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Tell me about country vs city living


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I've lived in the same "city" my entire life.    Maybe not a real city to a lot of you, but there's 30K people.   I live on .2 acres and have 5 neighbors next to and behind me with lots smaller than that.   Our neighborhood is very dense    I've watched in horror as the area has become extremely popular the past 10 years.    It's been a bizarre thing to watch.  We have a huge number of tourists.   We used to have a 6 week tourist season,  and it's morphed into 7+ months, and so much more extensive.  We were just named one of the top 10 hot real estate markets in the country on a couple of different lists.  I've seen us on several lists of the best places to live in the country in the past few years.   This place was not "happening" growing up, and now it's relatively nuts.   My only point is, this isn't the normal march of time.   Our area has morphed into something else.

And it is BEAUTIFUL and the amenities are amazing and so is the neighborhood and everyone wants to live here.    But, DH and I have grown very unhappy here.   I hate to be all nostalgic and 87 years old, but this isn't the place we grew up in.  We keep trying to talk ourselves off the ledge and focus on the positives, but we've both just had it with the noise , busyness and traffic.   I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who moved more rurally recently and she said, "You guys are introverts, of course you hate it there now."   It felt like a light bulb moment to me.   This is a great place to live for a different personality.   You can't get any peace in a place like this with so many people crammed in, and so many people passing through.

We have no reason to stay here, and right now we're trying to plan our exit strategy.    I don't think in the middle of a pandemic is a good time, but I do think we'd like to move in a couple of years if we can.

At the very least I need to not be so close to the road, and have a bigger yard and some space.    I feel like if there was at least a little space between me and the neighbors (and fewer neighbors abutting me) it would help.   

But I am concerned about "country living".    Will I think it's going to be quiet and then snowmobiles go by us all winter and drive us crazy?   Are people going to get huge powerful speakers that shake my house even though we both have 3 acres?   Will the lack of having anything to do be untenable after living in the "big city" my whole life?   Do I want to be out in the boonies when I am getting old and feeble and it's just DH and I?   

I guess I am looking for any experiences you have, that you want to share.    Did you hate the city and so you moved rurally and you either love it or regret it?    Or vice versa?    Anything you wish someone had told you to think about before you moved?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Zebra said:

I've lived in the same "city" my entire life.    Maybe not a real city to a lot of you, but there's 30K people.   I live on .2 acres and have 5 neighbors next to and behind me with lots smaller than that.   Our neighborhood is very dense    I've watched in horror as the area has become extremely popular the past 10 years.    It's been a bizarre thing to watch.  We have a huge number of tourists.   We used to have a 6 week tourist season,  and it's morphed into 7+ months, and so much more extensive.  We were just named one of the top 10 hot real estate markets in the country on a couple of different lists.  I've seen us on several lists of the best places to live in the country in the past few years.   This place was not "happening" growing up, and now it's relatively nuts.   My only point is, this isn't the normal march of time.   Our area has morphed into something else.

And it is BEAUTIFUL and the amenities are amazing and so is the neighborhood and everyone wants to live here.    But, DH and I have grown very unhappy here.   I hate to be all nostalgic and 87 years old, but this isn't the place we grew up in.  We keep trying to talk ourselves off the ledge and focus on the positives, but we've both just had it with the noise , busyness and traffic.   I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who moved more rurally recently and she said, "You guys are introverts, of course you hate it there now."   It felt like a light bulb moment to me.   This is a great place to live for a different personality.   You can't get any peace in a place like this with so many people crammed in, and so many people passing through.

We have no reason to stay here, and right now we're trying to plan our exit strategy.    I don't think in the middle of a pandemic is a good time, but I do think we'd like to move in a couple of years if we can.

At the very least I need to not be so close to the road, and have a bigger yard and some space.    I feel like if there was at least a little space between me and the neighbors (and fewer neighbors abutting me) it would help.   

But I am concerned about "country living".    Will I think it's going to be quiet and then snowmobiles go by us all winter and drive us crazy?   Are people going to get huge powerful speakers that shake my house even though we both have 3 acres?   Will the lack of having anything to do be untenable after living in the "big city" my whole life?   Do I want to be out in the boonies when I am getting old and feeble and it's just DH and I?   

I guess I am looking for any experiences you have, that you want to share.    Did you hate the city and so you moved rurally and you either love it or regret it?    Or vice versa?    Anything you wish someone had told you to think about before you moved?

 

 

 

Places are very individual so that you might have a very different experience on Road 123 and Road Xyz even a few miles apart.  One might have snowmobiles one not. Individual neighbors come and go, and a quiet neighbor when you move in could sell out to a booming music one. 

 

I have loved some aspects of city living (generally bigger cities than yours), and disliked other aspects.  And vice versa. I love some aspects of rural living and dislike others. 

 

Things that can be issues ime in country can be hunting/shooting, off road vehicles, drugs, partying, noise of various sorts, animals, agricultural and timber chemicals, trash burning, wildfires, lack of services; distance to  city things such as stores, medical care etc., can be difficult to find help if needed...

 

Benefits can be space, animals, quiet, slower pace of life, greenery... 

 

the benefits list I made was shorter, but it prevails a greater percentage of time 

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I've lived in the "country" all my life. I literally live in the house I grew up in. We have 3.5 acres. I wouldn't live anywhere else. I love the privacy and the ability to do whatever I want on my own land. We are near to a couple of small towns/cities and a couple of decent-sized cities so pretty much whatever we want is within a short drive (30-40 minutes tops). I am an introvert and don't miss people at all. In fact I've been thinking about planting some more trees so I can't see the neighbor's house across the hill. 🙂 I definitely don't miss traffic. 

My sister lives in a huge city and, while I enjoy visiting her, I'd never in a million years live there.

Some things you might want to think about...

