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14 September 2008

Where do you live, and why do you live there? I feel like I haven't found the place that's right for me, [More:] but maybe I'm just being too picky. I'm interested in hearing about where you live, what you like/don't like about it, and most importantly, how you ended up living there.

For my part, I currently live in Los Angeles. I grew up in Sonoma County, and then went to college in NYC. I liked living there, but it definitely wasn't the right place for me long term. I then moved to Cambridge, MA (again for college), and while I enjoyed aspects of it, I'm a winter weather wimp. After that I decided to go back to CA, but ended up in Los Angeles due to better job availability. I enjoy living here, but have some complaints as well. The cost of living is definitely a big draw back. My husband and I are thinking about buying a condo, and it's gotten me thinking about where I'd really want to live for the long term. I don't think I've found the place for me yet, but maybe I'm looking for something that doesn't exist!
I live in Austin, Texas. I moved here for a girl 14 years ago. 13.5 years ago it became obvious we weren't going to work out. We're still good friends. She's married to some guy now and I see her every once in a while. I wasn't totally blindly moving here for her. As a Californian, growing up I had no desire to live anywhere else, especially Texas. But I did some homework on how cool Austin was helped me take the plunge.

I do love Austin, but living in Texas is wearing thin. There are a lot of great people here, but there are a lot of total rednecks and people that reinforce the Texas stereotype. I hate that 60% of the people in my town didn't vote for Bush in 2000 or 2004 but the state overwhelming went for W. Same with the gay marriage amendment. We're that blue dot in Central Texas in a sea of red. Yes, Texas has great food and BBQ, but sometimes that isn't enough. It is also pretty goddamn hot in the summer.

I've been thinking about moving back to California. I haven't renewed my lease or thought about buying a house for a while now thinking I might repatriate.
posted by birdherder 14 September | 18:48
I live in Baltimore, MD right now for school and in Brooklyn, NY the rest of the time. Baltimore has some decent food and it's near DC, which I like but I hate the suburbs and how I never feel safe in the city here. Brooklyn has it's own charm and there's no end of stuff to do there, but I get tired of the city and the congestion and the high cost of living.

In the spring, we'll be moving to rural Vermont and I think that'll be a nice move since we'll have plenty of space at home, but will only be 30 minutes from town and 2.5 hours from Boston and Montreal when we need a little culture.
posted by YouCanCallMeAl 14 September | 18:55
I live in Daytona Beach. I have lived in Port Orange my entire life. I now literally live on the Port Orange/South Daytona line. Port Orange had about 60,000 people and is part of the Daytona Beach area. If anybody asks, I say I'm from Daytona Beach, because really, it is Daytona Beach.

I ended up living here because I was born here. I have never left.

I like where I live because it is warm, sunny, and beautiful. I live very close to a beautiful beach. It's a very casual atmosphere. We don't have cold winters. I have called it suburban in the past. We do have many subdivisions, but I hesitate to call it a suburb. We're a tourist town. People were living in Daytona Beach long before Disney World came and people began populating the city of Orlando. Daytona Beach proper has a higher crime rate, but ours (New Smyrna, Port Orange, South Daytona, Ormond Beach, etc. is low.)

I don't mind the normal Florida heat but it is sweltering and unbearable three months out of the year. I may as well live in Buffalo. You're holed up. You don't leave the house unless you can sit by a pool, or the ocean, or go somewhere indoors that has air-conditioning. We don't have seasons. There is a short time that is sweater weather. A new winter coat and boots are not on the shopping list.

It's kind of boring here. We aren't completely devoid of culture, and you make your own fun, but I'm basically living in a retirement community/single-family, suburban-like town.

It's inexpensive to live here. Housing is relatively inexpensive. Our property taxes are low. We bought a house in 1998, before the market went crazy. People are friendly. I feel safe. We live a casual lifestyle. It's not a rat race. Although, I need my car to go most places.

