The Big City!

Oh, my friends, New York City was fabulous. I had no idea how wonderful this trip would be. I mean, I knew we’d have fun because we enjoyed the one day we spent there when we were in college, but oh my gracious, it was even better than we imagined!

us in nyc 2006Us in Times Square way back in 2006

We spent our 2006 spring break with some of our college friends in Liverpool & Syracuse, NY. We spent one day exploring NYC, but honestly Christopher and I just kind of followed our friends around. So we saw all the major sites, but didn’t do much exploring on our own. This time around, we were looking forward to really getting to know the city a little better.

us skylineAaand this was us in NYC last Saturday. 🙂

And see the city, we did! We walked 10-12 miles a day (yes, miles) which meant we were worn out at the end of every day, but it was a good kind of worn out. The kind of worn out where every minute was worth it. We did take the subway a lot, but we enjoyed walking when we could because we liked seeing the city. 🙂


One thing that I was surprised by was just how much I loved being in the city again. I spent the first 12 years of my life in small towns. But just after I turned 13 my family moved to a city of 8 million people where I lived until I went to college. So in my growing up years I experienced both country life and city life. Currently, I live in Memphis which is a city, but it’s on the small side as cities go. It wasn’t until we were walking the streets of NYC that I realized just how much I had missed the big city feel of life.

rach in the cityMe outside the Imperial Theater before Les Miserables (which will be a whole post on its own!)

Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live. I really enjoy visiting big cities and being reminded of how much I loved living in one as a teenager, but it’s not the life for me anymore. I have really gotten used to the pace of life where I live. In a city big enough that I’m close to Target and Starbucks (these are the specific things I point out to our friends who try to get us to move further out into the country, ha!) not to mention that we have a pretty happening “city” scene (complete with incredible food, good shopping, great concerts & plays, and even our own NBA team). But also in a city small enough that I have space for a house with a backyard (important for us with the dog) while still being inside city limits. And where traffic, though a pain sometimes, is limited mostly to rush hour and is pretty tolerable.

rach in little italyMe in Little Italy

So while I was giddy for the first full day just about being back in a big city, Christopher was not quite able to take a full breath until we were inside Central Park and away from all the buildings, noise, and people. He enjoyed visiting NYC, but even the idea of living in a huge city really stresses him out. Memphis felt like a huge metropolis to him when we first moved here. He grew up in a house surrounded by cornfields five miles away from the closest town (which was still only 1,800 people). So other than driving into the closest city a couple of times a week, the laid back, country life was all he knew until he moved to college. Which means that while he enjoys visiting big cities, he never quite feels like he can take a full breath while he’s there.

christopher in central parkChristopher at the Belvedere Castle in Central Park

So it’s good that we settled in Memphis. It’s a good middle ground for us. Enough space for him to breathe and enough city for me to enjoy. It probably seems weird for me to write so much about Memphis when this post is really about NYC, but mostly I just wanted to have a written reminder of just how great a fit our city is for us. And to remember just how much I loved visiting a big city again. 🙂

Lots more coming on our NYC trip. From things we did to places we ate to thoughts we had. I’ll be sharing it all! 😀

Did you grow up in a big city or the country or something in between? And what type of place do you live now? Do you prefer one over the other?

Love Rach


31 responses to “The Big City!

  1. Gorgeous pictures!!!!! And that throwback picture is priceless! We were in NUC just a few years ago and loved it. I teased Drew so much about me putting him on a leash because he was taking everything in and would get left behind. Haha. I grew up in a small town but had access to Cincinnati, which still isn’t big but I loved NYC too. Couldn’t live there because like your hubby I need some open and green space! Glad you two had a good time!! Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Haha! I can just see you with one of those kid-backpack-leashes attached to Drew. 😉 I can understand how overwhelming the city can be if you can’t just feel at ease there. I do breathe more deeply in the stillness while out at the ocean or in the mountains. But I sure do love city life too. 🙂

  2. The photos are great!! It’s great that visiting NYC reinforced that you guys are living in a good size city for you both. Can’t wait to hear more about NYC!

  3. Totally get where you’re coming from! We are pretty happy with Minneapolis ourselves but as we know God tends to give something that’s better for us than our own plans so here we are in NYC. We however did choose to live across the (Hudson) River in Jersey City which is a ten minute subway ride/ walk to the World Trade Center and has a smaller city feel with tons of unique restaurants. Basically I agree that God puts us in the perfect city for us! Like discussed earlier I look forward to seeing you next time you visit!

