Where have you lived? What did you like/dislike about each place?

The title pretty much says it all; feel free to answer or ignore these questions as you wish and throw anecdotes on top if you’d like.


Suburban Washington, DC.
Liked: Snow. History.
Disliked: Emphasis on socioeconomic success as primary indicator of personal worth. Unpredictable weather. Rampant racism, with the races involved switching and swapping out every few years, but the same bigotry underneath. White flight.

San Diego.
Like: Weather. Higher mean attractiveness of populace, including better fashion sense. Good college ed. Liberal attitudes, even in one of California’s more politically conservative areas. Openmindedness to everything. Gorgeous urban scenery everywhere. Vibrant and fun downtown. Quaint shops and quainter ideals. Head shops everywhere. Major league sports. $5 same-day standing-room tickets at the ballpark.
Dislike: Backstabbers. Shallow people. The common attitude that one should arrive in the third inning and leave in the seventh, and not just for baseball games. And the idea that you should go to baseball games to get drunk instead of giving those free tickets to people who will actually enjoy the game and can’t afford to buy their own. (Grr.) Rampant shopping addiction. The difficulty of getting everywhere on public transit, relative to smaller cities with better infrastructure like San Francisco. Freeway traffic. Cellphone obsession. The fact that the layout of the city doesn’t make any sense.

Tucson, AZ.
Like: Weather. Dry heat. Intellectualism. The “us against them” thrill of being in the state’s only blue county. Openmindedness. Hookah culture. University culture in general. Warmer (heh) people. Deeper interpersonal connections. Increased appreciation for cold water. Beautifully warm summer nights. Thunderstorms/monsoon. Monsoon rain drainage ditches running under the whole city with lots of interesting graffiti inside. Proximity to California. Great basketball. City is laid out logically and is easy to navigate.
Dislike: Cold winter nights. Flat terrain across the city (weirds me out after living in San Diego). Flooding/hail/hydroplaning during monsoon season. Lack of major league sports teams despite being bigger in population than Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis, etc. Total lack of interest in hockey. No freeway system or (decent) light rail system in the foreseeable future.

Tunisia, for 2 months.

It is the pits and that sums it up.

Good question.

Stow, (Gloucestershire) and its environs.

Like: Scenery, history, Cotswold stone buildings, restaurants, pubs, beer, quiz nights, farmers markets, village fetes, (I won a coconut this year), theatre, literary connections, Gloucester Old Spot pigs (platonically), sheep (ditto), wife swapping (only joking and no photo), wildlife (early risers see deer trotting down the lane outside), music festivals, playing cricket badly, Cotswold Olimpicks (see shin kicking), flicks in the sticks, proximity to Stratford & Cheltenham, and so it goes on.

Dislike: Lack of public transport, celebrity culture, people with caravans blocking the Fosse Way, fox hunting (with a vengeance), Morris Dancing*, cold winters.
Birmingham, (West Midlands).

Like: Roads leading out of the city.

Dislike: Roads leading into the city.
Blackpool, (Lancashire).

Like: Sea, tower, football team**, piers, fish & chips wrapped in paper, Yates Wine Lodge (I kid you not, this establishment used to serve Champagne on draught).

Dislike: Pubs, beer, sleazy clubs, crowded beaches.
*Although I do like the Monty Python Fish Slapping Dance which was surely inspired by the Morris Dance.

**No suitable picture but when I googled Blackpool Football Club Photo, the 7th and 8th entries were respectively Fetish BDSM Porn - dominatrix mrs uk, fetish trample and Fetish BDSM Porn - lick my leather and latex boots, slave. I find this curious, and wonder if I am supporting the right team.

Rochester NY
+: wide variety of neighborhoods from down and dirty industrial where it can be cheap to live to a quirky artsy area that can be pricy. Avenues of old victorian robber baron mansions, some sweet little ‘pocket parks’ in nooks and crannies. Lilac festival [i adore lilacs] lots of decent malls and places to eat

-: no real culture other than the Rochester Philharmonic and those great mansions are cut into tuny expensive apartments and the artsy area as fuck all for parking.