If I could live anywhere, I'd live somewhere more temperate. Northern or Central California would be ideal. This is where I would live if I could. Most definitely. Without hesitation.
posted by LoriFLA 14 September | 19:12
I live in Maine. It's really beautiful, I cherish my friends here, and I have family roots here. Once I got divorced, I became really permanent, as I would never have tried to separate my son from his dad. Summer & Fall are fantastic, winter is too long, and the economy is not very robust. But I just moved to a house with a beautiful lake view, and water access rights, and it's pretty clear I'm staying put.
posted by theora55 14 September | 19:18
I'm currently living in the suburbs of Washington DC (on the Merlind side, equidistant between DC/Baltimore.) I grew up here, which is strange, because the majority of people in DC aren't from here. (Or if they are, they're lying and are from MD/VA.) While I like this area, I can't really see myself wanting to stay here FOREVERANDEVER. While I do take some credit for my paranoiameter to come from walking around cities at nighttime, I never really feel safe. Plus the whole politicking thing, which really bothers me. Plus, alcohol is fucking EXPENSIVE.
As far as a place that I loved, I guess it would have to be Williamsport, PA. (Where I went to school for undergrad.) It's a pretty small town, but you still need a car (the public transportation service is fucking amazing, but quits out at 10pm, which kinda sucks). The bars are friendly, even to a non-local. People are generally kind, or at least not publicly dickheaded. There's some entertainment in the city, and there are larger cities (Philadelphia, Allentown, Baltimore) about 3 hours drive away (which doesn't bother me--I like driving). Things like rent and food are reasonably priced. (I'm not quite sure how the suckass economy has affected these though.) I also love the fact that 2 of the grocery stores are 24 hours, even though it's a relatively small town.
posted by sperose 14 September | 19:35
I live in Philadelphia (well, the 'burbs of Philly). It's cool: fairly liberal, lots of culture (we have a symphony orchestra, lots of theater, and a really excellent art gallery), and eclectic (lots of neighborhoods with distinct cultures and idiosyncracies).
The weather is great - warm/hot summers (not so hot that it is unbearable), some snow in winter (but not so much that it is unbearable), and a recognizable spring and fall. I grow raspberries and herbs, which survive the winter. Lots of people in our neighborhood have dogs, people converse intelligently, and the neighborhood is sufficiently diverse that I don't feel as if I live in a glass bubble!
I love Philly. I came here from the UK and it feels like home: public transport and people who care about life, the universe, and everything. You can take the train/trolley to most things. We have more Universities per square mile than any other major city (apparently). If that is your bag, Philly is your city.
posted by Susurration 14 September | 19:51
I grew up in midcoast Maine, and went to college in western central Maine. Then I moved to Cambridge, MA for love. 15 years later, mr. init and I are in Arlington, MA, in a house we renovated two years ago but have owned since 1994. It's a great location; I can see the Prudential Tower in Boston from the hill in my backyard, it's a quick walk to the bus to Harvard Square, and there is a bike path up the street. There is plenty to do on either side of the Charles River.

But I love Maine; my whole family is there, and most of them live within several miles of each other. I love how easy it is to get to the water or the mountains there. I would love to move back sometime, but there are no jobs for mr. init up there; he needs to be in the city. It's my dream that in our later years, we'll move back and get a shack on the water and a cedar standalone swing.
posted by initapplette 14 September | 19:52
I'm living in the cookie cutter world of subdivisions and strip malls that is Johnson County Kansas. I'm going to school here, but it's a bit lonely. I wish I lived in Seattle, or at least a more culturally diverse area.
posted by hellojed 14 September | 19:55
I live in NYC. I transferred to college in NYC specifically because I wanted to live in NYC, and I've been here ever since. I love the energy of New York, the endless opportunities for work and play, the amazing institutions that are here (like Broadway). I don't think I'll live here forever- I imaging myself moving to the 'burbs when I settle down to raise children, and then coming back to NYC to live as a fierce NYC old lady once they're all out of the house.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 14 September | 20:07
I, too, live in the Philly 'burbs. (Hi, Susurration!) Despite the fact that we're only about 45 minutes from the city limits, it's pretty rural. We've got a nice big yard. We have a mighty garden and anything we can't grow can be bought from one of the local farm stands. (And those stands actually have honor boxes! Just put your $$ in and take what you want!) Our neighborhood is home to cows and ponies and mules and chickens and llamas. People ride horses down our road.

