Sunday, March 29

The news

Beast did not get accepted into his grad school of choice in California.

He's pretty bummed, but we're trying to keep the positives in mind: no sky-high rent requirements! I still have a job! He'll be done with school soon! Still, it was disappointing for him. He's looking into grad schools for next year and, in the meantime, we are narrowing down our search for awesome cities and jobs within those cities (or telecommuting, which would be even better).

We took Bean to the Institute of Contemporary Art last weekend for the Shepard Fairey exhibit. She was more impressed with the glass-walled walkway overlooking the ocean.

This weekend, we went to Davis Square and got some $5.49 pants for Beast at Goodwill (his old ones were ripped and falling apart at the seams), only they were $3.49 because he found $2 tucked into the pockets of a pair he tried on but didn't buy. The gods were smiling: money grows in pants.

We ate lunch and debated our values in a new city. Here is what we're looking for, and we're definitely open to relocation suggestions:

*A city or town with culture and nature: we either want to be in the city but close enough to bike to nature or in the country but close enough to bike to culture. No suburbs; I've lived in enough of them, thanks!
*Progressive-minded folks: I went back and forth on this. On one hand, it's great to have a mix of folks, but on the other, I'm really seeking community and I haven't found that in the cities I have lived in (which were all mixes) yet. Maybe I should change the wording to "a real community atmosphere" or something to that effect.
*Great public transit or bike-friendly/a year-round climate for biking: it has been almost two year since we have driven a car and we intend to keep it that way.
*Bonus points for year-round farmers markets/climate to grow our own

I have a feeling that this list is like many folks' lists, but I am determined to find this town and live in it! Here is our list of possible cities that seem to match some or most of our value criteria:

Asheville, NC
Portland, OR (or really anywhere in the Pacific Northwest)
Boulder, CO
Madison, WI
upstate NY (?)
Chicago (?)
Montreal (?)

It was, by the way, highly amusing to read where you guys thought I'd belong, especially from my blogger friends that I have never met in person. Thank you. And, to answer BB's question, I most certainly am NOT from Massachusetts. I'm from many places, more than a dozen cities in the Midwest and also New Orleans, Clearwater FL, and here. So, I'm not afraid of moving!

I'm sipping some organic, fair trade, caffeine-free chai tea that my wonderful friend Momma Val sent in a care package. She (and the tea) is delightful. Now, I return to my quest for some chocolate. Mhmmm, tea and chocolates ...


Momma Val said...

Awww! Bummer about the grad school for beast. Though I have a feeling that there are other plans for you guys. It wasn't meant to be and perhaps what is will blow away Berkeley (at least in terms of pleasing everybody?). Ha! Glad you like the tea. I have never tried herbal chai but love real chai iced with some vanilla soy milk from Caribou. Oh God, it is to die for haven't had for years. Your list is not very year-round climate-wise, like you are looking for. I'm sure you will find the ideal situation, location, and arrangement for the next chapter of your lives. I'm excited to see what and where it will be :) Love ya!

BerryBird said...

I'm sorry for Beast that things didn't work out as he had hoped, but a little relieved that you can keep your awesome job situation for a while longer at least. This is a scary time to be contemplating a job search.

I see upstate NY on your list... I wonder if you guys are considering Ithaca? I don't know the city well enough to know if it meets all your criteria, but it certainly meets some of them, e.g., it is very progressive.

And Ithaca is GORGES! [This is a play on words that shows up on bumper stickers and t-shirts because the area has so many gorgeous gorges -- there are two that cut right through the city, and numerous others protected in nearby state parks.]

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Did he only apply to his top choice?

I can only answer if it were me who had to choose (And I might well be making this choice when the kdis go off to college):

Asheville, NC - LOVE this place, wiht the added bonus of a really great climate
Portland, OR (or really anywhere in the Pacific Northwest)- that would be a lovely place to loive, even if a bit cillier in the winter than I'd like.
Boulder, CO - I have a sister hear and no way, too cold. The beauty wouldn't amke up for all that snow for me.
Madison, WI - Why? why?
upstate NY (?) And again I ask why? why?
Chicago (?) - Interesting city, but still far to cold.
Montreal (?) - Vancouver, maybe.

