to get away from 😀

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    • Oh dear, you aren’t a huge fan of living in cities! But perfectly understood since sometimes city life just doesn’t suit some of our lifestyles. Living very close to neighbours can be very annoying. I have this neighbour above my apartment who always likes to move furniture every day – I don’t know why – and it’s very noisy. I hope that drilling has stopped by now and your face is like this XD

      I think a lot of us are attracted to nature because it’s beautiful…and simple. Which I totally agree with and love spending some days away from the city. Very refreshing 🙂

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      • Tell me about it… Ok now I live in a flat with good isolation and I don’t mind hearing the neighbors, but there… You really couldn’t fart without anyone asks what did you have for lunch -.-

        I am in the suburban area which suits me, it has enough nature but everything is still close, I have a mall 5 minutes walking from me. But yet I run away as soon as I can. 😀 Right now i’m at my bf house, in the rural area. It is still noisy (animals and cars) but not as nearly as in the city and I enjoy in the view and at night you can see a lot of starts ❤

        Maybe my hate towards city life has developed because I had to be in the city every f*cking day for years… High school, work, college… Every day. I would sometimes take the route home-city-home few times a day… It exhausted me. You know when i love the city? Where there is literary no people around 😀

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        • Quite a few comments get lost in my spam folder each week, so I need to check that folder quite often 😀

          Hahaha. It would be interesting to live in a flat where you can hear your flatmates or even your neighbours farting. It would be very noisy I would imagine 😀 Oh yes. The further away you are from the city the less light pollution there is in the sky and you can see stars. Something that the city doesn’t usually offer.

          You know what? I like the city too when no one’s around. Like on a public holiday, the city is quite quiet. I am such a city lover, we are total opposites 🙂

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          • Yeah, we are opposites but yet we both love city when it’s empty 😀 😉

            Oh, you can imagine… It was figuratively AND literary because I could hear my neighbor cough and he could hear me sing -.-
            But in figurative way, I meant that everyone stuck their noses in your business, everyone was so noisy always wanting to know what everyone is doing. There were exceptions and we hung out with them 🙂

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            • Oh yes. We are opposites but we sure have our similarities, Iva. That is funny 😉 I am sure your neighbour doesn’t mind hearing you sing as you sing beautifully. I am not a fan of nosy people, people asking me what I’m doing or where I am all the time. I don’t know if people in the country are like that, but I have met city people who like to know everything about each other’s lives. It can be annoying but oh well 🙂

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              • Definitely 🙂 I love reading how you live, because it is on the other part of the world, yet still feels connected, if you know what I mean? 🙂
                Hahaha, thank you, even though you don’t know how I sing XD Well, they better like it, because I also sing here and lets just say that the thick walls are not sometimes enough lol.

                I think there are noisy people everywhere, it’s just how you deal with them. Rural area is not good for privacy, as people really know each other, but the place I was living was suburban/urban and super noisy. Now I live in a building in suburban/urban area and it’s really ok. No noisy people and I have the feeling of community and know most of the people around me.

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                • Haha, glad you like my stories and my life because more of that should be coming in the near future 😉 You are right. People do know one another in quiet towns are there are only so many people. You might not know too many people in the city, but chances are there might be more people watching you when you least expect it 😀

                  That is good you are happy living your area 😀 Happy home equals happy Iva. I like that!

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                  • Hehehe I love the last sentence and couldn’t agree more… 😀 I am living with my parents and sister since having a place for your own is practically impossible here, you can only rent it and that is if you have a good job. So, I enjoy staying over my bf house since he has more room for himself in his family home. 🙂

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                    • Renting a place in the city here in Melbourne is not cheap too. Like in your town, you need a job that pays a bit above average to afford to pay the rent and live comfortably in general. This is usually puts off quite a lot of Melburnians from living in the city. For you, you live in a town and stay with you boyfriend when you can…a great world you live in 😀

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                    • It does sound great, right? 🙂
                      Everything has it’s benefits… And flaws 🙂