We frequently travel into the city to take advantage of all Philadelphia has to offer, which as Susurration pointed out is A LOT. I was born there and believe that Philly is one of the world's most seriously underrated cities. Plus NYC, Baltimore, DC, the Jersey Shore and the Pocono Mountains are all close enough for day trips. I love that.

My biggest complaint, though, is that this area is very homogeneous, very conservative and quite religious. We'd probably be happier living closer to the city, but our families are here and that's pretty important to us.
posted by jrossi4r 14 September | 20:19
I live in Pittsburgh, PA and chances are I'll retire here. I grew up in NJ and moved to the 'burgh back in the late eighties so that my girlfriend could go to grad school. The girlfriend is now my ex-wife and she's long finished with school but we're both still here twenty years later.

Pittsburgh's probably not the greatest place in the world but it's a pretty nice place to live and real-estate is so damn cheap that I can have a much higher standard of living than I could in many other more glamorous cities. The trick about living here is that you need a job and there isn't a great employment market here. I've been very lucky about finding software work with interesting start-ups and my wife managed to get a job with a very big computer company that has a site here.

Because real-estate is so cheap, we can afford to live "downtown" (in quotes because were not actually in the neighborhood called Downtown) and live a mostly car-free life. Transportation is good but not great and always threatened with bankruptcy since their funding is so shaky.

The weather kind of sucks, it's always cloudy and it rains all the time but winters aren't too bad here and you get used to it. When I moved here the culture was pretty fuddy-duddy but it's gotten somewhat hipper lately although you'd never confuse us with Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
posted by octothorpe 14 September | 20:29
I live in Queens, NY.

I was born . . . somewhere in the rest of America. A torch-bearing, pitchfork-waving mob chased me out one night. I haven't looked back.

So, like every other wide-eyed kid who didn't fit in in his home town, I moved to The Big City. "City Air Is Free" as the peasants said back during the middle ages. For the first decade of my time in The Big City, I lived in Brooklyn. Then the housing market went apeshit and I was presented with three options if I wanted to stay in Brooklyn:

1. live in a gentrified enclave with goofier rents than Manhattan

2. live in the ghetto, where everyone will view me as a precursor to point 1 above and will hate the sight of me.

3. live in a neighborhood which is . . . tolerable, but an hour from anywhere where I want to be.

I chose 3. It sucked. My rent kept increasing and yet, the Q train didn't move any faster in the morning. The shit got old.

I saved up my money and moved to Queens. I don't love it to death; I prefer to spend my leisure time in Williamsburg or Manhattan. But I do appreciate the reasonable rent, decent shopping and easy commute that my neighborhood offers. I stay in Queens because it works for me.
posted by jason's_planet 14 September | 20:36
I grew up in Phoenix. I liked it growing up and all the way through college. I love the AZ weather, heat and all (I despise wet weather, in any form).

Over the last five years since graduating college, I've moved around a bunch: Charlotte, NC (boring), Palo Alto, CA (best suburb ever, but a little too far from SF), NYC and now just outside DC in Bethesda, MD.

I actually moved back to Phoenix for a year in between NYC and Bethesda. After living in NYC, Phoenix just didn't cut it anymore. In particular, the car-based culture became too much for me. I convinced myself that I would die in some horrifying car crash if I stayed in Phoenix. And I really missed the big city energy of NYC. I had left NYC because I hated my job, but I decided to get back into finance and find a better company. Turns out I found an opportunity here in Bethesda, but my career will eventually lead me back to NYC. Probably next year if I don't go to business school. I don't have anything against Bethesda or DC, but it's just not NYC.
posted by mullacc 14 September | 20:40
I live in a small city in Northern Ontario, about 4 hours north of Toronto. It's the biggest city up here, but it's still small. I moved around a lot as a kid, ended up here at 13. Since then, slowly but surely, everyone who brought me here has left. However, I went to uni here, and ended up starting dating my wife about a month before I was to move south for good. For the most part, I see enough live music, and when I want, I drive the 4 hours and can see anything I wanna, so long as I pay attention to the tour dates.

