Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A review of places we've lived

Sometimes when people hear how much we've moved around, they ask me what my favorite place is. I would need a good ten minutes to do justice to that question and I'm still not sure I'd have an answer at the end of it. Read this blog post and you'll see why. Every place has its pros and cons, and on any given day - or during any given life period - different pros and cons can carry more weight than others.

Portland, Oregon. I spent my formative years here, from 1984ish to 1999. What I liked: Yeah, pretty much everything, EVEN THE RAIN. Beach, mountains, forests, trails, etc. What I didn't like: Nothing comes to mind, honestly, which isn't fair since I grew up there - Portland was my "normal" so it set the baseline for my expectations.

Utah (including Provo, Orem, and American Fork). My time in Utah includes my undergrad years at the BYU (1999-2001) as well as living there for other reasons (in 2003/2004 and 2009). What I liked: It is very beautiful there, I don't recall minding the climate, and Provo especially is a nice little family town. What I didn't like: Sometimes being part of a Mormon majority is hard. Seriously.

Kyoto, Japan. I was a student here in the summer of 2000 so sorry, I'm not counting it as a place I lived for the purposes of this post because it was all fun and games and sight-seeing and learning Japanese and the boring logistics were taken care of by others.

Moscow, Russia. The year of 2002. What I liked: The culture. OH, the culture. I mean stuff like world-class plays, concerts, and ballets at fabulously historic venues where the tickets cost all of five bucks. If even. I also loved the language and the metro. What I didn't like: Russians hate families and love alcohol. Bad combination.

Damascus, Syria. 2004-2005. What I liked: Syrians love families and hate alcohol. And the ruins are to die for. What I didn't like: Sometimes the effort of day-to-day living was a little much, but it also built character, so.

Tucson, Arizona. 2005-2009, minus the summers (we went to the Middle East every summer to escape the Tucson heat, ha ha ha). What I liked: The house we lived in and the (few (because we're introverts) but truly awesome) friends we had. What I didn't like: Don't get me started, though Tucson has definitely earned a little soft spot in my memory now that we don't live there anymore.

Amman, Jordan. A summer in each of 2006 and 2007. What I liked: The breezy summers and quirky sights like the Dead Sea and Wadi Mujib. What I didn't like: As far as the Middle East goes, Amman tends to be on the sterile side when it comes to local charm.

Middlebury, Vermont. The glorious summer of 2008. What I liked: That perfect New England small-town feel in a gorgeous setting. What I didn't like: It was a little far removed from any freeways, I guess?

Ithaca, New York. 2009-2010, via Cornell. What I liked: Cornell, a great neighborhood the likes of which we will probably never be lucky enough to live in again, and astounding natural beauty and recreation opportunities. What I didn't like: Not being able to stay there longer. (If you were expecting to read here something about a certain long and frigid season, think again: I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT THE WINTER.)

Cairo, Egypt. The summer of 2010. What I liked: Well. Not a whole lot, to be honest, but it was an exciting place to live if nothing else. I definitely see how someone could like Cairo, is that good enough? What I didn't like: Let's just say that if Cairo wanted to woo me back it could start by creating some public green space. Just sayin'.

Even after having written all that I still can't choose a favorite. Or even a least favorite! Oh wait, my least favorite was Cairo. Sorry.

Am I the only one who thinks there is no "best" when it comes to places to live?


Liz Johnson said...

HAHAHAHA that last bit has me cracking up. Awesome.

My least favorite was Provo (this should surprise no one). I mean, I met a lot of great people there and got a great education, but in terms of places to live... I would never, ever, ever in a million years want to go back. Sorry, Provo.

Most favorite?? Yeah, that's much harder. It might be South Bend, though. This little corn town has lots of dirty charm.

Katie said...

I am with you on there being no "best" place to live. I think.

Having said that, I have lived in Oregon City, Oregon and Provo, Utah. And Provo is definitely my least favorite. But I have no desire to move back to Oregon.

So maybe my opinion isn't really valid. Yet.

Crys said...

Wasn't there a bad library system in Ithaca? That would be on my dislike :)

Emily said...

After reading your post, I can decide for you. Tucson was definitely your FAVORITE place!

We have all heard your rantings about Tucson, but I know it is just a cover-up.

I know you wish that Jeremy was offered a job at U of A. Maybe you'd even be able to buy a house on the South side. My guess is that the people that inhabit that area would help you become extroverts.

You guys really should consider it!

Because then you'd be closer to us!

Nancy said...

I have a hard time answering that question...also the question "Where are you from?"...also the question "Where do you want to end up?"

My answer varies depending on how much I want to get to know the person asking. Mostly though the answer is, "I have no idea!"

Craig said...

Interesting post. I'm going to do one for my blog. Although I can say right now that Oregon is my favorite place. Even though right now it is 23 degrees and the beginning of "winter", with long, dark days.
Two of those pictures need to be attributed to me. :-)
But I am flattered you used them.

Bridget said...

Good eye, Dad. I meant to attribute them, forgot, but now you got the credit after all!

You know, I didn't like Provo much when we lived there as students. But in the summer of 2009 I liked it quite a bit. Strange.

Emily, you got me, Tucson is definitely my favorite :).

Andrea said...

I don't think I have a least favorite, although Portland, OR during the winters and during law school was not a good combo. My favorite is probably Alexandria, VA followed closely by San Diego, CA. We miss you here in Ithaca but I love keeping up with what you're doing in the UAE.

Camille said...

I think it's hard to choose a favorite place because family (and some friends) are almost never in your ideal location. It usually ends up being a compromise between the two.

I actually like Tucson pretty well (except for the lack of green) but what I will miss most are the friends, like you said.

Kristen said...

I can never do favorites of ANYTHING. Nothing is that black and white for me.


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