                      Nevertheless, we, young people, are going to conquer the world!!! Hehehehe

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                    • There are so many people in Scandinavia who don’t understand why so many fully-grown Australians (and Italians) still live with their parents =) I have to explain to them that it’s expensive… but I also think it’s the easier way out. There are also many who live poor individual lives alone! It does make shacking up with someone much more appealing (because it’s cheaper!) =)

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                    • There are a lot of people who think that is weird, including us here. But, renting in USA (I heard) is very cheap, compared to standard and wages…. As for renting here…today I read about apartment being rented for 300 euros plus living costs for an apartment with 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom!!!! That is one decent salary just for rent and living, what about food??? What about everything else??

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                    • And Scandinavia is considered wealthy in Europe… But that’s why their houses are lie from paper, have you seen them? The walls can be destroyed if you smash into them really hard. Here, if you smash a wall, you end up in a hospital. And wall is intact… 🙂 That is good for growing cities, low cost of building and renting them, but bad against extreme weather…

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                    • You are right, Tanny. Renting and buying a house is expensive in Australia, along with public transport and food. Especially so in the city where everything is literally at your doorstep. No wonder there are so many share houses in the outer suburbs in Melbourne and people shunning living in the city. Not uncommon to find five different people sharing a four-room house 10km from the city.

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  8. Oh wow…amazing! I dont even ever anything else to add, when something came in to my mind, you wrote in the next sentence, you think exactly what I also do. Even though sometimes I appreciate being in a calm place in the middle of nowhere, I can’t imagine not living in the city, I love it… for all the the reasons you mentioned. It makes me fee alive, and part of this world. Walking around the city just makes me see life happening, and I like that! 😀

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  9. Hi Mabel, I have often thought about this city thing, but more in the context of big city versus small city. What constitutes a city? That there is everything there?

    Where I am living now only has 16,000 people but most people who live here are very content that they have everything they need that is essential plus that little bit more- and all within a 15 minutes’ drive. This is not the kind of city most people think of, though, when they think city. This city is isolated and it’s tiny in comparison. You can’t get yum cha which I miss dearly, but you can get access to stunning nature right outside your doorstep. It’s got the rotting part, and the violence part, but most of that is hidden to the normal eye.

    While most people would think tiny and town, here Nuuk is a Big City. Funny with comparisons, hey?

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    • It’s all relative, isn’t it? 🙂 I live in what’s regarded as a small Chinese city. But it has a population of over a million people. Haha.

      16,000 people sounds like a town to me. But I guess it all depends on what you’re used to. How big of a difference is that from where you grew up?

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    • That is a very good question: what constitutes a city? Now I wish I had made that clear in the post. When I wrote this post, I thought of cities as a place with tall skyscrapers, a place where people converge on to work in these buildings, larger than life shopping precincts. In other words, capital cities of states. There’s a general conception that place outside of capital cities that have shops, restaurants, parks and so on are towns, I reckon.

      But what you said is interesting, especially how you think of Nuuk as a “Big City”. I guess if you find a place that is crammed with a lots of things in the middle of no where, then it will seem big and exciting. Something different for your eyes.

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        • That is indeed hard to grasp. Maybe it’s because Nuuk has a small population of 16,000+ for a city. Or maybe over there the lifestyle is more laid-back, less hectic and so the city doesn’t seem like a city. Ten years ago, everything shut at 5pm in Melbourne city…today it’s a different story, with better transportation too.

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          • Today many shops are still closed on Sundays, most shops are still open until 1pm on Saturdays. Life is a different pace here but there is also the choice of different priorities in life. I mean that there are still people with hectic and stressed lives, and those who opt for a big career, but I think you can choose which lifestyle you prefer more easily.

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            • Melbourne used to be like Nuuk ten years ago where city shops were closed on Sundays. Sounds like a varied lifestyle there in Nuuk in that there’s more room for relaxation and yourself. And maybe people over there like their privacy and space too. As you mentioned, it could be because of the different pace of life.

