Please help me find a new love now that I have to move on- love of place.
posted by cacao to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The last several months have involved a lot of agonizing over where to settle down for the next few years (and if it was awesome enough and we could manage it, forever). Right now we're living in a city which was just convenient for various temporary purposes (best job offer to start off career, very close to family which was important a few months ago), and we knew that most likely we wouldn't live there for more than a year. So the following is a list of cities that I lived in and what I liked and did not like about them, to base your advice on- please! Kindly find me a place to call home.
I spent a few years living in a city abroad. I absolutely LOVED it there but forced myself to come back to be closer to family and where I grew up, and raise my children with more diversity and certain values that are more part of the US value system. I feel heartbroken like I've left behind the love of my life because I decided I couldn't be with them in the long run. I'd rather not identify which city because it might lead to assumptions about what I liked when I'd rather define it myself. So things I liked about it: the views of the water, the focus of the culture on aesthetics (not in a superficial way, but they just like things to be stylish, less simply utilitarian), the seafood and high quality affordable produce (all food is non-gmo by law and much of it is organic), that people focus on relationships and are social every night, it's a busy city like NY except the people also have a work/life balance, there's a lot of service-orientation (like, free delivery from all local shops and restaurants, even at late hours. you can call for anything to your home- water, dry cleaning, vegetables, fruits, snacks...without extra charge), I felt safe (no guns, very little drugs, generally safe). What I don't like about it: well, I'm not from there and will never be from there and will never truly understand them 100% and I'm not sure if I want my children to be 100% raised in that culture because many of my US values are important to me, a good education is hard to get there, so not so great for a future family...traffic's bad, lack of diversity.
What I like about NYC: busy, diversity, a city that has stuff to do at night every night. what I don't like: expensive, many people have no work-life balance and place less value on that, not so much nature.
What I like about Philly: neighborhood feel, affordable, amazing food at reasonable prices, close to lots of major cities. What I don't like: It feels like it's going down even as its trying to improve, it feels dangerous to walk around, always someone is yelling creepy stuff at me. It not feeling as safe is the biggest reason I want to live somewhere else. I lived in Philly a long time ago and used to feel plenty safe enough, but after living in the city abroad where I always felt safe, it's simply harder for me. If it wasn't for that factor, I could probably settle there because of the great food, affordable living, proximity to family, major intl. airport. As is, obviously there are places where I can feel safe enough, but I want to feel free to roam a much larger expanse of the city without feeling uncomfortable.
What I like about DC: greener, good balance between city with suburban feel (so I could have a family and not feel compelled to leave the metro area), has great job opportunities in the field that I'm in, great jobs for my husband too, lots of green spaces, some diplomatic/international activities in the city. What I don't like: well, it's not so socioeconomically integrated, it just never really felt like home (the city abroad, ironically, felt like home), still not phenomenally safe but probably better than Philly.
We've thought about Seattle. What I like about the idea of Seattle: chickens, people who are progressive/liberal in values, nature, water, great seafood, the idea that it has a different culture and who knows, it might feel like home in a way that the east coast never did. What I don't like: far away from hometown and family.
What I like about the east coast generally- this is where I passed my childhood and where most of my childhood friends still live. Close to family which is the biggest plus for me. Easier travel abroad. What I don't like about the east coast: the standardization of everything (wal-marts, mcd's) type things, that make everything so boring and predictable.
The factors most important to us are: safety, good area to raise kids, cultural diversity, within a couple of hours of an international airport, the population generally appreciates a work-life balance. Some degree of walkability. We like urban areas if possible but don't know how to balance that against wanting a good place to raise children- please help. I really want to be close to my parent's home which is in the Philadelphia area, but I feel like trying to do that is really restricting my choices and making it less likely that we'll find a place to settle down. We're not factoring in our jobs too much into this decision- we won't move to the chosen city until we find jobs there, and our fields are pretty location flexible.
Cost of living is not a huge concern as long as the city is otherwise right- we will simply scale down our lifestyle to suit our new budget. My guy is new to the country with no real preferences for where to live.
I apologize for any obnoxiousness in my descriptions of what I like/didn't like about different cities. My only intentions were to provide material on which to base any ideas of where we might want to live. Thank you in advance!