If you prefer to walk, use public transportation, bike, or otherwise avoid driving to pretty much everywhere, the country might not be for you. We do have folks out here who bike for fun but I think they're nuts. Curvy country roads and 55mph traffic are too scary for me to even think about riding a bike. The kids bike up and down our driveway.

Having several acres, even if it's just yard and not an actual farm or something, is a TON of upkeep. We spend every weekend mowing, trimming, pulling weeds, etc. And half our property is field, which we have someone else mow every few weeks in the warmer seasons (here, that's like 9-10 months of the year). We can easily drop $1k in pine needles to mulch our natural areas. If you don't like yard work, or yard expenses, the country might not be for you. 

If you aren't okay with the occasional dog (or other animal!) wandering across your property, potentially getting into your trash or your garden, etc., the country might not be for you. Speaking of which, if you like city services like trash pick-up, the country might not be for you. We have it here, but it's a private service. We haul our own trash and recycling to the county dump. There's no such thing as leaf pick-up or anything like that. We burn our yard debris. There's never not a burn pile on the edge of our property. 

We do have the occasional noise issue, like a party with loud music. That's happened exactly once that I can recall in the time I've lived here, and the sheriff showed up and put a stop to it. More often we get people shooting firearms, whether target practicing on their own property or hunting, or riding ATV's and dirt bikes and such. Typically these are far enough away as to not be bothersome. That's the benefit of having acreage. 

Those are just off the top of my head. I wouldn't live anywhere but out here, but out here's not for everybody!

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Around here we have faux country living and true country living.  Faux country living is just outside of town with .5 to 2 acres.  Maybe people have a couple of animals, or dirt bikes but more likely, a pool, garden and big yard.  Often their are still HOA's definitely still major building codes etc.  

Than their is really rural country living 5+ areas is typical hobbies farms or vineyards  Lots of kids on dirt bikes and atvs.  Strangely a lot of the houses aren't that private because of the house placement on lots.  Like our friends have 15 acres but their house is only a few hundred feet from their neighbors.

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Oh my goodness, you are bringing up so many good points.

I have always had city water and sewage and trash removal.   I call the ambulance and they come.

I complained on another thread earlier this summer about my neighbors who have been partying 3-4 nights a week.   It's slowed down now that it's getting into the 40s at night(THANKFULLY), but there are also things like Zumba classes going on at 8am on Saturday morning in the local park and it's ALLOWED.  And I don't mean someone is playing their radio, they are using an amplified speaker and BLARING it so hundreds of us have to listen to it pounding even though we are 1/3-1/2 mile away.   It's never quiet here.  Cars drive by all day, we hear the cars on the highway even though it's a good distance away, we hear planes and the oil tankers unloading fuel because we get all the oil for the area (which is actually less annoying than music).   Pre-covid there were big concerts across the bay, and we heard them pounding just about every weekend in the summer the past 5 or so years.    It's just gotten (relatively) louder and louder over the years.   

We have zero medical issues at this point in life, and my only DD is driving and in college right now.     So no issues there. 

I would miss all the walking I do.    Part of the reason I walk is for mental health, so maybe living in a quieter area would work better for that.   

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This is kind of an aside.  But I live in an urban neighborhood in a city in the heart of a 3.25 million person metro.  Our neighborhood is single family historic homes on smallish lots (but big enough for swing sets, tree houses, raised bed gardens, we have a 3 car garage), old style alleys, sidewalks.  Lots of parks.   And I just think the assessment that  an introvert would prefer urban vs rural living to be not necessarily accurate.  I know plenty of happy introverted urban dwellers who would never have interest in living out in the middle of no where.  There may be streets, or housing setups, or neighborhoods they prefer over others.  I guess my  point is, think of your families need, desires, transportation, employment needs and plan your housing toward that.

I know a smaller city where half the people walking around at any time are in vacation mode probably has a very particular vibe but that's different than urban vs. rural.

I actually know a number of people who moved to outside our metro with young kids in the 60-90 minute drive range from us.  And ended up regretting their of choice location by their kids teen years because they were in the car constantly.   So it might also depend the phase your kids are in and planning for their possible social and educational needs, etc as time goes on assuming you have kids at home.   Your ideal situation might be different after your kids leave the nest.  

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It sounds like you want maybe a small, less busy town. I  live in a village of 1000 people. There are a few shops, a cafe, a museum and a church.  We have next door neighbours, but at the end of the garden is a field. It's near larger towns and one hour from a big city. It doesn't feel busy but it's well connected. 

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It REALLY varies from place to place.  We sometimes get noise from AirBnB’ers, but the people who live on our immediate area rarely blast music. Sometimes dh and a guy down the street have playlist battles while doing yard work. I *think it’s all in good fun.

My biggest complaint is fireworks. And they’re not even permitted here.

I drive a LOT in non-pandemic times. My mom, who lives in a suburb of a major US city, likes to make fun of how far I have to drive for things, but most places take the same amount of time as they do for her!  I just don’t have a ton of traffic and a million traffic lights.  I can, however, get stuck behind school busses and tractors that slow me down.

It sucks not having mail delivered to the house, but all non-USPS deliveries to come to our door.

Keeping animals out of trash is difficult and/or expensive.

Emergencies of all kinds are more difficult.

Keeping wooded areas healthy is a LOT of work. Cutting trees is dangerous work.

Sparsely populated areas tend to be at the bottom of electricity restoration priority lists.

Not having water bills (in or out) is fantastic.  Replacing well and septic pumps is not.

We live in a development where ATVs aren’t allowed off of private property and our lots aren’t really big enough to have fun with them.  If we lived elsewhere in our township, my kids would probably be riding all sorts of things all the time. (Well, reasonable hours of the day, and on their own property.)
 

Honestly, it took me forever to adapt, and I didn’t think I’d ever fall in love with it. I woke up one day completely shocked to realize that this area is where I want to stay... but on a more “country” property than we’re on now.

