8 Differences Between City and Rural Life

8 Differences Between City and Rural Life

The essence of big cities has made me a city girl

Nearly two months ago, I left Beijing, a major city in China in which I lived for 18 years, and came to a rural town called South Hadley where I go to college. This is a huge change for me, not only with respect to the cultural gap between the US and China, but also the difference between living in a city versus a small town. Being raised alongside large populations, squashed residential buildings among clusters of skyscrapers, easy access to modernized commodities and constant hullabaloo everywhere—all the essence of a big city has formed inside me a typical character of a city girl.

I went to New York before coming to South Hadley when I first came to the States, and I went back to that city last week. I travel back and forth between a city and a town, combining these experiences with my previous ones in living in both environments.


Size of the crowd is the most significant difference one notices when they travel from a big city to a small town. This difference is better to be sensed with eyes and ears rather than to be demonstrated concretely with actual data. Walking down side paths without having to shoulder through the crowd, crossing empty streets at 7 in the evening, stepping outside the house feeling no rough noises drumming into ears…Small population makes the tranquility of a suburban town.

2-Residential Style

Lovely rural villas can be found scattered amongst fields of wheat and corn. Houses rarely reach to 3-floors in height and are never packed into dense, suffocating blocks, like in big cities. Skyscrapers are the symbol of cities. A large population forces cities to occupy space upwards because expanding space on the ground level is no longer an option. People’s lifestyles differ greatly along with this disparity of building style.


Small populations bring people closer to one another. Most people in small towns have been in the community all their lives, and this familiarity elevates neighbor relationships into a more intimate sentiment that comes closer to kinship.

Quite oppose to this amiable bond among rural resident community members, city residents find establishing friendship with their neighbors very difficult. They either are sheltered inside one of the small blocks in skyscrapers or fasten their pace on the street, keep their heads down to avoid eye-contact with strangers. The sense of indifference is pervaded into every corner of the city. Some people appreciate this indifference as a “polite, appropriate distance for respecting personal space;” others might criticize it for “the city has corrupted the benign essence of human beings” because people raise their vigilance out of distrust to one another.

“In a small town you leave your key to your neighbors and let them watch your dog, while in a big city you check your door lock all the time,” people say.


You never fail to find sweatpants and sneakers, or even PJs around a rural neighborhood. People don't care much about dressing, for they've known everyone in the town since they were born.

In big cities, however, you need to dress up everyday in order to fit into the crowd. You can’t help caring about your look in front of thousands of strangers on the street, even though you probably won’t see them ever again. You wear heels and dresses, or you suit up with cufflinks and ties before you feel confident enough to get yourself out there, presenting yourself in front of the whole city.


Transportation is completely different between cities and towns. In small towns, complex underground systems are not needed, and certainly no viaducts and highways are built every five steps. Streets are almost empty, even in rush hours. People use more cars, bikes and motorcycles instead of trying to get into a packed subway carriage. Buses comes every hour, sometimes every two hours, while in large cities, especially those in China, buses come every 5 minutes—and it’s still not enough.

6-Access to Commodities

Taking a bus for an hour and a half just to get to a Target is not fun at all. People tend to horde daily necessities and put “grocery shopping” in their monthly schedule. Online shopping also becomes one of the major means of getting household items.

Cities are certainly much more convenient. There’s a grocery store, if not a supermarket, on every block, and there never fails to be giant shopping malls with all the brands you can think of.

7-Daily Schedule

This difference is more easily spotted from opening hours of restaurants and shops. Though differing slightly from one another, normal stores in major cities close quite late, usually after 10. Restaurants usually close at midnight, or even later. In small towns, however, opening hours of stores and restaurants can sometimes be inconveniently short. This difference links directly to people’s time-table.

