Yesterday I talked about the BIG where to live. We are here in Massachusetts, but deciding where to live once we landed here was difficult. We spent a year living on the edge of a rich suburb a few miles from Mike’s school. We had nothing to walk to and it was fairly dull. We found that the city everyone said we would love? We did. So we moved here after the first year.
We love, love, love our little city. It’s perfect for us in almost every way. We love our little townhouse. We love being able to walk to restaurants, a library, a discount natural foods store, a small indoor mall, a park, and plenty of coffee shops that make fantastic lattes.
It’s most of the things we need to be happy: Walkable! Accepting/progressive! Full of good food! Safe! Nice people!
The only shortcomings are: Winter. Cost. Diversity.
I may have made peace with the weather, check back in a few months to see. I would prefer to not be freezing for so many months. But investing in good boots, a coat, and a treadmill so I can stay active indoors even when it’s cold has helped. (The winter’s project: get good gloves and hat!)
The biggest drawback is the cost. We cannot really afford to buy a home here, they are just SO out of budget. We have saved a lot for a downpayment of a huge house in Ohio, but the housing prices are sooooo much higher here. We could move outside the city to the more rural areas, as many people do, but then we’d lose everything we love about living here. Plus, have to get a second car and drive anywhere we want to go. Driving downtown and paying for parking any time we want to go out to eat. And still have a commute for Mike.
And the area we live in seems to be only truly vibrant, walkable area in western Massachusetts. It’s all so frustrating! So, we continue to be grateful to have an affordable, comfortable townhouse to rent.
A few years ago, I had a young relative of mine who lives in a white, rich suburb. I was driving him somewhere that took us through a poorer area with more minorities. He made some comment about how unsafe it seemed and I was like, “You mean because there are poor people and brown people walking around?”
Our perceived safety is affected by the people we live around – so if we are never exposed to those who look and live differently, we *feel* less safe around them.
Anyway. So it’s a big value of mine, and something that proved incredibly hard to find in western Massachusetts. I’m not sure if it’s a New England thing or a western Mass thing, but it’s very segregated here.
In Ohio, we lived in an incredibly racially diverse neighborhood. I know it’s possible! I really hope we can land somewhere like that again.
(PS: These are just our values. No judgement on anyone with different values or who chooses to live somewhere isolated and drives everywhere! I’m only interested in living in alignment with our own values, not judging the actions of others. You do you, sister.)