  4. Beautiful pictures! I really love NYC. I’ve only been once and I had the best time. I definitely feel the same about Memphis though. Despite our problems, Memphis is just a cool mix. We live in the “country” kind of but we are still close enough for all that Memphis has to offer. NYC just has that different atmosphere and feel to it. I was actually really surprised by how nice everyone in NYC was when we visited though. People act like the south is the only place where people say “Excuse me” or hold doors, but we came across plenty of kind people in the Big Apple too 🙂

    • Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed that there are people all over the country who are friendly! Customs may be different, but people are still people. 🙂 Probably the friendliest strangers we’ve met have been people who live near one of the coasts… I figure if I lived on the beach I’d probably be crazy friendly too. 😉

  5. I love NYC. I hope to go back someday.

  6. You guys have “grown up” a lot since 2006, haha! I don’t see myself as much of a city person. Up until ShenZhen, I’d never lived in a city big enough to have an actual truly effective public transportation system, and I didn’t know how I’d feel about the car-free, public transportation only, big city lifestyle, but I really loved it there. There was a lot that was fun about only buying as much groceries as you can carry all the way home, and living within walking distance of a mall, and never not seeing or hearing other people. But I do really like the countryside, too.

    • Oh my goodness, YES! We have! I look back at photos of us from those early years of dating and it just makes me laugh! We were such babies. 🙂

      HA! That was one of the things that I don’t miss about living in the city! When we lived in Wuhan, we would take one monthly trip to the foreign food store which was across the city (an hour bus ride away). Which meant that all four of us (my parents, my sister, and I) would bring backpacks and canvas bags. We’d fill them all up as much as we possibly could and lug all that stuff back across the city to our apartment. All our other groceries we’d pick up fresh daily at the market down the street from where we’d live, but man, those monthly trips were intense, haha! I have some pretty vivid memories of lugging all that stuff from the store to the bus stop in the pouring rain. Ah, yes, memories. 😉 But there is something neat about limiting the amount you buy and planning better!

  7. Ah, this post makes me so excited!! Although, I really am bummed that our NYC trips didn’t align. I can’t wait to hear about Les Mis! We’re going to see Phantom of the Opera when we go, but Les Mis was the other one we debated going to. And I’m glad Memphis is such a good fit for you guys 🙂

  8. I definitely felt the same way when I visited NYC! It was just so magical and captivating, and I fell in love with it instantly! The food… the sights…the sounds…
    I am SO excited for your posts, you have no idea! 🙂

  9. These pictures are perfect! It looks like such a fun trip. I am with you on not wanting to live in a place like that all of the time, though. I love taking day trips into the city. You never run out of things to do, but my husband would much rather be out in a field somewhere. We compromise and visit Boston a few times a year, and have done NYC a few times too. I can’t wait to read about all of the places you went. Sometimes it is so good to get away just to find out that home is where you belong. 🙂

  10. I’m so happy that you enjoyed your visit! I spent my whole little life wanting to live in Manhattan. And I did, right after college… only I hated it! haha. I still love to visit but it’s so interesting what you figure out that you need/like where you live. 🙂

    • So interesting! Why did you hate it? I feel like I’d enjoy living there if I hadn’t lived in Memphis before and learned the feel of a smaller place. ​

      • HAHA well I was there as an actress after graduating from a musical theatre program in college. So I was auditioning (or waiting in line and not getting seen at auditions every day) and waiting tables.

        Looking back, it’s one of those experiences that I wish I could say to my 23-year old self “Have fun, enjoy this city, don’t try to save money, this won’t last forever!” But at the time, I had no health insurance and felt like I had no future so it was really hard for me to be there on a day to day basis. I never took time to enjoy the city b/c I was so worried about money and what I was doing with my life.

        Honestly that is a good lesson to myself now b/c I still worry about money and what I am doing with my life, instead of being able to live in the moment I am right now and enjoy this phase of life for all that it is! I’m working on it I guess. 🙂

  11. loving the recap of NYC. i haven’t been there in YEARS!

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  14. Isn’t that funny how going away can make you appreciate home so much?! I grew up in a tiny town, and then moved to a big-ish city for 6 years before moving back to my hometown! City life was definitely not for me, but I needed to get away to appreciate my hometown. 🙂

  15. We feel kind of the same about Knoxville. It is just the right sized city to keep us busy, and it has a nice downtown area, but it’s also close to the Smokies where we can retreat when things get too busy. I have a friend who was born and raised in Alabama, and she’s been living in NYC since her husband’s job moved them there in 2011. She LOVES it. She is the typical, unphased-by-anything New Yorker now, and I can’t see her moving back to Alabama anytime soon. I think once you get used to living in New York City, it would be hard to get accustomed to any place else. But I’m happy in Knoxville! 🙂

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