I recently made a list of places I might want to live next year on my personal bloggy and, much to my surprise, I think it really helped. It helped me determine which options I am seriously considering and which ones just sound and look nice, but are for whatever reason not actual choices. I would like to present you all with the abridged list in hopes that someone has been to/lived in some of these cities and has good, bad or neutral impressions to offer.
Doing this helps me be OK with the humdrummery that is living in Lafayette in the Annex of my parent's house, so I appreciate being humored:
1) Germany: I think I might be ready to go back. I want to maintain and improve my German and learn as many other foreign languages as possible. I don't think I'll ever be able to swing those things here like I'd be able to in Germany at a premier language school. Plus, I've been thinking about it, and I still know quite a few people there so I wouldn't have to start completely from scratch. However, were I to opt for moving abroad, I would teach in Germersheim only and live elsewhere. Public transport is dreamy in Europe, so I would not have to buy a car. Exclamation points!
2) Chattanooga, TN: This is such an unexpectedly lovely part of the United States. There is an abundance of things to see and do: there are mountains to climb, rivers to forge, trails to hike, hipster shops to peruse. Speaking of which: there does seem to be the beginnings of an indie/hipster scene but it is still young and cute. It has yet to reach gargantuan proportions like that of the hipster scene in Austin, which is further down on the list. My brother Jacob -- who is smart, driven, thoughtful and hilarious -- has offered at least twice to let me live with him and his dog Maddie in his (sickeningly adorable) house. The neighborhood is quiet and shady and rife with possibilities for afternoon strolls. I don't really know anyone in this part of the country other than my brother, but I'd be close(ish) to le Mouton Noir -- which is an exciting prospect! But you know, I am open and friendly, so it shouldn't be hard to at least make acquaintances with people. I would most definitely have to buy a car to move to Chattanooga and indeed the rest of the cities on the list.
3) Austin, TX: Enter the ridiculously inflated hipster population (follow this link to the funny article where I snagged this image). It is a little out of control and in-your-face, but I love this city. I have visited Austin many times and, seriously, never had a bad trip. I have also been considering moving there for quite some time. It is the live music capital of the United States and how in the world can that be a bad thing? I might also be able to learn some Spanish. It has all the amenities (and aggravations) of a big city, with the simple pleasures of the countryside within an arm's reach. There may not be any mountains, but there is no shortage of streams to canoe and trails to hike. There are many things that you can do to make your life more eco-friendly that are tax-deductible per the city. Plus, I'm sure there are many options for buying local produce and even growing your own. I have heard, though, that it is difficult to find a job there and that living expenses are higher, especially for rent. I feel like I know quite a few people who live there, but am turned off by the hoards of people who are packing up and moving out that way. Still, though . . . I love Austin. It's just as simple as that.
4) & 5) Chicago, IL and Baltimore, MD: I list these two cities together, because I know very little about either one and am unsure if I know people who live there. However, I am anxious to know what big city life is like and these are two of my options. I am unsure why these are options, other than these two places appeal to me on some level. I visited Chicago when I was very young and remember loving it. In particular, I remember loving the zoo, the aquarium and Lake Michigan. The color of the water is so beautiful. Woah -- I just thought of something: I could go to the Oprah show! What?? I hadn't thought of that. Awesome. And in Baltimore, I could visit the team at Charm City Cakes, which is embarrassingly, one of the only reasons Baltimore appeals to me. On the real: Mary Alice and I would totally be homeboys. She called something "redonkulous" the other day. If I were uncertain before that moment, I ceased to have any questions as to whether or not our Captain Planet powers would combine in real life. Seriously though, Baltimore seems like a fun, cool city with plenty to see and do. Needless to say, I have more research to do about both of these options.
Anyway, these are my more serious choices for moving far, far away from the Dirty Souf *sniffle* next year. Your two cents are welcomed.