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  10. I love the excitement of staying in the city, when I’m on holiday, but I’m much happier actually living my life in a quiet suburb, as long as I have access to shops and essential amenities. I find that too many people around me all of the time, is too much of a good thing. 🙂

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    • Thanks for sharing, Sylvia. Sometimes I too find the city crowds a bit too much, getting in my way of going down the street as fast as I want. And crowds do get noisy sometimes and if you’re tired, that can be annoying. Hope your quiet suburbs stays the way you like it 🙂

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  11. I vote for the city, but then, I grew up in a very small town, never imagining anything else. Once I left though, I still loved to visit but I didn’t want to move back. One thing that’s changed a lot since I left: farms are getting bigger and bigger, many are no longer are family farms, but owned by big companies.

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    • That makes two of us city-folk, Sandy 😀 But farms – and animals roaming around freely – are something the city will never have. You are right. Family farms are getting less and less, even in Australia – one reason is because we’re getting quite a bit of drought our way these few years.

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  12. I also am a big advocate of city life. But I’ve never lived in the countryside before, so perhaps my opinions would differ if I had the opportunity to experience living in a more rural environment.

    I think living in the city helps you feel more connected with the world when there’s so many people around you. But that can also mislead you, just like having tons of Facebook friends doesn’t mean you have lots of REAL friends.

    For me an important thing is having friends and family nearby. So living in the city, or at least in the suburbs, would be a priority for the simple reason of having a community. I guess that could also be created in the countryside, but you’d have a lot fewer people to choose from!

    Could you ever see yourself living in the countryside at some point in your life, Mabel?

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    • I like the Facebook analogy a lot. We can visually see more people around us in cities. But that doesn’t mean all of them will take a liking to us. Though I like to think if we had a fall or something in the city, someone will stop to ask if we’re okay or help us up. In that sense, I think we are connected.

      I haved lived in the eastern suburbs on Melbournes as a kid and it was a half hour drive anywhere. Didn’t tickle my fancy at all. The more things I see, the more likely I am to think of what’s happening around me. Then again, this might be the opposite for someone who loves living in the countryside.

      Wouldn’t rule out a writing session in the country. Care to join me someday? 🙂

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        • Exactly. A writing session – poetry, novel, non-fiction articles, anything really – far out there where there is only a dirt road and no electricity. I usually don’t write well in these places, never have. So it will be a good challenge 😉

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  13. Well written article about living in cities. “A place where we can feel ever so part of a crowd, and a place where we can feel so alone …” eloquently said about the city lives. So true that “A community where we learn to see the worst in others – and the best in others too.” Well done, Mabel.

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  14. You make a compelling case for city life, Mabel. When I was young and fresh out of school I couldn’t wait to leave my mid-sized town and move to the big city. I learned a lot and enjoyed my time but it also gave me a great perspective into what urban/suburban elements I like and dislike. Now that I’m in my 40’s with a family I find myself in another mid-sized town that is a quick little drive away from both a big city and beautiful mountains and ocean/islands. I feel like now I have the best of both worlds. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Lisa. I am glad you like my writing. Sounds like you do have the best of both worlds, and love how you have come to see the differences between living in cities and smaller towns. I guess in smaller towns, you need to be more resourceful and make the effort to go the places and meet friends, whereas in the city you have so much choice but you have so much noise to put up with too 🙂

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  15. I am torn. I grew up in the country. As kids we played in the barns, the corn fields and the woods. As a young career-oriented adult I lived in the city. There were many things I loved about the city. Great restaurants, nightlife, museums, etc. There was always something to do. But when it came to raising kids, I had to choose. Since the suburbs give you the worst of both worlds, the choice was clear: move back to the country. I am happy my kids get to enjoy those things I grew up with. Plus I don’t need to lock my cars in my own driveway and I don’t lock the house if I have to run to town for something. I still head to the city for a night on the town, though!