Tidewater Virginia [I lived in Norfolk, Va Beach and Portsmouth]
+: good beaches as long as you avoid the main popular ones. Housing can be dirt cheap in the ‘wrong neighborhoods’ but you can luck into some fantastic places now and then. Golden Guernsey dairy has a store at the farmers market and in some areas still delivers to the home. Blue crabs. Some fantastic places to eat.

-: beaches = tourists and that can suck dick. Many tourists turn into asshats away from home. Housing can cost a fortune because it is a tourist area. The main interstate that runs through Norfolk and Va Beach is too small to properly allow for the traffic so it sucks. Lack of beach parking so when you do luck onto that fantastic place to live on atlantic ave snugged up to the back door of the army base, asshat tourists park your cars into the driveway and park in your driveway. Association for Research and Enlightenment makes sure the flake population is always high. There isnt any real culture other than ‘beach culture’.

You’re two months old?

Isn’t that against board rules?
Pamplona, Spain.
Liked: it’s home. Even after living away for a zillion years or two, I’m a lot more likely to connect with people from that area than from anywhere else.
Disliked: it rains.

Tudela, Spain.
Liked: pchs. My family’s lived there for over 30 years, it’s an ok place, but I can’t really work up much of an enthusiasm about it. Interesting history and I love the view from the Sagrado Corazón (the Holy Heart of Christ statue overlooking the old town).
Disliked: I’ll never understand why so many people there think they can’t win unless they cheat. Most of the people and me are from different planets, which is funny because Pamplona and Tudela are 60m apart and in the same province.
Barcelona, Spain.
Liked: cosmopolitan, lots of things to do, lots of places to visit, enough “strange interests” clubs and stores to be able to find people I connect with relatively easy.
Disliked: the goddamn politics. Too barcelona-centered and catalonia-centered, those guys think they’re the only lifeform in the universe. They’re conpletely stunned to discover that, for example, Castilians don’t feel opressed by… Castille :stuck_out_tongue:
Miami, de Yú És Éi.
Liked: I speak both local languages. Got lots of hugs from Cubans, latinamericans in general and several Seminoles (the tribe, not the college students). Found out that, in spite of ongoing propaganda to the contrary in Spain, lots of latin americans think of Spain as “the mother country” and not some nasty opressors (this has been confirmed in many other places).
Disliked: that place is a cross between a mall and a huge suburb. Little houses, little houses, little houses… you have to drive one or two hours just to go see a movie. Same population as Barcelona in about 50 times the space and with 1/10th the stuff to do.
Castellón, Spain.
Liked: nothing.
Disliked: just dump the whole province into the sea, we’ll pay the fine for polluting. Make sure no Castellonians escape, though.
Philadelphia, de Yú És Éi.
Liked: nice town, lots of places to visit in the area, easy ride to NYC, old-stuff stores to kill for in several towns nearby (I won’t die for a tiffany lamp but I might hurt you seriously for one). The Market is great. Took Mom to see one of those mansions in the Delaware valley and she almost underwent a meltdown seeing the gardens.
Disliked: never had it so hard to meet people “not from work”. Part of it was too many work hours, but part of it was that every place where I tried to volunteer was interested only in my money. Given the amount of Dopers from that area, it’s a pity I hadn’t discovered the boards back then!

Small town in the Boston suburbs, Age 0-18:

Like: (mostly in hindsight): Generally quiet, nice schools, low crime, not a bad place for a kid to grow up. Close enough to the city for easy commuting, far enough away that all the houses had yards and not too much traffic.
Dislike: It was still a small enough town that getting anywhere in life (unless you were opening your own restaurant or hair salon) meant going somewhere else. My father was (and still is) well-known there, so other than a brief brush with TV fame my senior year of high school, I was always going to be his kid to everyone there. Plus, there was the matter of it having 3 gun shops, at least a half-dozen liquor stores, and not a single book or music store (still, pretty low crime).
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Age 18-23:

