Living in the Suburbs: The First 100 Days

As of today (because who knows when I’ll actually finish and publish this post), we have been living in the suburbs for 100 days. Here are some of my observations thus far:

  • Wow, there are a lot of teenagers here. They are literally everywhere – at the mall, the gym, the pizza place, the nail salon, in the middle of the street riding bikes or playing basketball, panhandling/fundraising for their football team on the side of the road or offering to wash your car for $5 to “Help the Marching Band.” They seem to be the most active demographic in this town and yet, I don’t recall seeing so many (if any) teenagers in NYC. Where were they all hiding? And good lord, what are these children wearing? Mr. S practically had to shield his eyes from embarrassment at the sight of all the butt cheeks hanging out of high waisted short shorts paired with crop tops parading through the mall. I’m no prude, but there is definitely a time and a place for outfits like that and the mall food court is not it.

Classy, not trashy. (Source: Glamour Magazine UK)

  • So, I already anticipated that this would be a problem before we officially immigrated to the suburbs, but the serious lack of diversity in take-out/delivery options is astounding. There are only three places featured on servicing our zip code and they are all terrible Chinese restaurants. We’ve slowly been discovering a wider array of take-out options: Peruvian chicken, Portuguese BBQ, sushi, etc., but the added effort of having to get in the car and drive to pick up our food pretty much defeats the whole point of having someone else make our dinner. #firstworldproblems
1/2 price sushi Monday-Thursday after 4:30pm.   #winner

1/2 price sushi Monday-Thursday after 4:30pm. #winner

  • On the other hand, the grocery stores here are downright lovely. In NYC, our only options were the overpriced Whole Foods, or the overcrowded shit show that is Fairway, or the dark and dingy Key Foods with very questionable produce and dusty canned goods. Wegmans and Target, you are a joy. Never change.

Look how BIG it is! (Source: Tripadvisor. Yeah, that’s how awesome Wegmans is…it’s a TRAVEL DESTINATION.)

  • We actually have to water the yard?? Like, isn’t that what rain is for?? And mosquitoes…FML.

So. much. nature. Ugh.

  • In stark contrast to NYC where strangers only talk to you if they are asking for money or directions, in the suburbs, strangers smile and say hello to you for no reason at all. My parents and I went for a stroll on the Greenway, a pedestrian path that runs through various towns, and along the way, my parents would greet other walkers, runners, and bikers “hello” or “good morning.” Sometimes the other party beat them to the punch and my mom and dad would enthusiastically respond. At first I wondered if they knew each other and would intensely examine each person looking for a familiar face, but no, I didn’t recognize any of these people and the conversation never went beyond a passing greeting. Once I realized this was the social norm, I attempted to do the neighborly thing and reciprocate, but alas, I couldn’t muster up more than a tight-lipped smile. I’m trying, I’m trying…

Source: Giphy

Underlying all the above is a peculiar weirdness in moving back to our hometown after being away for seven years, especially since in that span of time we’ve transitioned from less adult-like to more adult-like*. It’s like going back in time…but in the future…if that makes any sense. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to better put it into words, but suffice to say, there have been plenty of times where Mr. S and I are hit with a bout of nostalgia, followed very quickly by the realization that, “Crap, we are old.”

Example, driving past the local bowling alley:

Mr. S: Remember when we used to go on dates at the bowling alley?

Me: Yeah, maybe we should go again…what else is there to do around here.

< Sign outside the bowling alley reads “SIGN UP FOR A LEAGUE TODAY!” >

Both of us: Uhh…nevermind.

Overall, the move to the ‘burbs has definitely been an adjustment – perhaps warranted as new homeowners, but still surprising because, like I said, Mr. S and I are both more than familiar with the lay of the land. Let’s see how the next 100 days goes. Perhaps by then I’ll be doling out hugs to random strangers, donning a new team bowling shirt, and yelling at teenagers, “DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW YOU LEFT THE HOUSE WEARING THAT FACE TOWEL ACROSS YOUR CROTCH?!”

We shall see…

* In my eyes, the jury is still out on if we qualify as full-fledged adults, but I reluctantly accept the fact that by society’s standards (marriage, homeownership, insurance premiums, etc.), we are grown ups.


  1. says

    Hahaha, ahh the high waisted shorts bother me. My sister is 10 years younger than me and prancing around in them. They uh… don’t look good on anybody. Hah.

  2. says

    Adulting is a myth, I’ve come to believe, and directly related to the size of the stick up one’s high-waisted shorts 😉

    And I’m with you on the take-out options, even though Tallahassee was no NYC, Thomasville is definitely far less optioned than even that “bustling” metropolis was. But, like you, I think the good definitely outweighs the bad, most days. (Don’t get me started on the lack of a single 24 hour pharmacy, or even one open on Sunday evenings past 6!)

  3. Kelly says

    I’ve been reading since your Weddingbee blog and love your posts! Please keep them coming, especially the NYC to suburbs posts or anything Chunk-related 🙂

  4. says

    Hi Erika! I JUST finished reading your last post on WB.. I read every one. I realize that sounds creepy but you (and Gray Wolf) have been such a help to me in my own winter wedding planning, I can’t thank you enough. Looking forward to reading here too 🙂

    • says

      So happy to see you found me here! Gray Wolf was a huge inspiration for our own winter wedding, so I’m more than delighted to hear that I’m passing the favor forward. Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

  5. Lady J says

    1. I followed you from weddingbee because I loved your writing style…it’s even better here! You never fail to make me literally LOL.
    2. You’re Filipina and I spent 2 years there, I adore the culture and the people and miss it terribly.
    3. I was studying in a coffee shop on Sunday (yay?! nursing school.) and saw a pack/tribe of tween girls in short booty bearing shorts and 3 inch heels…I was ready to be like, “i’m gonna call your mama!” “Do you know what can happen to you?” <—-i am an old lady at 32.

  6. says

    Wegmans has long served as my gold standard in suburban grocery store excellence, but I confess to liking Fairway a tiny bit more because they had bigger selections of all the stuff I liked (olive oils, vinegars, cheeses, random canned seafood from Spain). In all fairness when we lived in Stamford we had the Stamford Fairway, and while it could be a shitshow during holidays and before hurricanes/snowstorms, I loved it because we lived so close to it. Even now when I’ve been back to New York for work I’ve been able to make a trek to the closest Fairway and stock up on my favorites, despite the fact that said favorites make my bag muuuuch heavier.

    • says

      I did enjoy Fairway when it wasn’t stuffed to the gills (which wasn’t very often). And yes, having a car to haul groceries home in is another wonderful suburban perk. And though I love Wegmans, I still long for a Trader Joe’s.

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