Boring is a word I don’t associate with small town living. There are always plenty of things to do regardless if you’re a local or a traveler on a pit stop. Even the shortest stays can be times of interesting experiences and discoveries.
Urban dwellers who’ve lived in cities all their lives will probably have some interesting takeaways given the chance to immerse in a small town. Growing up in a small town and spending the rest of teenage years onwards in the city gave me a lifelong appreciation for the former. But I’ll be doing rural and urban communities a great disservice if I say that one is better than the other. Both simply have unique traits that appeal to different groups of people.
Looking back, life in a small town can be slow or fast depending on how one lives every single day. And it definitely has its perks.
- Grandparents and other community elders – Grandparents are the best bridges for generation divides. They’re great storytellers, teachers, disciplinarians, and everything in between. It’s unbelievable how many stories you can mine that would make boring history book chapters seem more interesting. Spending time with grandparents and elders likewise teach you enduring values. It also makes you appreciate the things that make life your life easier that they didn’t have access to in the old days.
- Healthy living – Environment-friendly concepts like buying local have long been a practice in small towns. You buy your food fresh from the market. Some you get to buy straight from growers and farmers you know. If you’re lucky, you even get to grow and harvest the food you eat.
- Playing outdoors – Boredom is rare when you have a whole town as a playground. There’s always a creek, a trail, a lake, a field, and various other haunts you can explore at any given day.
- Climbing trees – It’s hard to resist climbing a tree, especially one with ripe fruits begging to be picked. The view from above is also a reward in itself. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment of reaching the top and enjoying the scenery it affords you.
- Flying kites – Summer and windy days are incomplete without the noise of kids happily playing with their kites. The excitement combined with the soothing tranquility of watching kites streak across clear skies is always worth your time.
- Eating lunch with friends – The moments when friends and playmates bring lunches of rice and viands wrapped in banana leaves. The novelty topped with the aroma and taste of meals securely wrapped with banana leaves make lunches a more filling experience.
- Riding bicycles – It’s a shame to waste beautiful days, quiet stretches of roads, and winding trails that promise nature’s interesting scenery. Thankfully, there are summer breaks for bicycling lessons. Not even a few scratches and bruises can stop kids from eagerly learning how to ride their bicycles.
- Taking long walks – There’s a long list of reasons and benefits why it’s worthwhile to do this. It can also simply be a daily nature appreciation routine. Breathe in the fresh air, watch the sun rise or set, stroll around observing life as it happens, and so on. You’ll be healthier for it.
- Mananitas – One of the best ways to greet someone on his or her birthday is to join a serenade at the crack of dawn. In a community where everybody knows everyone else, it’s one occasion to give a gift that everyone else gets to enjoy as well.
- Homemade snacks – Native delicacies prepared in the kitchen and served straight from the pans or ovens make you look forward to snack times.
- Finding stray baby monkey eating eagles in the backyard – Just because.
- Having many different kinds of fruit trees in the backyard – My grandparents’ backyard had avocado, mango, starfruit, guava, cacao, pomelo, tamarind, jackfruit trees and many others I can’t recall. It was a culture shock of sorts when I started living in the city and had to buy fruits. You’ll never really appreciate what you can enjoy for free until such time you begin paying for it.
- Gardening – Whether it’s by choice or by order of the household adults, there’s something rewarding about toiling in the garden. The exercise may be tiring, but you eventually get to see the fruits or blooms of your efforts.
- Waking up at dawn – To wake up early for prayers, long walks, and other activities you can enjoy early in the morning is a refreshing start every day.
These are just a few of the many things I love about my childhood hometown. I may be a city girl now, but in my heart, I think I’ll always be that small town lass who had the great outdoors as her playground.