People living in rural areas get up at 7 and rest before 11. As I live and study in South Hadley, I gradually came to be adjusted to this time-table as well. While in big cities, especially New York, which has a reputation of being “the city that never sleeps,” nightlife is a major part of people’s lives. “When you want to get dinner, you make a reservation at 10,” keenly observed my friend, who has lived in NY for the past decade.


“All you see everyday are trees,” remarked one student who goes to college in South Hadley. This is solid fact. Woods, blue sky and twinkling stars are always around in rural towns, while in big cities, they are substituted by neon lights and concrete jungles. Rural environment has its tranquil atmosphere, but some people prefer the vibrancy of the city over this peacefulness.

Cover Image Credit: http://image.shutterstock.com/z/stock-vector-city-town-and-village-landscapes-in-modern-flat-primitive-style-vector-illustration-in-bright-230199868.jpg

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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9 Things To Do In Nashville If You Have No Idea What To Do

Trust me, I was just as lost as you are.


Nashville is a great place packed full of lots of really cool smaller great places that all offer their own unique take on the city. If you're like me, though, and have a hard time ~planning ahead~, then this list is exactly what you need. I went around and got lost and tried all the coolest hidden gems in Nashville so you don't have to. Here are some of my faves.

1. Milk & Honey Nashville

Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is the coffee shop/cafe from my dreams. It's decorated perfectly for any cute insta story and y'all when I say their coffee is amazing I mean it. Try it. It's so worth it, and pretty easy to find, too! You can browse their menus here.

2. Frothy Monkey Coffee Shop

While we're on the topic of coffee shops, Frothy Monkey is a MUST try. Trust me, I've drunk A LOT of coffee in my lifetime, and theirs is up in the top 10 of the best. They have other good things too, but if you're a coffee person like me, this place is heaven, I promise. It's right off 12th Avenue and within walking distance of lots of other funky little shops.

3. Two Old Hippies

This is the coolest little shop you will ever go into. Tucked away in the Gulch, it's within walking distance of Milk & Honey, so stop by after you grab a coffee and browse. They have everything from handmade clothes to cool books to refrigerator magnets. This is one of my all time favorites and I know you'll love it too.

4. Baked on 8th


I fell in love the second I saw the cute sign. Baked on 8th has a great atmosphere and even better little pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their cookies were so good it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go back and order 2 dozen. 12/10 would recommend if you're into Instagrammable locations and bomb sugar-filled desserts.

5. Burger Republic

I get it, you've gotta eat more than just cookies and coffee. As far as restaurants go, this place is home to the best burger I've ever eaten, plus the atmosphere is pretty laid back and great, and it's an awesome place to go and watch pretty much any sporting event happening anywhere relatively close to Nashville. Browse the menu so you can know exactly what to order before you even get there here.

6. Fido

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of coffee shops and cafes. Fido was the most perfect little spot. It boasts about its gourmet coffee and great food, and rightfully so. It's also got the coolest funky vibe that makes you just want to sit and stay all day, and it's in a great location and decently close to Vanderbilt.

7. Go see some murals

Nashville is FULL of these bad boys. I know y'all have all seen the countless pictures of those people with big butterfly wings. Well, there's more and they're all around the city and on the side of pretty much every building. It's cliche, but tbh it's also kind of a must do while you're there.

8. Walk around Centennial Park and the Parthenon

This is a really nice place to visit if you're looking to spend a couple of hours away from the concrete of the city, and the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the one in Greece.

9. Ride one of those little scooters around and explore


I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I did not ride the scooters. They seem kind of dangerous and I know without a doubt that if I tried to get on one it would not end well for me, the scooter, or anyone within a 3-mile radius. With that being said, though, I did see a lot of people riding them and it looked pretty fun, plus it's a great way to see the city without walking too much. So if you just want to explore, hop on one of these bad boys and pray.

Nashville is a great city full of tons of tourist attractions and amazing musical history, but if you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a couple of hours before your next walking tour, you're sure to find something on this list that you'll love. So, you're welcome.

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