 

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1 hour ago, Zebra said:

I've lived in the same "city" my entire life.    Maybe not a real city to a lot of you, but there's 30K people.   I live on .2 acres and have 5 neighbors next to and behind me with lots smaller than that.   Our neighborhood is very dense    I've watched in horror as the area has become extremely popular the past 10 years.    It's been a bizarre thing to watch.  We have a huge number of tourists.   We used to have a 6 week tourist season,  and it's morphed into 7+ months, and so much more extensive.  We were just named one of the top 10 hot real estate markets in the country on a couple of different lists.  I've seen us on several lists of the best places to live in the country in the past few years.   This place was not "happening" growing up, and now it's relatively nuts.   My only point is, this isn't the normal march of time.   Our area has morphed into something else.

And it is BEAUTIFUL and the amenities are amazing and so is the neighborhood and everyone wants to live here.    But, DH and I have grown very unhappy here.   I hate to be all nostalgic and 87 years old, but this isn't the place we grew up in.  We keep trying to talk ourselves off the ledge and focus on the positives, but we've both just had it with the noise , busyness and traffic.   I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who moved more rurally recently and she said, "You guys are introverts, of course you hate it there now."   It felt like a light bulb moment to me.   This is a great place to live for a different personality.   You can't get any peace in a place like this with so many people crammed in, and so many people passing through.

We have no reason to stay here, and right now we're trying to plan our exit strategy.    I don't think in the middle of a pandemic is a good time, but I do think we'd like to move in a couple of years if we can.

At the very least I need to not be so close to the road, and have a bigger yard and some space.    I feel like if there was at least a little space between me and the neighbors (and fewer neighbors abutting me) it would help.   

But I am concerned about "country living".    Will I think it's going to be quiet and then snowmobiles go by us all winter and drive us crazy?   Are people going to get huge powerful speakers that shake my house even though we both have 3 acres?   Will the lack of having anything to do be untenable after living in the "big city" my whole life?   Do I want to be out in the boonies when I am getting old and feeble and it's just DH and I?   

I guess I am looking for any experiences you have, that you want to share.    Did you hate the city and so you moved rurally and you either love it or regret it?    Or vice versa?    Anything you wish someone had told you to think about before you moved?

 

 

I grew up in the country, then lived in cities, then moved back to the country as fast as I could. I love it and absolutely need to have lots of space and privacy. We have no neighbors for miles around - can't see anyone and can't hear them either (except for their cows - which I don't mind).

Addressing your bolded question - if you don't want to hear your neighbors, buy as much land as you can. If you have a 3 acre lot and are next to someone with a 3 acre lot, you are going to hear them. That isn't a whole lot of space between you, and sound carries in the country. 

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8 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

 And I just think the assessment that  an introvert would prefer urban vs rural living to be not necessarily accurate.

 

I agree with you.   If you can find a situation where you can get peace and quiet inside your house maybe you could handle city life better.   I do think that introverts at some point need to get away from it all and recharge.   My house is small, not soundproofed and inadequate for our needs on several levels.   If I could find or afford a better house in a city I might be able to build up the stamina to handle everything else.

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3 minutes ago, Selkie said:

Addressing your bolded question - if you don't want to hear your neighbors, buy as much land as you can. If you have a 3 acre lot and are next to someone with a 3 acre lot, you are going to hear them. That isn't a whole lot of space between you, and sound carries in the country. 

A lot is literally up to how the wind blows, too. I might not even notice a neighbor’s party one day, then hear way too much of a conversation another.  I don’t have multiple acres, but the principle still applies. The coyotes I hear everyday are many, many acres away!

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12 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Sparsely populated areas tend to be at the bottom of electricity restoration priority lists.

Not having water bills (in or out) is fantastic.  Replacing well and septic pumps is not.

Definitely true. We have county water (so no well, although we have one on our property). But septic can be a huge ordeal.

We have only one internet provider out here. Take it or leave it. Except for the sheriff, emergency services are volunteer, so response time may be slow (although we have excellent and dedicated volunteers).

We do have mail service (USPS and shipping companies). But we are low on the totem pole when it comes to scraping our roads when it snows. Of course that's a slow process here in the South anyway!

Edited by PeachyDoodle
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11 minutes ago, Zebra said:

Oh my goodness, you are bringing up so many good points.

I have always had city water and sewage and trash removal.   I call the ambulance and they come.

 

Where I am water is from a well.  Sewage is a septic system. I have a private company that serves this area that I pay for garbage and recycling pick up - others go to dump. 

 

If the electric goes out the water doesn’t flow since pump is electric .

 

if something doesn’t work I have to figure out how to fix it or find someone.  

 

11 minutes ago, Zebra said:

I complained on another thread earlier this summer about my neighbors who have been partying 3-4 nights a week.   It's slowed down now that it's getting into the 40s at night(THANKFULLY), but there are also things like Zumba classes going on at 8am on Saturday morning in the local park and it's ALLOWED.  And I don't mean someone is playing their radio, they are using an amplified speaker and BLARING it so hundreds of us have to listen to it pounding even though we are 1/3-1/2 mile away.   It's never quiet here.  Cars drive by all day, we hear the cars on the highway even though it's a good distance away, we hear planes and the oil tankers unloading fuel because we get all the oil for the area (which is actually less annoying than music).   Pre-covid there were big concerts across the bay, and we heard them pounding just about every weekend in the summer the past 5 or so years.    It's just gotten (relatively) louder and louder over the years.   

 

It’s less quiet here than I had anticipated, but much quieter than that!

And I know people who live on dirt tracks off of paved roads where it is quieter yet.

 

11 minutes ago, Zebra said:

We have zero medical issues at this point in life, and my only DD is driving and in college right now.     So no issues there. 

I would miss all the walking I do.    Part of the reason I walk is for mental health, so maybe living in a quieter area would work better for that.   