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    • Seems like you have lived all over the place, and you get travel between country and city when time permits these days. It certainly is very carefree in the country, isn’t it? Even when I lived in the quiet suburbs as a kid, my parents would never dream of leaving the house or car unlocked. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, or individual preference. Just remember to keep a watch out on your belongings when you’re next in the city. Thanks for stopping by and sticking around.

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  16. I just posed this question to my students: Do you prefer the city or the country? Most of them said, the country, and I think this is because ChiangRai is a small town. There is a peacefulness that you get used to, and when you are someplace like Bangkok or even ChiangMai, it feels overwhelming.

    It depends on the city, I say. Vancouver BC is an amazing city that I can see myself living in. And like most places, if you have money, anywhere can be comfortable 😛

    That being said, I have never lived in a large city. I’m not opposed to it, but I gravitate towards manageable, medium to small. Maybe because I don’t draw energy from crowds, but prefer to watch from afar.

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    • That is very interesting to hear your students all love the country, and you’ve made a very good observation there: some cities are overwhelming, some aren’t. Compared to Malaysia and Singapore’s CBD, Melbourne’s CBD is “quiet” and “peaceful”. Yes there are always people on Melbourne’s city streets but never squished against one another like in Malaysia or Singapore. Perhaps most western cities are tamer in comparison to their Asian counterparts.

      Don’t draw energy from crowds? Sounds like crowds tire you…so many people to look at 🙂

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  17. I’m definitely a city girl and although I love the countryside I would never choose to live somewhere rural and inconvenient to get around. Everything in the city is, as you wrote it so brilliantly, at your fingertips and there’s always something new to discover. As long as you have your wits about you and know where you’re going, there’s nothing really threatening about it 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jody. You are so wise. As long as we know where we are going, know the place around us well and have a phone with us, we should be fine getting around. Not only is it hard to get around in a faraway town, it’s hard for those you know to get to you. If they were to visit you there, they’d need to really make the time and effort for it 🙂

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  18. I lived in a rustic province for 18 years and then I got the opportunity to study in the busy metropolis (Manila–the capital city of the Philippines). I actually stopped for two straight years before making it to college. I let go of the scholarship offered by a university back in the province just to wait for the chance to pursue my college education in an urban setting so to speak.

    I remember my first few days in the metro. I usually spent “hours” regretting that scholarship while I was busy applying for entrance examination and producing the school credentials and other requirements. I then thought the decision to be in the city was a big, big mistake. I didn’t like the noisy people around, the dirty streets snaking near our place, the floods after a fleeting rain, the headache during traffic, the air pollution that seem to stick all over each time I go out…There’s so much to say. The funny thing is, I eventually embraced being citified after some time. Clubs, concerts, skyscrapers, gadgets, cars (I didn’t and I don’t have one one but seeing sports and luxury cars is heaven for me)…These are only some of the reasons why I need to be in the know and the latest. With these things around you is like being a part of something big like the future. The rest is history.

    At this point, I can no longer imagine living in the province for good. I don’t feel like living in the city for good either. Getting the best of both worlds is what I see doing in the next few years. Deep inside me, the city life and the laid-back kind of life (for lack of a better term) are now inseparable to me. I am a country boy but I am also an urban man. I hope that made sense. 🙂

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    • Citified. I’ve never heard of that word before, but I like it a lot. I guess when we arrive in a city for the first time, we feel a bit apprehensive as everyone seems to know where they are going and they are moving fast, and everything is moving confidently fast. So maybe that’s why you were put off by city life at first as well. There are so many things happening in the city, and the more we stop to see and listen, the more we will learn. I suppose you learnt a lot more compared to what your textbooks thought you when you were in college.

      I am not a huge fan of cars but I don’t mind being driven around in a sports car 😉

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  19. To me, living in the city is not about the face thing, but about feeling alive. Cities have this sense of being alive, as if they are a living and breathing entity, made by those who are living in it. And cities give you a sense of being on top of the world, a sense of control, because we have everything at the tips of our hands. And the fact that you are part of a mass, but still an individual. I love that feeling.