Like most of Canada, it's cold as fuck in the winter, and up here, winter lasts a good 5-6 months. On the upside, when it's summer here, you're pretty sure you're in the greatest place on earth. Fresh water lakes, forests and woodland creatures aplenty.

We also managed to buy a house for peanuts, with an amazing and decent sized yard. Hell it's even got a garage for practicing and painting. And cars on occasion. Up here, cost of living isn't that high, but it's going up, like it is everywhere.

I'm good here. The only thing that worries me currently is that I am starting to suspect that I have a nickel allergy, and I live in the largest nickel city in the world. Not likely the best thing for a guy's health.
posted by richat 14 September | 20:50
I live in Anchorage, Alaska. I was born in Homer, a small town 250 miles south of Anchorage known for it's halibut fishing, singer Jewel, and writer Tom Bodett. I moved to Fairbanks for college and stayed for a few years, and then moved to Anchorage two years ago during a major life change where I quit my job and left my husband. Moving cities just seemed like the best idea.

I love living in Alaska, love having access to mountains and ocean and rivers and huge forests and unmaintained national parks. But I also like being near consignment shops and restaurants that are open later than 8pm. Too many people really stress me out, such as the mall this weekend (the weekend after we all got our huge-ass PFD payments), or rush hour anywhere else but here.

Last week I had a business trip to Juneau, and I could definitely see myself living there. I would probably get pretty cabin-feverish if didn't have the money to fly out once in a while, but it's a gorgeous little town and quiet. I like quiet.
posted by rhapsodie 14 September | 21:01
I live in Buffalo NY. I live here, in part, because I almost always have. I was born in neighboring Niagara Falls, where I spent my early childhood in their Little Italy. After a brief stint in MA we moved to a suburb of Buffalo where my family continued to live until I went to college.
Most of my family has moved away. I'm still here, and I have no intention to leave. In fact, I'm trying to get approved for a NACA mortgage at the moment.

As for why I stay... lots of reasons. I love big old houses, and there's a ton here- for very little money. Our rent market is on par with most midsized cities in terms of price, but to actually own is cheap. How cheap? I will have zero problem finding a 2000 square foot minimum house in a non-ghetto in my "under $60K" price range. I don't have a college degree which makes me less able to find a decent job in a major city, but here I work for a Fortune 100 company that is far enough from Silicon Valley to retain the "who cares about a degree if they can do the job" mindset of the pre-dotcom days.

I always say Buffalo's the best place to live IF you have a job. We have nightlife as good as most other midsize cities, theater and arts that rival the larger cities, half the city is like an museum of the most stunning Victorian architecture you'll ever see, and $30K a year here plants you firmly in the middle class in terms of lifestyle affordability.

The snow isn't as bad as people think, either. We get maybe one major storm a year, and only a handful of unbearably cold days. Usually it's actually quite sunny in the winter, and hovers around 30 degrees. Perfectly fine for walking around. The biggest burden of our winters are the heating bills. My apartment is in a 95 year old building, many of the windows are original, and we pay $250 a month YEAR ROUND to keep 1500 square feet heated in the winter.

A big part, though, are the people. I'm sure almost everyone will say this about their hometown, but Buffalo people are great. I've had strangers snowblowing their driveway stop to clear out my car when they see me shoveling and people offer to help me carry groceries when they see me walking. I've discussed literature in a bar with people I've just met and watched hockey games in nice restaurants with people in suits. In Buffalo saying hi to a stranger on the street is the norm.
posted by kellydamnit 14 September | 21:10
I live in Kittery, ME, a few minutes' walk over a drawbridge to the bigger town of Portsmouth, NH. I love it here and if and when the time comes to move, it would find me doing so reluctantly. We have the four distinct seasons, and summer and fall are achingly beautiful. My city is pretty progressive and offers a very pleasant human scale - most buildings are under 6 stories tall, the downtown is very walkable, and there are plenty of public places to sit and pass the time on the city streets. There's enough to do - some excellent independent businesses, including a bookstore that attracts some amazing authors for its size (due to being 1 hour from Boston, mostly), one of the country's last real record stores, and a homey pub with live music 7 nights a week. There are plenty of other restuarants, watering holes, and music venues, including a beautifully restored old opera house that now hosts concerts and shows indie movies. People here are very active in community life, and very welcoming of new people, so barriers to meeting people and getting involved in things are very low. Once outside the city, traffic and congestion disappear and you're in rural NH or ME. Within 20 minutes' drive are perhaps a dozen lovely beaches, each different. We're not far from the mountains or the forest, and of course Boston is close, for when you need high culture, and Portland is close, for when you want to feel like you're somewhere different and bigger with more nightlife. There are fewer job opportunities than you'd find in a place with a lot of big companies; there are more small companies and independents. The population is very highly educated, overall. I'm very happily ensconced.
posted by Miko 14 September | 21:15
I live in San Francisco. I love it, plus everything north of here. It's ridiculous to live here -- everything costs a zillion dollars. But I can't imagine living anywhere else.
posted by Claudia_SF 14 September | 21:22
I live in Hiratsuka, a town on the Sagami coast in Kanagawa, which is next to Tokyo (and about an hour on the train).

