A city girl’s garden

I’m a city girl at heart. That’s what happens when you are born and raised in a city with a population of 30 million people. The bleeping of car horns, the smell of exhaust, the constant push and shove of shoulders as you walk down the street – these are all normal things to me. I love to see the diversity of people living in cities – the mix of cultures and languages all intertwined. I think skyscrapers lit up at night are absolutely beautiful, and somehow magical.

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My hometown at night.

Still, as a kid growing up in one of the largest cities in the world, I romanticized ‘rural’ life. I dreamed of having a horse, and in fact was downright shocked out of my mind when I didn’t get one for my tenth birthday (doesn’t every girl get a horse for her tenth birthday?!?! Of course it will fit on the patio). This probably had a lot to do with the movies I loved at the time, movies like The Secret Garden, Black Beauty and Field of Dreams. One day, this young girl thought, I want to live on a farm.

But as I grew, the reality of that type of life began to settle in. We moved to Canada after I was done high-school, to a house in the country. And it kinda freaked me out. I would run from the car to the front door struggling to get my key in the lock fast enough, and not daring to turn around because I just knew that if I looked behind me there would be a bear, or a wolf, or a racoon, eager to eat me up. Even more frightening than that, I lived in constant fear of the bugs. And that was worse because the bugs were real. There were spiders and ear wigs and these weird flying bugs that let off an awful smell when they got scared. Sometimes I would lie in bed, and if I let my mind go there, I could just feel the bugs crawling up my legs. And then one day, when I checked just to make sure there weren’t actually any bugs, there was an ear wig climbing up my calf. It was not a good night for me.

And then after university, I decided to move to rural Afghanistan. Now, I must admit, we had it pretty cushy in our foreigner compound. And I must also admit, the bugs there were not that bad. Other than the massive scorpion spiders, that is. And the scorpions in general. But I personally only ever had one close encounter with each of these, and though it was terrifying enough to scare a few years off my life, I found that in general, Afghanistan helped me to get over at least some of my city girl ways. One particular night, I remember, I woke to see a grasshopper sitting on the pillow a few mere inches from my face. After a couple of seconds of contemplation I decided, since it was just a grasshopper, the worst it could do was hop on me, so I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. This was a major breakthrough.

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No, that’s not my hand.

So when the Hubs and I decided that I should move to Saskatchewan so we could do our “home soil” dating and figure out if we really liked each other, I felt pretty prepared. After all, I would be living in the city of Yorkton, and only visiting him on the farm where he lived with his parents. And let me tell you, I loved the farm. The sounds of the cattle lowing, the beauty of the big red barn, the soft sweep of the tall grass in the surrounding meadows, the way the sky stretches out before you forever. It was, and is, absolutely beautiful – all of my childhood dreams rolled up into a stunning reality.

But I was not fully prepared for the intense culture shock that was about to hit. There was so much to learn. For example, farm people use a whole other vocabulary. Early on I met a young man who tragically lost his arm in an augur accident as a young kid. That’s awful, I said. And then later that night, I looked up what an augur actually was. I kept hearing that my future father-in-law was busy on the combine. But what does it combine? I asked myself. And perhaps my most embarrassing city slicker moment was when I was asked by my future mother-in-law to pick spinach from the garden for supper. You can do this, I told myself. You have bought spinach in the store lots of times. You know what it looks like. And yet somehow, I managed to come back to the house with a bucket full of leaves off of the pea plants.

I’m a city girl at heart, but I have a dream. And I hope that someday I will get to live out that fantasy I had as a young girl – of land to build on, and animals to keep. In the meantime, I am trying to keep that dream alive, here in the city, with a little garden of our own. A place where we can get dirty, and watch life emerge and flourish.

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And it’s a good thing I like that process, because I’ve only got 8 weeks left of our Little Babe to grow!

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