I was born in a crazy loud city.
I was raised in another crazy loud city.
The closest to outside of the city that I lived in was the "suburbs" so to speak but even there it was packed with people, cars, and shopping centers.
You didn't know who your neighbors were and if you did you made sure to make every attempt to avoid them and you better be sure your door was locked with not only the deadbolt but also the chain on the top of the door. Some houses even went as far as having bars on the windows and doors.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the ghetto by any means at all.
For some reason there was a time where bars were actually considered decorative - who knew?!
Shuffling between condos, townhouses, and single family residences on zero lots was how I grew up.
If you saw someone that you knew at the grocery store it was a miracle on most occasions.
There were just that many people!
I always thought that small town living wasn't for me. How could it be? Living in a place like this?
And without a McDonald's, Starbucks, or Wendy's on every corner?
No, sorry, not happening.
But then it did.
I moved here...
The business are owned by families and have been for years.
You can't walk into the grocery store without bumping into a neighbor, co-worker, bank teller, etc.
Everybody knows everybody!
On Father's Day I ran into people that I know from work and somehow they know my father from years ago and remember him telling them stories about me.
Its like they already knew me.
The local bars and watering holes know us by name and food order.
They can tell the locals from the tourists.
Everything is on the main road because really, there is only one road in and one road out. The side roads are for residential areas.
Our down town/city area is Key West. Another small island where everyone knows everyone and you can point out the locals from a tourist a mile away as well.
No sky scrapers there. Just historic sites and bars/restaurants. See..
I didn't think I would to be honest.
I remember saying as a child that I could never move to the Keys. Even as I got older and when I was first married I said that it wasn't the place for me.
Now, I couldn't think of living anywhere else.
Disclaimer: all of these images were found via a Bing images search for Big Pine Key and Key West - I did not take any of these photos. <<< This is still against the Digital Millenium Copyright Act therefore I have removed the images