 

Walking is great where I am a lot of the time.  Best walking place I have lived. Not to get anywhere like when I lived in NYC or London, but just to walk in nature. We happen to live in a particularly good walking area because there are logging roads beyond us.  As long as there isn’t a logging operation or hunting it is good for daytime walks. People drive to here to walk, or ride horses—but I can stick a leash on my dog and just head on out.   Flip side is that some of the problems are due to people attracted to those same areas.  Young adults and teens have come from a city to party / do drugs .  (A night time usually weekend problem.) Also illegal trash dumping can be a problem.   Pet dumping can also be a problem, but some of us have acquired cats or dogs that way. 

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I live in a big city 1.5 million, but I live in the suburbs of that city. I'm a good 30 minutes from city center. I have 0.5 lot in a quiet neighborhood where the neighbors are there yet I have no idea if anyone is home because we can't really see if anyone is home because of how the homes are situated. However, there are neighborhoods within walking distance where it feels quite different: traffic, noise, denisty, etc. So it is possible to find pockets that would make you happier. I decided long ago that I don't like dealing with critters. I once lived right up against the hills and had all kinds of wildlife and pest issues. I don't want to deal with upkeep of a large acreage. I really love having water and sewage, and good internet access and being close enough to a good hospital and fire services. 

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Well, technically we live in the country, but the fact that I can see lights from the neighbors 2 miles away makes me sad. We're on a section and it's not big enough! If I hear a truck at night it means that someone has driven into the driveway and roused the dogs. The dogs bark much of the night to warn off the coyotes. If I DON'T hear the coyotes, it means a bear or lion is around. Water and septic are no big deal. We keep water storage for when the REA is out, and of course, we can always fire up a generator. Septic isn't a bother as we know what can and can not go down it. We have a pump since the county requires it, but when the REA is out, it fills and goes out to the old line which is about 5" higher. We don't always get plowed out, but that's what 4WD is for. If I still can't get out, I suppose I should just stay home! We have trespasser problems, with crazed mountain bikers cutting the fence. Lovely. And some drunk college student takes out the front fence every so often. We probably produce more noise than the neighbors when we wean in the fall. 

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I think it's really about the specific area.  Our first jobs after grad school were in a city with around 600,000 people.  Most lived in houses but lots were tiny (0.1-0.2 acres).  There were sidewalks and little parks everywhere, but it was still the kind of place where most people drove (instead of taking public transportation).  There were several museums that we enjoyed taking the kids to, and the weather was amenable to making a lot of use of the sidewalks.  We lived centrally and could get to either side of town in around 30 minutes.  Yard maintenance took about 20 minutes a week.  Everything was city - sewer, water, trash - and we had a HOA.  

We moved to be closer to family and are in a city of 450,000.  But, this city is more of an 'area' - there is the city proper with a downtown area, but we live in an unincorporated area on 3.5 acres.  There are subdivisions, houses on 2-5 acres, and a few little farms with 10-20 acres.  We give directions by saying that our house is where the road goes from being 2 lanes to being 1.5 lanes (ie cars can slow down and pass, but there's no yellow line in the middle).  But, we are also only 1.5 miles from a hospital, a busy road with 2 big grocery stores, and tons of fast food.  It's a unique situation and we absolutely love it.  But, we hear interstate noise sometimes.  If our neighbors were loud, we'd know about it (they are lovely).  There are no sidewalks to walk on, although we can drive 10 minutes and be at parks or greenways with walking trails.  But, we can do a lot of walking on our property (4 laps, or 19 up-and-downs on the driveway is a mile).  Cutting the grass on the big riding mower takes my husband a minimum of 2 hours, and the garden takes a ton of work.  We don't really do landscaping except right around the house and the work it takes to maintain the berries and fruit trees (which, at some times of the year, is several hours every weekend).  Other people in our area live in neighborhoods with small lots, walkable streets, and community pools.  We get much of our meat from local farmers, so we know within 20 minutes there are working farms.  There are no other hospitals within 3 hours to the north (but several more scattered around town) so we sometimes hear life flight helicopters bringing in patients to either our hospital (the closest) or the university medical center (the trauma center).  Because we're in the county, we have different water (but it's not a well) and a septic tank that we have to maintain.  We pay for subscription fire service and pay for trash pickup (others take theirs to the dump)...but we don't pay city taxes.  Having had a house fire, I can say that the response time and professionalism of our fire crews is good.  🙂  

I can't really say that one lifestyle is better than the other, and if we lived in a different place in either town we would have had a different lifestyle than what we experienced.  But, we were happy in both and everything came down to specifics - did we have good neighbors, like the location, find what we needed to be nearby, etc?  

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1 hour ago, PeachyDoodle said:

 

Having several acres, even if it's just yard and not an actual farm or something, is a TON of upkeep. We spend every weekend mowing, trimming, pulling weeds, etc. And half our property is field, which we have someone else mow every few weeks in the warmer seasons (here, that's like 9-10 months of the year). We can easily drop $1k in pine needles to mulch our natural areas. If you don't like yard work, or yard expenses, the country might not be for you. 

Well, we Live on 15 acres but only do upkeep on the yard and once in awhile pull weeds along the fence next to the road, so that’s a more individual thing, I think. DH does his own mowing with the tractor and shredder on the field, but not nearly as often. So I guess figure out how much you would feel necessary, or how much people in your area do, and figure out if it would be worth it.

For me the big disadvantage to the country is the driving to do anything. Every activity has 30-40 minutes driving time tacked on, 15-20 there, 15-30 back. If you get there and something is canceled or closed, it can be really frustrating. And I spend a lot of time waiting around between things because it isn’t worth driving home.

but if you live rurally enough, noisy neighbors aren’t a problem, because speakers big enough to be a disruption don’t exist. 🙂

i love the peace and quiet, I love never dealing with a HOA. I love the outdoors.

A drawback is that if there’s an emergency, help takes a very long time to arrive. 