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    • Very wise words, JLynn. Totally agree with you there. We who live in the city give it life, especially in the day. There will be people hiding in office buildings working, but at the same time there will always be a lot of people on the streets as well. Cities give you a sense of hope, that anything is possible – after all, so many people converge on the city day in and day out. It must be a place where magic happens 🙂

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    • True. When we are young, we want to keep ourselves busy and learn as much as possible. So we gravitate towards city life. But small towns are always great for getaways and a change of scenery.

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  20. While I loved growing up in a small town, and to a certain extent I live is a ‘smallish’ community in Hong Kong, there is nothing like walking and seeing a big city. Having so many options available, as you say, right out in front of you is pretty nice ~ and the chaos is a controlled kind of chaos that keep us active. My friends from China have all been a bit shocked by the smallish size of US cities when they have come to visit (besides NYC, LA and SF), in Seattle they were stunned by the lack of people in downtown Seattle, and they said lack of people would drive them crazy. For me, both work well at different times 🙂

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    • I can empathise with your friends. When I first came back to Melbourne after a decade in Singapore and Malaysia, I was shocked at how “quiet” the city streets were – yes there were people out and about on the streets, shoulder-to-shoulder, but unlike the packed-until-you-can’t really move Asia CBD streets. Asian cities tend to have newer developments (buildings, parks, movement of people even) at a much faster rate than in Australian cities (while still keeping a touch of traditional culture)…so in this sense I’m attracted to Asian cities more.

      So many options available: it’s funny, sometimes I can’t decided what to eat in the city for lunch, or where to go, or what to do. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s times like these we feel so lost in the city. I’m sure there are times when you want to escape the city, Randall 🙂

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      • Asian cities, and the mass of people on the streets is really a sight to see. When I first moved to HK I lived in a very busy district and it drove me crazy…moved out to an outlaying island which is this little oasis of space and nature ~ so the best of both worlds 🙂 And you are so right, sometimes with so much to do in a big city, it is easy to get a bit paralyzed.

        I can fully understand people from HK/China who move to Canada/USA/Australia and then have to move back to China because they cannot cope with the ‘open spaces’ 🙂

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        • “Mass of people on the streets”. Such an apt way to describe what you see when you’re in Asian cities. Many times I’ve happened to stand still in the middle of the street in KL/Malaysia and Singapore and got the “tsk tsk” from other city folk walking around me – like I am in their way. The movement of people always feels continuous here.

          Whereas in Melbourne, this doesn’t happen at all – Melburnians usually just walk around me when I stand in the middle of the city streets here, admiring architecture or just looking around.

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  21. Barcelona is a smallish city. I also like cities because you just walk out the door and voila you have many things there. The cool thing about my neighbourhood is that it used to be small village and Barcelona sort of expanded into it, but it still holds the quiet traditional village vibe – for example, I only go the supermarket to buy items like detergent, for everything else I go the butchers, then the fruit shop and market, and, and, and… Doing this usually takes up a whole morning or afternoon because we also have a chat with the store owners of each place we go to, lol. I love cities though if I can’t escape outside of them sometimes I get all stressed…

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    • Your area sounds like it grew into a city! The old and the new side by side, what’s not to like about that – there are always so many different stories around, I presume. Going to so many places to buy groceries and chatting with the shopkeers, sounds like you know quite a lot of the locals in your city, and I’m sure you’ve become a familiar face around town, Miss Popular 😀 And I bet they give you freebies every now and then 😉

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      • Oh yeah, sure, when I walk down the street I have wave and greet the guys at the Sirian restaurant, then the guy at the corner shop, the the guys at the vegetable shop, then the guy at the Italian shop, then the guys at the bar, then the guys at the Indian restaurant, then the guys at the next restaurant… My friends that don’t live in the area flip when they accompany me haha!

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        • Oh my gosh! That is so many people, Sofia. You know, I think you’re totally capable of throwing a party for your whole city. You certainly know a lot of people in your city, and you certainly can cook as well. In fact, they butchers and guys at vegetable shop my give you free food for the party 😉

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  22. I think that one of the reasons we, from the provinces of the Philippines, love the city is that big city mean sophistication. it presents the idea, correct or not, that one had reached a measure of success which the provincial counterparts have not attained.