I was born in Adelaide, Australia.

I moved to Japan on a whim really. But I liked it and have been here for 11 years.

It's fun being close to the rest of the world.

I get tired though of standing out so much as a whitey - it's like being a celebrity with none of the bonuses or cash.

Recently I've been getting really itchy feet though and I think I would like to live in Europe for a couple of years especially while Squigs is so little. Not exactly sure where but I fell in love with Italy when I went there this year.

On the other hand it would be nice to live in an English speaking country for a while.

And there is a big question about whether I want Squigs to go to school here as I don't have much liking for the Japanese school system. And a part of me would like to live in Australia again too.

I think it's important to live OS for a bit if you can - it helps you to see your own country in perspective.
posted by gomichild 14 September | 23:22
I live in Granville, about 30 minutes by car from the centre of Sydney. It's been a working class suburb from the original land grants to returned service-men after WW1. We live here because it's cheap, has great transport and is central to work, parents, in-laws, kids and friends. Our house is one of the original weather-boards and was built around 1920 -it's got some quirks that we're still working out.

The area is renowned for having a very high number of migrants - one of the largest mosques in Australia is 10 minutes down the road, and our main street is an unholy conglomeration of Lebanese, Chinese/Vietnamese, Turkish, Italian and Thai foodshops, mixed business and the usual services.

I'm loving the fact that I have a backyard now and places to store stuff. And being an owner rather than a renter is great - at last I can put up enough shelves for my books!!

Still, ideally I'd like to live on a couple of acres somewhere near the Blue Mountains and be a complete hick.
posted by ninazer0 15 September | 00:24
I live in Oakland. It's not as bad as you hear. Nice weather, culture, and, let's not forget, let's not forget that ain't no party like a west coast party 'cause a west coast party don't stop.

posted by spork 15 September | 01:25
Sunny beautiful San Jose, California. Home of the ah, um, not much actually. San Jose has almost no attraction for me other than being really close to my work, which is also in San Jose, by no small coincidence. I have lived in my ideal place, in a cabin in a redwood forest in Santa Cruz, but commuting 2-3 hours a day was kicking my butt. So now I live two miles from my office. Considering the price of gas, and the 20 hours a week of free time it provides, it's OK. There are some up sides to living here, there's a very diverse ethnic mix that provides a lot of good food and most of my friends live on this side of the hill, so it's not all bad. If i could live and work on the coast I would, but till then, I'll probably be here or somewhere relatively close by.
posted by doctor_negative 15 September | 01:46
I grew up in central New Jersey in a house that bordered protected woods with a creek a block away.

I lived in Silicon Valley for a decade because the work was good for a technogeek, but I couldn't stand living there. About the only things I loved were a small handful of friends and the produce.

I moved to Western Massamachusetts in 2000 and have been firmly settling down. I live in a house that borders protected woods with a creek a block awa...crap...I've become my dad.