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I prefer "country living" as far as most things go, but it can make it harder to enjoy cultural things if you're into that.  Also, you may have to drive everywhere - public transportation will be limited or non-existent, as will the number of walking-distance options.

I remember my 9th grade teacher who had just moved from New York to our rural village.  His biggest complaint was the smell of manure.  He was like, "[My friend] is all 'ahh, breathe that fresh air,' but I can't get used to it."  (I assume he eventually did get used to it, considering that he still lives there.)

The thing I like most is the personal space.  You can play your piano - or holler at your kids - at any hour without the neighbors caring.

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37 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

Well, technically we live in the country, but the fact that I can see lights from the neighbors 2 miles away makes me sad. 

We have an opposite situation - we used to be able to see one light at night, a pole light at the farm that is 2-3 miles away from us down in the valley. I could lie in bed at night and tell if it was snowing by whether or not I could see the light shining. Then they got rid of it, so now I have to get my butt out of bed and look out the window to see what the weather is doing. Such a pain!🙂

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It really depends on the area. We lived rurally before and the people who lived behind us, with a huge field between, would have jam sessions and practice one song over & over all night long every weekend. We lived in several subdivisions and always had issues with people and their dogs. Letting them run around, not cleaning up their poop, and the constant barking. We live rural again. The cow farmer next door is great. His cows came through his fencing onto our property, which isn't fenced, and he fixed it right away. We let our field grow and he cuts & bales it for his cows. I've only had to chase off dogs 3 times and they were all different dogs. Chased them off by just hollering for them to go home. There is a lot of big truck traffic on our road because of the chicken farms past us but it's not constant. Overall, we love living rural.

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We are in the same state, right?

I don’t want to give away our town publicly, but it’s a perfect combination of urban (for Maine haha) and rural. 10 minute bike ride to the country and the Bay, fewer than that to downtown. Walking neighbourhood in town, but quiet. Close to the freeway but can’t hear it. All amenities, excellent medical care. We don’t have a trader joes, but whole foods delivers! 
 

We have some terrific smaller towns in the state. Maybe your choice doesn’t have to be city or country, KWIM?

 

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The biggest drawback is driving. I live between a small town and huge city.  I'm 15 minutes from all the shopping that I personally need. My friends who live out in the country drive 45 minutes to an hour to get to co-op twice a week, grocery stores are an hour away, doctors visits, therapy services, etc are all a drive of at least an hour. For families with kids who want to have any sort of social life, play sports etc OR If you have kids that have special needs and need to visit therapists, then living in the country means driving  A LOT. I grew up in the country, and really loved it, however there's no way I would trade driving 2 to 3 hours every day to get places for living 15 minutes from amenities at this point in my life. 

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So much depends on what you call country living.  Here you can be 10-15 minutes from town and have a 40 acres farm or a smaller hobby farm.  

Zoning is so key...so check, double check, and recheck it.   Rural fire/medical response might be on a volunteer basis.  But when we were rural we lived only 35 minutes from a major trauma center and top notch children's hospital.

Also consider noise and smells from farms if you are in farm country.  They will spread manure.  When crops need to be planted or harvested, tractors might be running 24 hours a day.  Deer, coyotes and other animals can be an issues...or not.

If you like walking or biking, consider the roads and area you would have to do so.  Most rural areas don't have sidewalks or bike paths bit do have twisty narrow roads with 55mph speed limits. 

I lived rural for almost all of my first 48 years of life ans loved it.  Now we are in a quiet subdivision of 5 houses just 1 block from a major bike path network (soon I will be able to bike to my friends house 120+ miles away on it)

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I love living rural and grew up in the country. We had a hobby farm when I was little and then my parents bought the family working farm when I was 14.  
 

DH and I lived in town during college and a total of eight years-ish of 25. I never minded living in town at all, but we’re country people.  DH lived in town his whole life.  We’ve always had a big dog, outdoor pets, fire pit, etc. 

Perks: My kids are slightly feral. Nobody’s yard touches mine. Trespassing dogs don’t happen. They can yell and holler and play. Tonight we’re having a movie outdoors. It will be nice and dark. Plenty of space to plant anything I want. I can have goats. 
 

Cons: My kids are slightly feral. It’s more yard care so if you don’t love it, take note. It’s hard for folks that are used to driving ten minutes. It’s between 25-30 minutes from our homeschool program. The kids take turns hosting a third practice every week. Often my kiddos wish it could be here but most parents really don’t want to drive 25 minutes out twice in one night.... And to that end, me either. I drive for play, classes, mock trial, play dates, to go out to eat, to the .... fill in the blank. And obviously gas is a line item in the budget because all this driving is in a fifteen passenger van. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Snow - we are not plowed out ASAP. I actually like this but some don’t. 
 

We have gotten rid of our goats and our dogs died. With my limitations, we’re considering moving in, but I worry that I would hate it. I like that my kids really do go play outside. 

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Noise can be an issue in the country....dirt bikes, quads, monster/mud running trucks, parties, dogs, snowmobiles, etc.   

I would suggest visiting the areas you are looking at during different times....a Saturday evening, during the week, etc

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This will probably vary depending on where you live.  My town has 28K people in it, but I'm outside of the city limits in the middle of nowhere, so it's still very much "country".  The major tax revenue source in my town is manufacturing, not entertainment, which means things are overall quiet.  No one comes here for vacation, lol. Absolutely zero tourism.  No traffic.  There's nothing to do.  There's no shopping district, only a handful of mediocre restaurants, and 1 movie theater.  There's a college in town, but you wouldn't know it.  There are no bars in town, either.  Like, maybe there's one or two restaurants that have a "bar area", but that's it. 

It sounds like maybe your current town's tax revenue comes from vacation and entertainment? If that is the case, then you'll always be dealing with crowds at various times of the year, no matter how much land you own. Your solution might be to move to an area that is not a tourism destination.  You'd still have the amenities that matter to you with less people flocking for vacation.

