Being a Country Girl
I blame Carrie Bradshaw for trying to fool me into believing I could handle the city.
I'd imagine strutting down the cement-lined streets in my Christian Louboutins, on my way to my well-paid job at a fashion magazine and then afterwards, I'd pop out for cocktails with colleagues before inviting them back to my top-floor apartment in Soho.
The dream is always the "big city": it's where post-grads aspire to be and what we're always told about in those stupid Katherine Heigl rom coms. But the truth is, I just can't handle it.
I remember my first "proper" visit to London. I was going to Fashion Week on behalf of Look Magazine, they'd put me up in the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, and they'd even given me some money to go shopping with. On paper, it sounds like my Carrie Bradshaw dreams were coming true... and they were, but just not in the way I'd imagined.
In reality, I couldn't wait to come home, de-clog my skin and be able to walk along at a leisurely pace without getting knocked over by shoulder-shoving. I remember being shocked because passengers on the Victoria bus didn't thank the driver as they got off. Yep, I'm THAT girl.
I don't think I ever fully appreciated my life in the countryside as much as I did until a few years ago, but then again, I don't think many people do. Too often, we associate it with boredom, sheep and wellington boots, but it's not all that way, I promise. Here are some things we all need to appreciate about the countryside:
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1. People are friendlier. Every time I go to the pub, I tend to find someone new to chat to. And *shock horror* their first point of conversation is not "so, what do you do then?". In my village, there is such a strong sense of community. All the residents have stories to tell, and they're all so proud of where they're from.
2. You can eat food that was grown pretty much next door. The veggies you ate for dinner last night were grown by the old man that lives down the road, not Waitrose. The fish you're cooking for date night was caught by your uncle. That "fresh organic produce" that city people pay a fortune for comes standard to you.
3. You're forced to take down time. You can't just "nip to Oxford Street" to get a last minute clubbing outfit at 9pm, because the shops shut at 6, and realistically, there probably isn't a Topshop for miles around anyway. Nothing is open on Sundays, you can't get phone signal, and when you order a Cosmopolitan at the bar, the response you get is: "Ey? Yawhat? Gerra pint o' bitter down ya neck". But this is all because people understand that it's more important to live your life than to work through it. A sign in my local pub says: "No we don't have WiFi. Have a conversation instead" - and how right they are!
4. People don't care about your appearance. I had a perfectly normal conversation with my neighbour yesterday whilst wearing pyjama bottoms, a top knot, and toothpaste on my chin spot. She didn't even bat an eyelid, bless her soul. You London folk judge me if I'm wearing 2013 Topshop.
5. You appreciate just how beautiful England is. Which is funny, seeing as London is the capital city. I think the countryside is where you really get to see the real England - its peace and tranquility... walking through the long grass just before the Farmer cuts it... taking a stroll along the canal... having a picnic in the middle of nowhere.
I love London, but I can never wait to get home to my countryside. Give me a pair of wellies over Louboutins every day (don't quote me on that...)