Like: Bookstores everywhere, a huge community of people my age that I finally felt like I belonged in, generally good times as a college student. Elsie’s, Tommy’s, Pinocchio’s. Easy to get around without a car (easier, in fact).
Dislike: I really liked being a college student there, so after graduation it was hard to walk around there without some major nostalgia-induced blues (probably aided by the fact that I’d been dumped by my girlfriend, and had no full-time job or idea of where my life was supposed to go). Even last year, ten years later with a lot more personal and professional success under my belt, it still felt sad being there again. Like I had missed something that I could never get back.
Hamamatsu, Japan, Age 23-25:

Like: Beautiful town (small city, actually) on a great beach. Small enough that you could take off by bicycle in any direction from the city center and see rice fields and green tea farms within about 20 minutes. A friendly gaijin community, a gaijin-friendly Japanese comunity, and a huge Brazilian population with great restaurants and clubs. A sizeable subset of the female population that was very gaijin-friendly (including my future wife). By the time I left I’d built up a name for myself in the community so that teaching offers were coming to me on a weekly basis.
Dislike: Teaching was really the only job option for a foreigner, unless you got married with a Japanese and started your own school, bar or restaurant (which a few friends of mine did). Teaching was fine, but it didn’t feel like a career, so I had to move. Also, neither the internet nor Citibank had arrived there yet, so no internet shopping for things that couldn’t be found locally, and no credit card to pay for it if there were (a Japanese bank that issues a credit card to a foreigner that’s been here less than 10 years is a rare thing). This meant taking an occasional 90-minute train ride to Nagoya to buy books, and a 3-hour trek to Tokyo to buy a computer. Due to internet spread and general growth, the shopping and entertainment options have expanded greatly, so I wouldn’t mind living there again, although the job opportunities are still limited.
Suburban Machida, western outer Tokyo, Japan, Age 25-28

Like: It’s a nice, quiet suburb with lots of parks, and forests, mountains and rivers aren’t too far away. Downtown Tokyo is reasonably close, and Yokohama (better in many respects) is even closer. Machida city itself is great place full of shops and restaurants of every type. Not much that can’t be found there. Plus, it’s far enough away from the big city that rents aren’t completely unreasonable.
Dislike: Not much, really. My fiancee, however (she moved in with me from Hamamatsu about a year after I moved), absolutely hated it, as her job (which she also hated) was a 90-minute one-way commute. Plus, she’d lived downtown for several years before moving back to Hamamatsu, and wanted to be back in that life as soon as possible.
Sangenjaya, western downtown Tokyo, Age 28-33

Like: Very much a town that never sleeps. Along the 10-minute walk from the subway station to our apartment, I once counted over 50 places where you could get a prepared meal. The place was just as lively at 2am as 2pm (although still very safe; traffic was the only hazard), and no matter how late I was at the office, there were still plenty of restaurants and grocery stores open where I could grab some dinner. Lots of fun things to do right there, and Shibuya was only 5 minutes away by train.
Dislike: It was expensive to live there. Our apartment was smaller than our old place in Machida, and in a much older building, but cost two-thirds more. It’s also not much of a place to raise kids, and that’s what we (now married) were getting ready to start doing.
Minami-Senju, North-east of downtown Tokyo, Age 33-34 (present)

Like: We caught this neighborhood at just the right time. Before we got here, it was government housing and industrial wasteland, nothing but rows of gray apartments, empty spaces and warehouses. Our building was one of the first private condos to come in, and already there was land being cleared for shopping centers and schools. Soon after we signed the papers (about 2 years before the building was finished and we could move here), everyone who’d been saving for insanely expensive homes an hour away from the west side of Tokyo suddenly noticed that there was a perfectly good area only a 5-minute train ride out of the downtown on the east side for half the price. Now, new places are going up everywhere and the land prices are rising, but we got in first and we’re fully paid for (heh, heh!). Anyway, what I like: Despite its proximity to downtown, it’s a very suburban neighborhood where everything seems to have been built with young families in mind. We’re right next to the Sumida river, and there’s an ongoing project to build more and more parks along the flood levees that has turned out beautifully with plenty of walking and bike trails. We’re right next to the old Ueno and Asakusa districts, and I can get to work either with a 20-minute direct train ride with no line changes, or a leisurely bike ride by the river. Plus, I have an incredible view from my balcony (10th floor), which includes Mt. Fuji rising over the entire city.
Dislike: Unlike Sangenjaya, this town definitely sleeps. The shops and restaurants are all closed by 10, and even the convenience stores (which are 24-hour everywhere else) close at 2am. Our building is right next to a train freight yard, which gets a bit noisy at times (the trade off is that watching the trains and trucks is kinda like having a huge model railway set, plus the trainyard is important enough that my view is safe from developers). There’s also the nagging worry of whether the anti-earthquake measures will be enough when the big one hits. Also, my friends in Machida are now 2 hours away, so we don’t see each other much anymore.