Something to keep in mind regarding country living is that you would likely be outside of city limits.  No city services will be available.  Internet may be limited, and you may only be able to get satellite tv. Fire and EMS will take longer to get to you, (and you may pay a premium on your home insurance if you don't have a hydrant and station nearby).  You will probably need a generator, in case the power goes out. 

You have to pay a service to come and pick up trash, (ours is inexpensive, about $60 a quarter), but you'll have cheap neighbors who won't want to pay it and will burn their trash instead.  Since we're outside of city limits, there is no enforcement of "community standards", so some people leave old appliances out in their yards to rust and rot rather than pay the dump to take them, and there's nothing you can do about it until it becomes a big enough nuisance that the county has to get involved, (and it takes a LOT to get the county involved). People will come from other towns and dump trash at the end of your country roads.  People dump pets they don't want, and animal control won't get involved because it's outside the city limits.    

Oh, and something we learned the hard way during the pandemic: our county does not have a health department!         

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6 hours ago, Zebra said:

 Are people going to get huge powerful speakers that shake my house even though we both have 3 acres? 

Haha, we live just outside the city enough that we can have chickens etc. and just close enough that we can be to Walmart in 5 minutes. Basically it's the best of the both worlds. Except that once a year when our neighbor a ways off has a Big Party and does just that, blasting music. Each year I want to call the cops and each year dh reminds me it's just once a year.

I say move, get where you want to be. But keep the house you've got and rent it out with a property manager. Property values are clearly moving up, so you don't want to miss out on that. 

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I'd encourage you to think of it less as city vs country, and be open to the many areas of compromise in between. I live 15 minutes outside of DC, and can walk to a bus stop that will take me anywhere in the greater DC area. However, we also live like we are in the country. We have 5 acres, some of our neighbors have 100 acres. We had a hobby farm at one point. I can't hear the highway or city noises, but I can hear the jets from the Air Force Base nearby. I get many of the benefits of city living (water, trash, short drives, public transit) but also many of the benefits of country living. I cannot see my neighbors' houses except from one far corner of my yard, I have room and land, and it is fairly quiet and peaceful. But I'm also only 5 minutes away from a hospital, and 20 minutes away from a full-service hospital, I get mail, deliveries, etc. without problem. 

I will say I could never move back to my house being close to a neighbors'. But I also don't love the thought of being so far away from city life and conveniences to move out to the "real" country. Also we are not a "town," just a random road in the suburbs that used to be old farmland, most people don't know the area exists, because it's about 12 houses. I highly recommend seeing if you can find a "best of both worlds" area for you.

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7 hours ago, Zebra said:

I've lived in the same "city" my entire life.    Maybe not a real city to a lot of you, but there's 30K people.   I live on .2 acres and have 5 neighbors next to and behind me with lots smaller than that.   Our neighborhood is very dense    I've watched in horror as the area has become extremely popular the past 10 years.    It's been a bizarre thing to watch.  We have a huge number of tourists.   We used to have a 6 week tourist season,  and it's morphed into 7+ months, and so much more extensive.  We were just named one of the top 10 hot real estate markets in the country on a couple of different lists.  I've seen us on several lists of the best places to live in the country in the past few years.   This place was not "happening" growing up, and now it's relatively nuts.   My only point is, this isn't the normal march of time.   Our area has morphed into something else.

And it is BEAUTIFUL and the amenities are amazing and so is the neighborhood and everyone wants to live here.    But, DH and I have grown very unhappy here.   I hate to be all nostalgic and 87 years old, but this isn't the place we grew up in.  We keep trying to talk ourselves off the ledge and focus on the positives, but we've both just had it with the noise , busyness and traffic.   I had a very interesting conversation with a friend who moved more rurally recently and she said, "You guys are introverts, of course you hate it there now."   It felt like a light bulb moment to me.   This is a great place to live for a different personality.   You can't get any peace in a place like this with so many people crammed in, and so many people passing through.

We have no reason to stay here, and right now we're trying to plan our exit strategy.    I don't think in the middle of a pandemic is a good time, but I do think we'd like to move in a couple of years if we can.

At the very least I need to not be so close to the road, and have a bigger yard and some space.    I feel like if there was at least a little space between me and the neighbors (and fewer neighbors abutting me) it would help.   

But I am concerned about "country living".    Will I think it's going to be quiet and then snowmobiles go by us all winter and drive us crazy?   Are people going to get huge powerful speakers that shake my house even though we both have 3 acres?   Will the lack of having anything to do be untenable after living in the "big city" my whole life?   Do I want to be out in the boonies when I am getting old and feeble and it's just DH and I?   

I guess I am looking for any experiences you have, that you want to share.    Did you hate the city and so you moved rurally and you either love it or regret it?    Or vice versa?    Anything you wish someone had told you to think about before you moved?

 

 

I've lived in both.  The "city" (almost 100,000) I live in has grown a bit since we've moved here, but our neighborhood was already fully developed, so the view from my house hasn't changed at all.  My lot is only 1/5th an acre, but my neighbors are quiet and keep to themselves.  We're on a cul-de-sac so traffic isn't really a thing.  

Even though I'm close to my neighbors I STILL prefer it to country living.  I like to garden when I FEEL like it, but we're not the type to enjoy caring for acreage.  I can skip yard work for weeks on end and still stay on top of it with my little battery operated push mower.  My snow shoveling duties are pretty limited with a short suburban driveway.  Grocery trips are NOT long excursions and there are a LOT of choices.  Often, services are more plentiful AND cost less because of local competition. I spend way less on gas and city services are a given. I can get everything delivered and I'm very close to health/fire services should we have an emergency.  Country living is pretty, but it comes with more physical labor, isolation, and inconvenience than we want at this stage of the game.

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11 hours ago, MEmama said:

We are in the same state, right?

