Where do you live?

homeI realize a question like that makes me sound like some crazy stalker lady and you all might decamp immediately with your children in tow, but that’s really not how it’s meant. In the next year, my husband and I will have to move from sunny southern California to who-knows-where and I find I haven’t the foggiest idea where I would want to go. (I’m a spoiled brat, what can I say?)

The thing is, I’ve lived in southern California almost all of my life (not counting the first five years where I was born and lived in Mississippi). I’m simply used to having sunny weather, oh, 92% of the time. And not oh-my-god-I’m-roasting-in-an-oven-sunny. A nice temperate 70-degree sunny. I’ve traveled a lot and I know that I can handle super hot and humid weather. I can also handle some cold (down to about 30 degrees), though really I’m not a fan of supercold. I can deal with snow, as long as I don’t have to shovel it from my walk every day. But having lived with the sun for so long, I’m not sure how well I’d deal if it was gone for too long.

woman on bench

I’m also used to having a wide variety of really good ethnic food – ranging from excellent sushi to stunning Indian, Moroccan, Vietnamese, and amazing Mexican (because we, here, know what a good avocado is) – and Asian stores where I can buy coconut milk, curry paste, Asian vegetables I don’t know the English name of, and rice noodles, etc. But you know what does suck about California? Property prices. We are now paying $1,350 a month to rent a 1-bedroom apartment (a shoebox at that) which is pretty much more than a mortgage for a house just about anywhere else in the continental U.S. And I would LOVE to have a house with SPACE. And my husband would be happy anywhere he could go for long, scenic rides on his motorcycle.

As far as society and culture go, we’re in our late twenties now and we do like to go out to nice restaurants, watch movies, and grab a drink at the bar. But we’re also equally happy eating dinner at home and watching DVDs or reading books. We don’t need a fast-paced, high-society life (though we do enjoy it). However, we do need some diversity and things to do whenever we have been cooped up in the house too many days straight.

So these are our considerations when we think of moving somewhere. We’re ready for something new, and would love to live elsewhere for awhile. And for (my) career reasons (my husband works remotely), it’s pretty much a guarantee that we will have to move somewhere else this time next year. But not having lived anywhere else, I’m curious to know about the places other people live, what they think about where they live, and what they love and hate most about their location.

Where do you live or where have you lived? Give me the skinny on what your life as a native is like!
(I realize this is public space on the internet, so only go as specific as you feel comfortable. Responses like “southwest Nebraska” are totally fine!)

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12 thoughts on “Where do you live?

  1. Since graduation from high school I've lived in SB (duh), the Bay Area, and San Diego. All are lovely, and all have the same issues you're dealing with…good weather, lots of culture, but expensive. And crowded. I guess now I'm a Renoite (Renoian? Renite? Hmm.). I will admit that it took some time to like it here, but now it has totally grown on me. I have a favorite sushi place and a favorite Indian place, both are fantastic (and SO cheap compared to, say, SF or SB). There are plenty of cool bars, as well as an abundance of outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing, swimming- you name it, we have it). Best of all? No state income tax and VERY affordable housing. You want space and a 2,800 sf brand new home? It's yours for about $250k. Need to get out of town? Southwest flies out of here (also it's the easiest airport I've ever dealt with). SF is 3.5 hours away if you need some city life. Oh, and you can get a concealed weapons permit in like 8 hours…okay, probably not a selling point for you.

  2. I live in Maine, which is the polar opposite of you in SoCal. It is awfully nice up here, though. Warm summers, but long, cold winters. Portland, Maine has lots of different foods available, and rent is affordable, too.

    That is, if you're looking to move across country.

    • We're pretty much up for anything. Right now we're considering San Francisco, Portland (Oregon), Berlin and Bangkok, if that gives you an idea of how open we are to possibility. :)

  3. Yes, move here, and then we will convince Nicole and Sean to do the same.

    And I forgot to mention- (almost) no traffic! And Lake Tahoe is thisclose. And legal prostitution, you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

  4. The 30 as cold is a real limiter. Some of the best affordable good and eclectic are the Midwest college towns, i.e. Bloomington, Indiana or Madison, Wisconsin. But they're colder. Perhaps an old house in Alexandria, VA. You're probably not going to find much match of your interests in the South or the Big West. International suggestions would be Barcelona region or Northern Italy. Berlin is probably too cold for you and as wonderful as Thailand is, after a while the seeming diversity will become homogeneity. Moving possibilities are exciting to think about, thanks for the post and query.

  5. I'm definitely a thorough-bred Californian (3rd generation) and pretty much have always called the Bay Area my home. But what it really comes down to is family. As much as I hated and rebelled against the small, close-minded, hick/redneck town I was born in, it is where I met my wife and where both our families currently reside. There is no escaping that, so to me, nesting will always be in proximity to family.

    My older sister is married a german man, has 2 beautiful children, got her master's degree in EU public policy from a german institution. However, she and her husband have decided to quit their current jobs, pack up the kids and move back to California to be closer to family.

  6. I live in Massachusetts close to Boston. The entire state seems to be pretty expensive. As long as you live near commerce and there's public transportation you will pay close to what you are paying now. Boston is similar to California minus the good weather. We have so many diverse cultures and this also results in great social opportunities. I too love a diverse menu.

    I don't know about affordability and housing. I think I've given up on this concept. Although, I have heard good things about Montreal Canada (too cold for you) and Nevada.

    Its exciting that you're thinking of moving. Can't wait to hear what you decide on.

  7. Coldness is definitely a factor, but I do realize some trade-offs will probably need to be made and in many cases we can learn to adapt. If we did move to places like Berlin or Bangkok it would only be for a year or two. We have family in both locales so that helps. And both are incredibly diverse in terms of things to do, at least as much as any other place one might live. If we really need to get out of Dodge, we can travel.

    Family is definitely a consideration, especially once we have kids. And my mom keeps pushing us to move closer to home. But I for the life of me cannot stand my hometown. It is the epitome of Desperate Housewives (in fact, I'm pretty sure that show is modeled off of it) or rednecks with money. Vapid, artificial, narrow-minded materialism, and you'd think with all the restaurants, there'd be good eats. But no, few and far between. (Please, I mean no offense to any OC readers. We do know quite a few good peeps there. But we find that just the general atmosphere when we're there is a turn off for us.)

    We'll just have to see what the job market is like this fall before we can really decide…

  8. I'm not much help here. I'm a Midwestern girl, and we have those crazy hot summers and freezing cold winters. School has been known to be canceled because it's literally too cold to go outside. But, we have amazingly beautiful springs and falls, too. I tend to really love my four seasons, but if you're not looking for too much in the way of temperature variation, it probably wouldn't be right for you.

    Munich, Germany is an amazing city, though. Still four seasons, but not quite as extreme.

  9. I say move to the bay area or move to Europe. The Bay Area, especially Berkeley has the diversity, food, and opportunities you're looking for but depending on where you live, its just as expensive as San Francisco. Or Europe…i'm all about people moving to Europe for obvious reasons :) Good luck! Can't wait to hear what you guys decide!