29 August 2010

how-to put a little country in your life

by Eileen of Engineering Eileen

Hello, Marta & friends! I am very excited to have this opportunity to guest post here in Marta’s blog home, which has long been a favorite of mine. Thank you, Marta, for this chance to put my words into the world. I love many things about Marta’s blog, including the details she shares about the adventures she takes with her family into the lands of Idaho. It is great to live vicariously through her adventures, especially since I am living city life these days. This has inspired my post, where I will share a few ways to infuse the country lifestyle spirit into your own world.

I both grew up in the country, complete with a cornfield behind my backyard. It was quiet around my house; summer nights meant dots of fireflies and a symphony of crickets. My husband also grew up in a small, fairly rural town. Now, though, we both live in a big city. Instead of crickets, nights are punctuated with car horns and sirens. While we love Chicago, city life can be grating when immersed on a daily basis. Here's a list of ways to bring a little bit of country livin' into your daily world, even if your home is a condo amidst the city high rises.

Slow down. I find it easy to get caught up in the city pace, making my way as quickly as possible through the streets and getting annoyed if a group of slow tourists gets in my way. However, the slow pace of country life is much more peaceful than constant frantic rushing. Allow yourself some extra time and mosey along the streets, taking in the sights.

Seek the road less traveled. If throngs of tourists are still hampering your mood, try another route. I have found that sometimes taking a street just one block over from a crowded area can mean many fewer people ~ which makes it more enjoyable to mosey along at a country pace.

Be active. Especially outdoors. Chicago is a great city filled with parks. Running and biking along the lake help me feel balanced; sometimes I even forget that the city is looming behind me.

Grow things. We have an herb garden that can sit on a windowsill in our condo. Smaller than the cornfield of my childhood, but it is so nice to pick off fresh herbs to cook with ~ saves money and adds some green to our days.

Go to the library. I love escaping into books, and I always have something to read during my daily commute. Recent reads include The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty, set in rural Kansas, and The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch, set in small town of Washington state. I found myself immersed back into country life while reading these books.

Find the farmers. Farmers markets are popular these days, and an easy to inject a dose of good ol' country life smack in the middle of the city. There is one weekly market outside the modern art museum near my workplace. Stands of fresh produce, ripe for the picking (well, purchasing), right there on the sidewalk!

Eat country-style. Out of doors is optimal; my husband and I are known for grilling and eating dinner on our tiny deck, though we never see our neighbors doing this. I say, they are missing out. Nothing like grilling out and enjoying dinner with a fresh breeze to take us back to our roots. If you don't have a balcony or deck to do this, you could find a restaurant with outdoor seating ~ rooftop ones are nice because you are removed from the traffic below. Or, if in a pinch, make some sm'ores by (carefully) roasting marshmallows over the stove top! Delicious nostalgia of simpler times.

Plan an escape. For the ultimate way to restore country living to your city lifestyle, pack your bags and head out of the city for a weekend. We bought ourselves a tent for our anniversary. After a bit of research, we were surprised to find that quiet campsites exist just a few hours’ drive out of the city. We just took our first weekend adventure, driving through cornfields to a state park where we hiked and camped out, lulled to sleep by the sweet
chirping of crickets.

idaho country image via marta.

the how-to series is here to encourage confidence in the creativity and skills you have to offer. i am excited to showcase your talents and unique ideas. if you have a specialty (and i know you do), please submit your how-to guest post by emailing me: marta at martawrites dot com. i will be delighted to feature your how-to in the future.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden

1 comment:

the southern hostess said...

I love this post! I'll be putting these tips to use.

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