Have always lived around Dayton, OH. Though in college I co-oped in Maryland. (Hated it.)

Seoul, South Korea (Total 8ish years)
Likes: Very urban, lots of things to do. Lots of good, inexpensive restaurants thanks to cut-throat competition. Fantastic public transportation.
Dislikes: Very crowded and dirty in parts. Air pollution’s pretty bad.

Toronto, Canada (2.5 years)
Likes: Urban without being crowded. Clean and friendly. Decent public transportation. Actually probably my favorite place I’ve lived.
Dislikes: Um… Let me think… A rather minor gripe is that everything is also written in French (like the rest of Canada) which makes signs and such harder to read at first glance.

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago (3 years)
Likes: Great beaches. Friendly people. Crazy carnival season (though I was a bit young to enjoy it). Relaxed atmosphere. Best ketchup in the world (Mabel’s)
Dislikes: TOO HUMID. Very narrow roads. Scary giant tropical insects. Generally poor infrastructure, prone to blackouts.

Guatemala City, Guatemala (3 years)
Likes: Great weather, thanks to the altitude (it’s perpetually summer). Everything’s cheap. Though technically not in the city, you can visit Mayan ruins and Lake Atitlan and other touristy places.
Dislikes: Oh man where do I start… Extremely dangerous, i.e virtually everyone knows someone that got robbed or kidnapped at some point and there are security guards everywhere (supermarket, private schools, businesses) with shotguns and bullet proof vests. Police are worthless, in that a high enough bribe will get them to look the other way for practically any crime. Sometimes they hassle foreigners with BS just to get a bribe out of them (happened to me once). Horribly economically stratified. Any indigenous person you can safely assume is poor. Beggars everywhere, a lot of times children. Lots of inefficient or simply incompetent businesses galore. Easily the worst place I’ve lived.

State College PA, USA (3 years and counting)
Likes: A college town so everyone’s pretty much my age. Most of the town catered towards college student.
Dislikes: Too rural. Not very great public transportation. I don’t have a car so I basically stay within a 3 mile radius for most semesters. Not a lot of variety in terms of anything, really. I’m sure this isn’t limited to here, but I was kind of surprised to find out how racist a lot of Americans are.

Oh yeah, I also lived in Oman for a couple of years but I was too young to remember anything so I can’t really comment.

I lived at Kent State University for a year. I liked not being a commuter, I hated having to live in a big building filled with other girls.

Otherwise, I’ve lived in Macedonia, Ohio my whole life. I like everything about it - otherwise I wouldn’t still be here.


I find Tuscon’s population at about 500,000 with a metro of 1 million. Atlanta’s metro population is between 4 and 5 million, although their city population is about the same size. Miami-Dade is about 2.5 million and the more extended metro is about 5 million people, maybe more. Don’t know much about St. Louis’s population.

That dog don’t hunt.

Lennoxville, Québec (age 0-9)
Like: Home town, made lots of friends, enjoyed school there. Close to the larger city of Sherbrooke for other things to do, and just 1.5 hours from Montreal and 2 from Québec City.
Dislike: At that age, I don’t remember much. Later on, I realised it was a very small town, transit sucks, everyone knows what everyone else is up to and there really isn’t that much to do for teenagers.