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    • Thanks, Imelda. You are so right, hit the nail on the head there. City = sophistication. Country and faraway towns do have their history, own charm and own pace of life. It’s a shame that some city folk look down at them, wondering when the faraway places will play “catch up”.

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  23. We love cities because we could have never appreciated the solace, peace and simplicity rural paces offer if it weren’t for the fast “paceness” and convenience of life in cities. We love cities because they also serve as testaments to how far mankind has achieved, both on a positive and negative note. 🙂

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    • So true, Melissa. And very wise words from you. The noisier the city is, the louder quietness will sound to us when we travel to rural places. We probably will appreciate the simple things in life – nature, sunsets, animals – more having spent a lot of time around congested roads and “human jams” on the sidewalk.

      And yes. Just as cities serve as reminders of how far we have come – convenience and efficiencies through technology – they also serve to remind us the negative sides of the modern world – stress and taking things for granted.

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    • LOL. You are so funny as usual, Dedy (I really like this name, haha!). In Australia, I dentists who work in the country earn a lot more money than those who work in the city. This is because there are less dentists in rural areas and so they will get paid more.

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  24. I go for balance. I love the sophistication of the city and all that it offers but I also love the solitude and simplicity of the country. I’m blessed to be living where I enjoy the best of both worlds. I’m grateful. Very nice article, Mabel!

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    • Balance. Don’t we all want that? 😉 Have the best of everything. Yes, the city is sophisticated with so many vehicles, events and people moving through it. Always something to see and learn from. On the other hand, there’s always something so peaceful and beautiful about the simple, down-to-earth life of the country. Lucky you, Lola.

      Thanks for the nice words, and for reading and stopping by 🙂

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  25. I love the culture of the city. The excitement and the diversity are things that draw me to the city. But the city is also one of the loneliest places I have ever lived.
    I adore the quiet of the country and the feeling of peace and calm one can find in the wilderness. Although the countryside is likely a place with a sparse population….I have found great joy there.

    I love both!!

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    • “…also one of the loneliest places”. So true. This is especially so if we go to the city occasionally for a shopping trip or only for work. In this sense, we’re simply passing through the city, never really stopping long enough to take in the diversity and colours around us. Then again, sometimes the diversity (of people, food, events etc.) is enough to make us stop and learn something new.

      Great to hear you’re a fan of the country too. Less people, less noise, more room for you and your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Tree. We always have interesting conversations when we can, you know it 🙂

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        • Thanks a lot, Tree. That’s very nice of you to say. I enjoy your photos a lot, actually. And hearing about your part of the world – very different from mine and I hope to get the chance to visit you “city” someday. I am sure you have different reasons as to why you love your city/town 🙂

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  26. I love city life but my husband and I wanted to retire in a provincial setting – peaceful, greens, fresh air, morning walks, less pollution, the smell of the grass when it rains while having hot coffee on the side. Maybe 25 years from now 😀

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    • I hope you achieve that dream, Kai. I don’t think it will take 25 years. If you work in the city where the big money usually is, chances are you might be achievable in ten years or less if you spend and save wisely 😀

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  27. I live in the biggest city of one of the smallest countries in Europe lol 🙂 … so, proportions are pretty relative I guess… it’s all about the pace of life, everything is so hectic in the big city… I’m very used to this fast pace of living/working, but it’s good to break away from it now and then, go to a smaller quieter place for vacation for instance… then I can even start missing the commotion 🙂

    you write so well 🙂

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    • You sound like every bit of a city girl, Alexandra. Just like me 🙂 “…pace of life” Often I wonder if we can slow down the fast pace of living in the city. For example, maybe if we get up a little early to go to work, we can take our time and we won’t feel so rushed.

      You miss the commotion when you’ve been away? You’re not the only one 😉 Thanks for the nice words.

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