Do you have an urgent problem and want to hear someone else’s opinion? Subway shares a reader’s dilemma each week. This week: Harm (35), who moved to a village a few years ago because of the children, but now misses the city and wants to return.
“The funny thing is: I myself grew up in the city. But as a kid I hated it. Never even a decent place to kick a ball – the cars drove down our street watching where you are going and lots of honking, shouting and other noise. When I was in high school, that changed. You get other interests, dive more often into the city with friends and later the pub. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle, the city life. Also searched my student room for commotion – above a pub, right in the center. My partner is also a city person, we met during the introduction party at our university, and when a room became available in my student house, the sum was quickly done and we lived together.
From apartment to home
Well, those square meters were too small when we finished, but like a lottery ticket we were drawn to a great rental apartment. Newly built, so fully equipped, but right in the center – with a beautiful view of the city. It was also here that our daughter Amélie was born a few years ago. We had a spare bedroom, so enough room for the three of us – fantastic. Anyway, after a year she also started crawling and walking – and then our ten-storey apartment with a balcony suddenly became an obstacle. We missed a bigger ‘outside’ and when my partner became pregnant again – Amélie had just turned 2 – our living space also became a challenge. We simply did not have room for a growing family. Sasha and I talked about it a lot and agreed that we would rather look for something bigger outside the city. A real house, with a garden and plenty of space to play in the street – so no speeding cars, as I experienced as a child.
Play outside without worries
We found a house in a neighboring village that exactly matched that picture: big garden, playground with swing around the corner, primary school within walking distance, the works. And admittedly: the large space indoors was great too. We have lived there for two years now and our kids love it here. They can play outside without worries, because no cars drive by. Amélie now goes to school and our son Boaz goes to kindergarten in the same building. Our neighbors are nice too, so all’s well that ends well, you might think.
But it’s been bothering me for a few months now. We live here fine, but that’s all. In fact, I just think it’s dead boring in our village. I miss the hustle and bustle of the city, not being able to close the door behind me for a beer with friends at the pub across the street, or for a late night snack – any snack – that only takes five minutes to walk. Of course, you don’t do something like that so quickly once you’ve had children, but still. We hardly go on the road anymore anyway, because it takes half an hour to get there by car. I would therefore prefer to return to the city.
The good news is: Sasha has exactly the same. It came up the other day and we talked all night about how we missed the city. If it’s up to us, we’ll be back. And that’s where the shoe pinches. Find a single-family home that meets our current requirements, and also at a reasonable price. Chances are, if we do find something, it won’t be nearly as spacious as we’re sitting here. Or, for example, there is no garden, or you are on a busy road, or in an apartment. Can we do that to our children? Although I long for the city, I also remember well that as a child I did not like it in the city. Sasha has a harder time with it because she feels guilty about the kids if we actually move back.
Are we really selfish by thinking only of our own desires? On the other hand: Lots of children grow up in the middle of the city, ourselves included, so of course it should be possible. Usually you hear the other side that couples leave the city for the sake of their children. I am therefore really curious what other people think about this, and I like to be inspired.”
Gave last week Subway-reader’s advice for Chelsey (38), who fears old and new because her friends want to set off illegal fireworks.
Erwin says: “Friends respect the host’s wishes. Otherwise they are not friends. I would be aware of that in advance: I don’t want to. And that is not going to happen. Then perhaps they can draw consequences themselves.”
Trijntje thinks: “It’s your house, so also your rules. If you don’t like it, you can still take it in hand.”
Femmie thinks differently: “Just enjoy, if they’re outside it’s not a problem, right? Fireworks are in effect every year, and if you say, ‘Don’t do that,’ it’ll just stand a block away.”
Abdullah concludes: “What they are doing outside, they should know, as long as they don’t reveal it in your house or garden.”
Dilemma: ‘Our friends want to explode illegal fireworks in front of our door, can I still cancel?’
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