Kippenheimweiler (Lahr) Germany (ages 9-12)
Like: It was in Germany. 10 mins from France, 45 from Switzerland, a day’s drive to Spain… living on a Canadian Forces Base is an interesting experience, I think possibly more so because we were civilians. Class trips involved Rhine cruises and a week-long ski trip to Crans Montanta, Switzerland. There was just always something to do, it seemed.
Disliked: I couldn’t take my cat with me, so he was given to my aunt but he ran away. That hurt and angered me for a long time (seems silly, but at 9 years old, partway around the world, it was significant). I wish I had learned the language, but everywhere we went, someone either spoke French or English, so i never really had to try to speak German. I was too young to appreciate it. The base is now closed, and although some of it is being used, most of it is just decaying. I guess the things I dislike are more after the fact than during!

Rock Forest, Quebec (age 12-19)
Suburb of Sherbrooke, about 20 mins from Lennoxville.
Like: School was in Lenn, so i got to be there a lot and enjoyed it. Friends etc same as before. Proximity to Montreal.
Dislike: R.F. itself has barely any transit to mention, so I always had to get rides to go do anything. Even going to the mall was an hour and a half by bus. OTOH, it allowed me to get my driver’s license early, so put that up in the Like category. Overall, though, the area kind of dragged me down, and I knew I had to get out of there sooner or later. I love visiting, but I’m not ready to move back.

Guelph, Ontario (age 19-20)
Like: I loved that town, that university. It’s a beautiful place to live, with a lot of stuff happening all the time.
Dislike: First time away from home, I was kind of lonely. I didn’t make friends very quickly for some reason, and I was trying to manage a semi-long distance relationship with my SO, who was 45 mins away at another university. Tough year, a lot of adjustments.

Hamilton Ontario (age 20-25)
Like: Living with my So (now husband). Got a nice apartment, got a cat. Nice view of the escarpment, close to the Niagara wine route, a few good restaurants and favourite spots.
Disliked: everything else. Commuting to Guelph for school made it that much harder to make friends (my uni friends are pretty much all from my husband’s school), I ended up commuting to Mississauga for work, I was always tired and I got a little depressed. There isn’t that much to do in Hamilton, and although it’s close to Toronto for activities, that always felt like a hassle. I just never felt at home here.

Next up, Montreal, Quebec.
Next week. I’m not there yet. But c’mon, it’s MONTREAL! What’s not to like?!

Around Worcester, MA for half of my life: Liked Worcester’s proximity to Boston, but that’s about it. The towns I lived in were nice for being small yet full. Having Wachusett Mountain and Mt. Monadnock close by was perfect for hiking. The changing seasons were beautiful. Visits to the Cape, Vermont, Conneticut and Maine were easy and fun.
Disliked the harsh weather, the crappy roads, the ugly houses and trees and general look of the land. You constantly get lost because of the bizarre set-up of roads and highways, and there’s way too many people crammed into a too-small space.

Bangor, ME for 6 months when I was in kindergarten: I liked the apple trees and raspberry bushes. I hated the slugs that occupied the yard.

West Central FL for th other half of my life: Love the weather, the proximity to beaches, the gorgeous landscaping and the little lizards that dart about everywhere. There’s very little I dislike about FL - it just feels *right * to me. The fire ants and cockroaches bother me the most. Also the possibility of hurricanes, and the insanely high insurance rates (both car and house).

Listing all of my places excluding my city of birth and current residence:

Isfahan, Iran
Lived there in 1978-1979

Liked: I was only 3 years old so my recollection of the place is spotty, but Iran is a little boy’s paradise. Trated like a prince by the local populace, I was!

Dislike: We left hastily and under less than ideal circumstances.

Chicago, IL
Attended the Illinois Inst. of Technology from 1993-1997

Liked: I LOVE Chicago. A big city with blue collar, midwesten attitude. Tons of culture, tons of different cusines, I became a foodie there. I love everything about Chicago, good and bad.

Disliked: I couldn’t stand the school I attended.