For me, I need the change of seasons. I need the snow. I need the lush greens. It feels like home.
posted by plinth 15 September | 05:25
I live on the Gold Coast, about 60km south of Brisbane, Australia. I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and my family moved here when I was 16 to escape the awful economic times and the cold. I like it here a lot, but not quite as much as I used to. It used to be the place where everybody didn't know everybody else, but everybody knew somebody who knew everyone else you knew. There were no traffic jams and you could get from anywhere to anywhere in 20 minutes. Now it's just another city and you can't get anywhere in 20 minutes. Still, it's got a great climate (unless you are attached to seasons) which has mild winters and not too hot summers (very humid, though), awesome beaches and you can get to pretty much anywhere in the country with a reasonable flight (and two large airports to choose from). I think it's a pretty good place to bring up a family, although the people that live here never go to the places that make the city famous, like Surfers Paradise, because they're too tacky. The worst thing about the Gold Coast is that there are not many job prospects if you want to have a career and you have to commute to Brisbane, as I do (1.5 hrs each way).

Lately, though I've been thinking that a move to Townsville (where I just happen to be right now) wouldn't be too bad a thing. A bit warmer, a smaller city but still big enough to have anything I could need, generally a nice, safe place to live. Unfortunately, I would not be able to get a job at the same salary as I am on now and real estate prices have increased dramatically over the last few years because lots of people have the same idea as I do. Also, you can't swim at the beaches for much of the year because, if the marine stingers don't get you the sharks will (unless the crocodiles get them first).

I miss the seasons of New Zealand and the greenness. I am attracted to the slower lifestyle of Townsville. I have travelled a fair bit, though and have yet to find a place that comes as close to having it all as the Gold Coast. If you've only been here on holiday, you haven't really been here, because the city is different if you live here than if you are on holiday. Any city with more universities per capita than any other in the country and where education is the second biggest industry (behind tourism and closing fast) has to have something going for it, I think. I like it here and will probably live here until I die.
posted by dg 15 September | 05:48
Lately, though I've been thinking that a move to Townsville (where I just happen to be right now) wouldn't be too bad a thing.

Can you get homeowner's insurance that covers Mojo Jojo attacks?
posted by ROU Xenophobe 15 September | 07:04
Acton, west London, UK. We moved to Acton from north London because the tube commute was doing my head in - now we're five minutes' walk from my office - and we moved to the UK from Australia because my bf got an excellent job here.

I like it here because the neighbourhood is extremely diverse and just a little bit grungy, there are excellent and interesting shops and local services within walking distance (and a couple of big parks), it's a short hop on the tube to the wonders of central London and I live and work in beautiful historic buildings. And the weather is very mild with definite seasons, although a few more days of sunshine would be lovely.

At the moment I would like to buy a rambling farmhouse in Gloucestershire and make babies and cheese, but I think that's because I need a break from work.
posted by goo 15 September | 07:25
the people that live here never go to the places that make the city famous, like Surfers Paradise, because they're too tacky

And as the buildings get higher, there is no sun on the beach after 11am.
posted by goo 15 September | 07:35
I live in Central California, but I've only been here for the past two months, so I don't have very good answers to the rest of your questions. :-)

I moved here (from San Francisco, where I had been for four years) because my partner did, because this is where they are in need of doctors. Or, at least, this is where they are in need of doctors and is a place that we were both willing to live.

And I was willing to move because I was just finishing grad school and so my career was at a pretty portable stage.

It's gorgeous here. The weather is much nicer than San Francisco, especially since we lived in one of the foggier parts of the city; here it's almost always sunny and nice, with fog just often enough that I don't have to throw away all my sweaters. I live in a university town, so there are restaurants and bars and shops, and I live in the middle of the country's agricultural paradise, so there are great farmers' markets and produce and wineries. I don't think I've been able to drive for more than ten minutes without seeing horses or cows, and it's about a 10-minute drive to the beach, a 15-minute drive to the big hills that are not quite mountains but are still peak-ish enough to be above the tree line, and I can get to California's major cities in about four or five hours.

California (at least the parts I've lived in) seems the only place I've found in the US where I can come close to the pace that I loved when I lived in Italy, where admiring the pretty landscape and eating the good food and hanging out with friends *always* took precedence over theoretical concerns like politics or work. When I moved west (from DC, where I lived only nine months, after having lived in Boston for several years), a friend said, mock-disapprovingly, "You're going to turn into one of those people who moves to California and stops reading The New York Times." And he was right, and that's made me happy in a lot of ways. Or at least given me more energy to concentrate on what's important.