Going Crunchy said...

My heart is in Asheville. I went to school in Black Mountain, spend a great deal of time in Boone and lived in Asheville for two years. It is where I hope I can move in a couple of years. It is everything that you described, and more.

I'm in Chicagoland - and progressive it is not. Art, literature yes. Green? No. And the progressive parts are only part of the parts. And the weather SUCKS. And the people are HURRIED. It is EXPENSIVE. And nature doth not abound.

Sigh. Good luck with choices!

fullfreezer said...

Another midwest University town to consider for your list is Iowa City. Of course, I may be biased, but my husband once described it to a friend from the east coast as 'take Greenwich Village and plop it down in the middle of a cornfield.' It is bike and public transportation friendly, definitely progressive (at least in the midwest) and a good environment for children.
Of course, like many places right now, the job market is in the toilet.

Jenn & Owen said...

Bummer about grad school, I must say, but I guess everything happens for a reason.

As for climate, Montreal doesn't have the climate for either year-round biking or year-round farmers markets. The only places I would give that point to in Canada that have research universities would be Vancouver and Victoria.

BlackenedBoy said...

I'm sorry that he didn't get into his school, but he can always apply to other, right?

I'm not sure which region you should move to, although if you're thinking of Upstate New York there are many people within our blogging sphere who are from there and can give you detailed advice about the area.

I'm not sure how that would square with your idea of year-round biking, but worth looking into!

You could always try Austin, Texas.

BerryBird said...

Funny you should say that, BB. Biking is one thing about Ithaca that I wouldn't covet, and I've biked through my share of cold snowy upstate winters. But Ithaca is very hilly and the hills are very steep, what with all the gorges. There is bus service, though.

Electronic Goose said...

Val-I don't like the tea--I love it. And you!

BerryBird-thank you. I think our town pondering is helping Beast get over his disappointment. I have heard great things about Ithaca, and trust your opinion (hey, you read great books and go to my favorite bands' concerts!). I'll add it to our list of possibilities!

Citizen-he only applied to his top choice, and the reason is a long, boring story. I'll post more on the specific cities; your comment made me realize there was more to talk about here. Thanks!

Going Crunchy-LOL. I used to live in Chicago! Black Mountain--did you attend Warren Wilson? That is my *dream* college! Too bad I found it after graduating ... maybe for my writing MFA?!

Full Freezer-thanks! Another city to consider, and one I haven't heard much progressive talk about.

Jenn & Owen-I'm thinking you're right and adding Vancouver to the list.

BB-Austin would be a great choice, if it wasn't surrounded by Texas. ;)

Eco Yogini said...

hehe- I lived in Montreal for two years- I did my grad degree at McGill....

Montreal isn't very "open-minded" or "laid back"... It's very multi-cultural, but if you are anglophone it's VERY hard to feel accepted. Just the political history. That being said I LOVED it (I am bilingual though... so my life was quite easier).
Didn't love McGill if that's where he's headed. The university looks great on paper... but is so full of itself. They do have year round farmer's markets... but it snows a lot during the winter (think awesome skiing. but you'd have that in Vancouver too).

I have also lived in BC for two years (not vancouver- inland). Vancouver is much more laid back- lots of farmer's markets, VERY expensive to live and very liberal. If you like pacific ocean, access to Whistler mountain it's great. I personally was not a fan- but then after being exposed to Montreal's multiculturalism I found Vancouver more... flat. Canada is awesome though- we live in Halifax right now (I'm a maritimer at heart, so western thinking did not mesh).

Good luck! My sweetie is also applying to grad school, we are crossing our fingers!!

Going Crunchy said...

Warren Wilson would have been a dream school for me.......I so bonded with a few folks there! I was at Montreat though.

My claim to fame was starting a recycling program for the dorms there after jiving with Warren Wilson folks.