Minneapolis/St. Paul/Eagan, MN
Lived there during the winter months of '96/'97/'98

Liked: I enjoyed the Twin Cities for the most part. The people are great, I loved the layout of the city and Minnesota is a beautiful state.

Disliked: I was only there from Jan-May and good lord, the winter is OPPRESSIVE. I never got to enjoy the place during the summer.

Northern Virginia: 0-29
Like: ?
Dislike: Sterile, souless

Moscow, Russia: 29-30
Like: Russians
Dislike: Russians

Charlottesville, VA: 31-32 (grad school)
Like: Close to Shenandoah valley, great small town feel
Dislike: Frat boys and the girls from Gamma Wamma Bamma, overt racism; crazed girlfriend

Novosibirsk, Russia 33-34
Like: Russians
Dislike: Russians, sub-zero temperature

Kosovo 34-35
Like: Rewarding work, exciting time in history, fell in love with my wife there
Dislike: expats

Takoma Park, MD 36-38
Like: living with my wife
Dislike: Pretentious pseudo-hippy flakes, third world traffic, more pretentious psedo-hippy flakes again

Washington, DC 38-present
Like: city life, culture, sense of community
Dislike: lack of voting rights, drivers from Maryland and Virginia

While based in DC, I have also lived in

Kabul, Afghanistan
Like: Afghans, Buzkashi
Dislike: I met Geraldo Riviera

Baghdad, Iraq
Like: Iraqi people are wonderful
Dislike: probably obvious

I’ve mostly lived in California.

Liked: um…there were cotton fields next to my school, and you could pick cotton through the fence. Good libraries, and my grandmother lived there so we saw her all the time. Dewar’s ice cream, the Fox theater, and (long ago) my grandparents’ stereo store. The sound of trains at night.

Disliked: Bakersfield is hot, flat, smoggy, and very foggy in winter. The feeling of waking up in the morning and knowing just from the feel of 7am that it is going to be really, really hot today. There is not actually all that much to like about it, and though I have that fondness for my childhood home, I would never want to live there again.
Santa Maria
Liked: nice little town, affordable, good weather, close to the beach and to cooler towns like San Luis Obispo. You get to watch missile tests from the local AFB. Lots of fresh strawberries, and my best friend lives there. Library is pretty good.

The schools aren’t much good, education isn’t very valued by a lot of people, and most importantly, for some reason nearly everyone in SM is crazy. Everyone has these dramatic soap-opera lives, much more so than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. Also, the town smells funny and the water is awful, though residents do not notice.

Well, I love Berkeley. I love almost everything about it.

Quite a few bad smells, and driving is like being in a video game.

San Jose
Lots of libraries, lots of people from all over.

Traffic, almost everything about the huge size of the place. It takes 45 minutes to get to Target! How are you supposed to live in a place where it takes so long to get everywhere?

Likes: I love almost everything about Chico. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best places to live in CA, and I say that knowing that right now it’s nearly 100 degrees out at 9am, and tomorrow it’s going to be 107 or more. It’s a lot better than Bakersfield, heat-wise, because this over-100 stuff only happens for a couple of weeks each summer, instead of every day for 3 months, and we have lots of trees, and a creek. For the Central Valley, that’s nice and cool.

Dislikes: The city planning people. Also the idiots who vandalized the public pool last weekend. And though I love the library itself, it’s woefully inadequate for the town.

Columbus, OH: 0-6 weeks
Eat, poop, sleep. Repeat. What’s not to like?

Syracuse, NY: 6 weeks - 6 years
Good: Sesame Street.

Bad: Nightmare about fire.

Chillicothe, OH: Age 6-18
Good: My hometown. Small, friendly, safe, pretty. I was a good student and good at music, so it was easy to stand out in an apple-polishing way. Trains, thunderstorms, fireflies, cicadas, little league, marching band. Happy memories of slow dances with pretty girls.

Bad: Provincial, intellectually stifling, and the paper mill smelled terrible.

Springfield, OH: 18-22
Good: Pretty college campus (Wittenberg Univ.), close to Yellow Springs. Liberal arts education. Pretty girls now encountered not at dances, but in dorm rooms.

