Picking a new city (again)

K (boyfriend) and I are planning on moving to a new city in a year and a half, after he’s done with five years of teaching at his school. He will have been in the city for five years, and I’ll have been here for two.

Neither of us is particularly enthralled with Baltimore. It’s a small city, and there are a few small neighborhoods that I like. But there are only a handful, and I feel like we’ve been to most of the restaurants that we’ve wanted to go to. As people who really measure a city by its quality of food and number of options, we’ve kind of worn out our choices in Baltimore. Sure, DC is close, but not close enough to make for a spontaneous trip.

I’ve also felt more unsafe here than I have in other cities I’ve lived in, like DC and Boston. It’s possible it’s because I live at the edge of a pretty safe neighborhood and a not great neighborhood, or that there were two separate shootings in a few days within two blocks of where I live. Also, muggings seem a lot more common here than they do where I’ve lived before. Maybe my concerns are irrational, but I don’t feel comfortable walking alone, or even in small groups, at night. This isn’t something I want to feel in a place I plan to be for a while.

Right now, I think we’re considering Chicago, Portland (OR), Philadelphia (though K isn’t too jazzed about living there), and maybe Denver or Austin or Seattle. I’m hesitant about the West Coast, as my family is here and I’d miss being within a reasonable distance, but really, once driving home in less than a few hours isn’t an option, it’s all the same.

The idea of moving yet again (I’ve moved to new apartments, sometimes to new cities, every year) is so daunting. Finding a new group of friends, new jobs, a new apartment, new routines doesn’t sound like fun to me right now. I’ve done it so many times, and with varying degrees of success. Still, I can’t imagine living here forever.

Anyone have positive experiences living in Chicago, Portland, Philly, Denver, Austin, or Seattle?

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