I don’t want to give away our town publicly, but it’s a perfect combination of urban (for Maine haha) and rural. 10 minute bike ride to the country and the Bay, fewer than that to downtown. Walking neighbourhood in town, but quiet. Close to the freeway but can’t hear it. All amenities, excellent medical care. We don’t have a trader joes, but whole foods delivers! 
 

We have some terrific smaller towns in the state. Maybe your choice doesn’t have to be city or country, KWIM?

 

If Whole Foods delivers to you than I probably can't afford the area, lol.   

 

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28 minutes ago, Zebra said:

If Whole Foods delivers to you than I probably can't afford the area, lol.   

 

Ha! They started delivering when the pandemic hit. Best.thing.ever. Lol
If you own a home where I think you live, you can afford my town. 🙂 
Feel free to pm me if you want. 

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I have lived in suburbs and then a "faux country" town.  The faux country was really nice -- still a planned development but the houses were spaced out and there were so many trails.  However it is definitely expanding now, after years of slow growth, so I'm sure it will end up crowded and noisy.  It's growth is mismanaged as well - they are allowing lots of housing development without enough supporting infrastructure.  We ended up moving anyway because I wanted to get back to the other coast in a bigger suburb.  And of course miss the quiet now! ha. I have decided wherever I am I need to just focus on the positives because I do always tend to be a glass is half empty person.  That's not the way to contentment! 

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17 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

This is kind of an aside.  But I live in an urban neighborhood in a city in the heart of a 3.25 million person metro.  Our neighborhood is single family historic homes on smallish lots (but big enough for swing sets, tree houses, raised bed gardens, we have a 3 car garage), old style alleys, sidewalks.  Lots of parks.   And I just think the assessment that  an introvert would prefer urban vs rural living to be not necessarily accurate.  I know plenty of happy introverted urban dwellers who would never have interest in living out in the middle of no where.  There may be streets, or housing setups, or neighborhoods they prefer over others.  I guess my  point is, think of your families need, desires, transportation, employment needs and plan your housing toward that.

I know a smaller city where half the people walking around at any time are in vacation mode probably has a very particular vibe but that's different than urban vs. rural.

I actually know a number of people who moved to outside our metro with young kids in the 60-90 minute drive range from us.  And ended up regretting their of choice location by their kids teen years because they were in the car constantly.   So it might also depend the phase your kids are in and planning for their possible social and educational needs, etc as time goes on assuming you have kids at home.   Your ideal situation might be different after your kids leave the nest.  

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I’m in a fairly dense neighborhood but it’s also pretty quiet. I’d call myself noise sensitive. 
 

I could never do actual country living. I’m too spoiled by the convenience of the suburbs. 
 

To the OP- if you’re going to move, I would actually do it soon. You can’t beat these interest rates. 

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15 hours ago, MEmama said:

We are in the same state, right?

I don’t want to give away our town publicly, but it’s a perfect combination of urban (for Maine haha) and rural. 10 minute bike ride to the country and the Bay, fewer than that to downtown. Walking neighbourhood in town, but quiet. Close to the freeway but can’t hear it. All amenities, excellent medical care. We don’t have a trader joes, but whole foods delivers! 
 

We have some terrific smaller towns in the state. Maybe your choice doesn’t have to be city or country, KWIM?

 

 

I live in a smallish town in Maine, and previously lived in a slightly bigger but still small town in a different state. It's a night and day difference, but not because of the size. The larger town had more people, but it didn't have any amenities other than the grocery store, there were no book shops or clothing stores, and it was just a drag. The main street was run down and had lots of empty store fronts. Now in this smaller town, I have at least one of everything that I could want. DH and I made a list of things that we really wanted from a town, and luckily were able to find a place to rent in one that fit the bill. On our list we had: at least one coffee shop where we could sit and work, a nice grocery store, library, bookshop, a handful of restaurants that we would enjoy, within driving distance of certain outdoor areas, etc. Having the list helped to narrow things down.

In our bigger but worse previous town, I went into the library the day I moved there. I was so excited to meet new people and become part of the town, and went up to the librarian at the counter and said, "Hi! I just moved in and I'm so excited to get a library card!"  She just looked at me without smiling and said, "Do you have identification?" Ugh! Right away I had a feeling... hmmm... these may not be kindred spirits. I suggest going into shops/library/restaurants to get a feel for the culture in different towns. 

In addition to the town having the things you need to fit your lifestyle, I think it's the particular area/neighborhood that makes the difference. My neighborhood is mostly middle aged to elderly people and I LOVE it because noise of any kind makes me crazy. I'm fine with lawnmowers and people chatting with friends on patios, but any kind of unexpected party, random loud music... no. My skin crawls just thinking about it! 

It's hard because you can't control your neighbors. You could move to the country and have someone super loud down the road, or you could live in a neighborhood with .3 acre lots, like mine, and never hear anything. We're trying to decide if we should buy our current house in the lovely neighborhood, despite the fact that the house is too small, or risk buying something bigger with unknown neighbors. 

Could you make a list of towns you like, or potential towns, and just go cruising every weekend? That would be fun 🙂

Moving during a pandemic is actually a pretty good idea, at least for selling your house. My friend put her house on the market and it was sold in three days. We're not even in a super fancy location. Houses around here are going for $10/20k more than the selling price because out of staters are wanting to move. Of course, that makes it hard for buyers, but if you're going from a hot market to a less hot one, it could really work out in your favor. You could be somewhere better by Christmas!! 🙂 

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42 minutes ago, Kanin said:

 

I live in a smallish town in Maine, and previously lived in a slightly bigger but still small town in a different state. It's a night and day difference, but not because of the size. The larger town had more people, but it didn't have any amenities other than the grocery store, there were no book shops or clothing stores, and it was just a drag. The main street was run down and had lots of empty store fronts. Now in this smaller town, I have at least one of everything that I could want. DH and I made a list of things that we really wanted from a town, and luckily were able to find a place to rent in one that fit the bill. On our list we had: at least one coffee shop where we could sit and work, a nice grocery store, library, bookshop, a handful of restaurants that we would enjoy, within driving distance of certain outdoor areas, etc. Having the list helped to narrow things down.

