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so long city, hello 'burbs! 
living in the suburbs 

Anh-Minh Le | 1 2 3

Growing up in the suburbs, I think I always had this notion that someday I would escape. I fancied myself as someone with urban sensibilities, so naturally the city would be my future home.

Yet when it came time to buy our first house, my husband and I settled on the suburbs. Some might argue that we settled for the suburbs. After all, the suburbs are widely viewed as uniformly boring and conservative. A 2004 study even indicated that living in the suburbs -- as opposed to the city -- could actually be detrimental to your health, the theory being that spread-out suburbs promote a car-heavy culture, resulting in much less exercise. So why would we choose suburbia when the great city of San Francisco was also an option?

It isn't that we don't like the city or are afraid of urban living. I spent a wonderful summer in New York City, and Jon resided there for several years before moving to California. We both lived in San Francisco at various points during our 20s. And our first shared apartment -- complete with termites, mice and frat-boy neighbors -- was in Oakland.

Back then, however, home was primarily a place to sleep. We would get up early, shower, take the bus or train to work, come home, change our clothes, go out to dinner, come back home, go to bed, and start all over again the next day. Life was what was happening outside of our apartment -- in the restaurants, bars, theatres and museums.

But people change; situations change. Jon and I were tired of going out for drinks in overcrowded places. We found ourselves making less and less time to see a show or an exhibit. Spending 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot was no longer acceptable. Going out had become a rarity. As we began the big search to buy a place of our own, we realized we were ready to move on… to the suburbs.

slide along this way kids!


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