I don't like the lack of museums here, and I miss the sheer number of good restaurants that most big cities have, but those are generally more "once in a while" things. The day-to-day life here is pleasant and supportive and mostly easy.

I haven't had a chance to meet many people yet. I am worried about how conservative people here seem to be. I don't miss the SF public transit system, but I do miss knowing that a semi-effective public transit system exists. And having a Whole Foods or other "gourmet" grocery around would be nice (there's a "natural food store" but they're pretty basic).
posted by occhiblu 15 September | 09:56
Eugene, Oregon. Moved here by choice, over 20 years ago. I felt I was done with California and had a friend here. She moved away shortly after I arrived, but at least I was here. Found a niche (which took awhile).

I grew up in Hermosa Beach, CA, near Los Angeles. Have lived in Redondo Beach, Ojai, CA, Chiloquin, OR, Port Orford, OR, Santa Barbara, and briefly in the Santa Cruz Mts.

I am very ambivalent about Eugene, anymore. It has the whiniest people anywhere. The dynamic is like this: Whenever people from out of town are here, Eugenians are so hungry for other people to see this place as the paradise Eugenians see it as, that they milk whoever it is for praise. Yeah yeah, the Dead used to play here a lot but lets move on, OK? And it is also a perfect microcosm of the country, split about 50-50 between red and blue. My office mate is a deer-hunting bigot.

What I like about it is that the size of the city lends itself to a lot of transparency in government. Oregon government, on the whole is efficient and personal, for the most part. This was driven home to me, having recently dealt with the California State University system bureaucracy, which brought back a lot of bad memories of that state. But here, the Mayor knows me by name, and while I am far from being a mover and a shaker, the job I have makes me known to a lot of people.

Also, an hour to the ocean, and an hour (the other way) to skiing. Good wine.

So I raised a kid here, and my wife and I joke about how we will die in the house we own.
posted by danf 15 September | 10:05
Oakland. I don't like my neighborhood, which lately has had an unreasonable amount of violence, but the rest of Oakland is wonderful. Good weather, good food, and a large population of fun, creative, unpretentious, diverse people. It's also close to both trees and water.
posted by small_ruminant 15 September | 13:13
I live in Montreal. It's a weird place. It takes a while to get to know it and probably even longer to explain it to others. In fact I don't even know really what to say except that I enjoy living here more than anywhere else I've lived. (I moved here ten years ago this month, but I spent a few years in Toronto since then.)

I'm originally from the east coast of Canada, about an hour from the Maine border.
posted by loiseau 15 September | 15:02
"we can't help it
we just keep moving
it's been that way since long ago
since the stone age, chasing the great herds
we mostly go where we have to go" - James McMurtry
posted by jonmc 15 September | 16:00
I've lived in San Antonio for 2.5 years - I moved here to be closer to my then-boyfriend (now-husband) who was going to UT. I dislike Texas for pretty much the same reasons birdherder does.

Every place in the world has some drawback to living there. I dream about living in Madison, WI for example - cheap to live there, wonderful community, but the winters are too much for me. By contrast, LA has nice weather, great community depending on where you live, but is expensive to actually live there. San Antonio has great weather, low cost of living, but it's difficult to find real community here.
posted by muddgirl 15 September | 16:06
I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. I moved here to be closer to my mom, who wasn't in good health at the time.

I like my job very much, and some of the people here, but I dream about living in a medium-sized city in the Rust Belt or the northern Midwest, someplace with a lot of microbreweries and bicycle co-ops.
posted by box 15 September | 16:44
I live in Portland, OR. I moved here because it wasn't Philadelphia and it wasn't Texas and it wasn't Baton Rouge and one of my brothers lives here. I'm staying here because I should have at least one job on my resume that spans more than a year and my other part is in the midst of learning something important.

I have about a 3-5 year shelf life in any one place so I'm figuring on 2-4 more years here.
posted by oreonax 16 September | 22:13
Rush In Rio || For Lipstick Thespian.