We’re in China for at least the next year as I do my fieldwork for my dissertation, but thereafter is a big question mark. While my husband and I really like Hong Kong, and think this might be another good location for me while I’m writing up given its vicinity to the mainland and its excellent libraries, we’re also open to returning to the United States for awhile.
So that, a conversation with friends last night where they were nudging us to include Washington, D.C. in our search (Zack and Kristina, see #5!), and an article in the Times that touts the merits of Portland, Oregon, has got me thinking about some of the places in the U.S. I’d like to spend a bit more time.
So here are a few thoughts, and of course, let me know yours!
1. Portland, Oregon: It’s not just the Times article, I swear (although that was pretty alluring), it’s the whole culture of the place, the climate, and the location all rolled together. My husband and I both recently took this rather extensive quiz about ideal living locations in the U.S., and the only matching one in our top five was Portland, so we’ll have to check it out.
2. Boise, Idaho: Keeping with that granola, Northwest theme, I’ve been impressed by Boise (and most people are shocked by that statement) since I visited in 2005 to consider a youth pastor job that I didn’t end up taking. While it’s not as close to the coast as I would like, the town itself has a terrific little downtown, where you can walk and bike pretty much everywhere, walk to the Boise State stadium, and hike up into the foothills.
3. Louisville, Kentucky: Perhaps another shocker, here. My husband and I spent a summer in Louisville, working with Youthworks and the PCUSA, who has its national headquarters there. We were really enchanted by the small town feel, beautiful Louisville Seminary campus, the riverfront area, arts community, the excellent Cuban food (who knew?!), and the eccentric, cool people we met.
4. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Now, my husband hasn’t weighed in on this one at all, but I am always nostalgic for North Carolina’s rolling hills and beautiful coasts (none of which are exactly in Chapel Hill, I’m aware), and my Davidson days. I don’t mean to be a traitor, but Davidson is just a bit too small for me. Meanwhile, Chapel Hill, although much larger, has a small town feel, and a really engaged local food and culinary arts community, that my husband and I both love (we are good eaters!). Finally, pork barbecue, um, yes please!
5. Washington, D.C.: I loved the year I spent in D.C. working with Bread for the World and the ONE Campaign, and have always wanted to get back to what I believe to be one of the most approachable, beautiful, diverse, and interesting cities around. I loved living on the hill, running on the mall and past the capitol, walking to work, trolling Eastern Market, taking advantage of great food, free museums, and local bars, and getting to know all of the passionate people who live here. Previously I’d been a snob about living within the District, but I’ve really enjoyed my time in Alexandria and some of the surrounding areas in Maryland (even Baltimore), so I might even be happy to call myself a commuter at some point.
What’s on your list??