In our bigger but worse previous town, I went into the library the day I moved there. I was so excited to meet new people and become part of the town, and went up to the librarian at the counter and said, "Hi! I just moved in and I'm so excited to get a library card!"  She just looked at me without smiling and said, "Do you have identification?" Ugh! Right away I had a feeling... hmmm... these may not be kindred spirits. I suggest going into shops/library/restaurants to get a feel for the culture in different towns. 

In addition to the town having the things you need to fit your lifestyle, I think it's the particular area/neighborhood that makes the difference. My neighborhood is mostly middle aged to elderly people and I LOVE it because noise of any kind makes me crazy. I'm fine with lawnmowers and people chatting with friends on patios, but any kind of unexpected party, random loud music... no. My skin crawls just thinking about it! 

It's hard because you can't control your neighbors. You could move to the country and have someone super loud down the road, or you could live in a neighborhood with .3 acre lots, like mine, and never hear anything. We're trying to decide if we should buy our current house in the lovely neighborhood, despite the fact that the house is too small, or risk buying something bigger with unknown neighbors. 

Could you make a list of towns you like, or potential towns, and just go cruising every weekend? That would be fun 🙂

Moving during a pandemic is actually a pretty good idea, at least for selling your house. My friend put her house on the market and it was sold in three days. We're not even in a super fancy location. Houses around here are going for $10/20k more than the selling price because out of staters are wanting to move. Of course, that makes it hard for buyers, but if you're going from a hot market to a less hot one, it could really work out in your favor. You could be somewhere better by Christmas!! 🙂 

The bolded reminds me of when we moved to a small community in the province up the coast.  DS was 5 and the very first thing he wanted to do was check out the library. We had moved from a city with an enormous, incredible library, one where the Librarians knew him and gave him free reign in the transportation section of the middle school type books (his obsession). Our library was his sanctuary and being an urban kid he had high hopes.

Like you, it was a warning when we first walked into our community branch. DS looked to the right, then the left, then up at me and simply said,” Mama, where’s the rest of it?”. I think I knew then it just wasn’t going to work out for us there. (That the Librarians were rude, most of the books were from before 1960 and anything remotely interesting was in French didn’t help). 
 

I agree—hopefully the OP can take some road trips this fall and check out the vibes of some of our cute towns! 
 

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2 hours ago, Kanin said:

🙂

. Houses around here are going for $10/20k more than the selling price because out of staters are wanting to move. 🙂 

I can't even describe what is going on here.    We just had a house listed at a ridiculous price a few down from us, and someone paid $53,000 more than it was listed for.    WAAAAAAAAAAY too much money.   After a summer of just more and more ridiculous house prices, this really took the cake.  Several local realtors have said they have NEVER seen anything like this.   Houses in Mass and New York are much more expensive, so people think they are getting a good deal.   And people are flocking here because it's "safer".   Which I am not sure is true.    I'm not sure we've actually been hit with Covid yet, I'm concerned about what will happen up here this winter.   

And I am also concerned that the housing market will crash, and it will be very bad.  Everyone panicking is making everything a mess in the future.

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Another thought - depends on your area, but pavement.  The road by our house is dirt.  We have four wheel drive vehicles, And it’s a pretty dry area, but a few times a year we really have to minimize trips in and out because of the mud, and if I have people invited for a visit and it rains I have to cancel unless they also are country people with four wheel drive.

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We live a rural lifestyle in a large lot suburban neighborhood (ours is 1.3 acres, there are 42 houses in the neighborhood) in the greater Raleigh area. Across the street from our neighborhood entrance is rural property where some people raise cattle, grow crops, and others have an equine rescue. The nearest grocery store is 10 minutes away. The highway is 1.5 miles away and it's a 10 minute drive to 2 different interstates.  I think that's a great option for people who want access to city life as needed, without being in the thick of it every day.  It's 30 min. to downtown Raleigh assuming it's not rush hour.
 

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4 hours ago, Zebra said:

I can't even describe what is going on here.    We just had a house listed at a ridiculous price a few down from us, and someone paid $53,000 more than it was listed for.    WAAAAAAAAAAY too much money.   After a summer of just more and more ridiculous house prices, this really took the cake.  Several local realtors have said they have NEVER seen anything like this.   Houses in Mass and New York are much more expensive, so people think they are getting a good deal.   And people are flocking here because it's "safer".   Which I am not sure is true.    I'm not sure we've actually been hit with Covid yet, I'm concerned about what will happen up here this winter.   

And I am also concerned that the housing market will crash, and it will be very bad.  Everyone panicking is making everything a mess in the future.

If they paid that much more than listed, then there was probably a bidding war. That's not too much money for someone who really wants to live in that area, but other people are trying to outbid them.  It's likely there's a housing shortage in that area. People who have been raised or lived very long term in low cost of living areas have not idea what things are worth to people from high cost of living areas trying to get out.  Things are worth what someone is willing to pay for them.  I'm wondering who's buying the homes of the people in those high cost of living areas, or if they can afford two homes.

Where I moved 2 years ago, the locals think the cost of living is soooo high because of the people moving from all over, but those of us buying here are delighted with how inexpensive homes are here. It's all perspective.  And yes, buyers would love to pay what the locals claim to think houses are "really" worth, but we didn't notice any local sellers pricing the houses at that rate to start with, and if they did, there were so many people willing to buy them the sellers let us throw money at them instead of keeping the price low and picking one of us to buy it at the original list price. So, take it up with the locals who are selling. We were told to get our bid in within a day or two because the houses would be gone if we didn't.  We flew out with 2 days to look at and buy houses. We had 10 on our list the day we landed (we did careful research online before we arrived) and 3 were off the market and sold before we could look at them, again, 2 years ago. 

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