Bad: Provincial; once off campus, the rest of Springfield I found unattractive at best.

State College, PA: 22-29
Good: As a grad student in English, I met a lot of smart and interesting people, read a lot of great books, wrote a lot of papers which, though bad, taught me a lot. Began studying philosophy with some truly great professors. Hosted a jazz radio show. Learned to teach. Met my wife. Saw some exciting football games. Ate some really good ice cream.

Bad: Provincial (hmm, a theme in this post).

Paris, France: age 27
Good: Well, it sure ain’t provincial. I learned French, went to philosophy seminars at the Sorbonne, saw a lot of great movies, met interesting people, had a lovely girlfriend, ate marvelous bread, and discovered to my surprise that I really liked city living.

Bad: Occasionally lonely and/or exhausting. I wish I’d understood the language and culture well enough to make French friends, but that was my problem, not theirs.

Seattle, WA: 29-38 (present)
Good: A beautiful, friendly, interesting city where I’m experiencing life as a married and gainfully employed person. Somewhere along the way, Seattle became home.

Bad: My wife and I both feel we live too far from our families (in Ohio and Pennsylvania).

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada (10/72-8/96 except for small breaks outlined below)
Since this is where I was born and spent most of my life is the place I’m most homesick for. I liked that it was a mid-sized city that you could easily take a short trip to the country and was only an hour from Toronto. It had a good multicultural feel and I loved it having one of the largest Oktoberfests which coincided with my birthday. My main dislike was the winter weather.

I spent a couple co-op terms elsewhere in Ontario:

Sarnia (1/93-4/93) – neutral, not much in the way of likes or dislikes here, I don’t seem to remember it much.

St. Catherines (9/93-12/93) – A decent smaller town right close to Niagara Falls and not far from Toronto and Kitchener.

Cornwall (5/94-9/94 and 1/95-4/95) – other than the friends I made and that it was close to Ottawa and Montreal (about an hour from each) I didn’t like the city much. I called it the other armpit of Ontario (Windsor is supposedly at the other end but I’ve only driven through).

Austin, TX (9/96-5/97) – I went to grad school at UT. I liked Austin a lot and sometimes wish I was still back there. Great music scene and I loved Sixth Street. There are a lot of outdoor pursuits. Traffic can be pretty bad and I suppose the high percentage of partying college students can get annoying after a while.

Los Alamos, NM (5/97-5/98) – By far the most scenic place I lived with some great motorcycle rides. I loved the food and it was fun to become a regular at the only 2 bars in town. That was also the downfall, it was too small with too many too intelligent-for-their-own-good folks running around (coneheads as they were known).

Houston, TX (6/98 – Present) – Lots of things to do and a fairly diverse population. It’s still a little too heavy in religious and conservative folks for me and I find racism quite high in comparison with what I’m used to up north. It’s also too flat, I prefer being in a hilly region. Traffic is also quite bad. Ideally I’d like to head back up to the Toronto area but I don’t see it happening too soon.

San Francisco, California (birth-8)
Like: Lots of stuff to do. Never gets very hot. Giants baseball.
Dislike: My parents wouldn’t let me get a bike. And I went to a school across town, requiring an hour on the bus every day. Too expensive for normal humans.

Petaluma, California (8-18, 21-23)
Like: Good schools, had my own bedroom for the first time ever. Went to the school across the street. Close enough to go to Giants games. Finally learned to ride a bike.
Dislike: Sometimes does get hot in the summer. Not much to do, especially when I was a teenage. For some reason, really terrible streets. Lots of hicks.

Santa Cruz, California (18, 19, 21)
Like: Pretty. Got a decent education here.
Dislike: Oh my god, where to start? Full of the world’s most annoying, disconnected people. Unbelievable number of street people. I haven’t been back a single time since graduation.

Jerusalem, Israel (20)
Like: I loved Jerusalem!
Dislike: No good Mexican food. Everything shuts down on Saturday. There are some truly insane people there.

Ann Arbor, Michigan (23)
Like: Nice town, pretty, with lots of smart people. Good bookstores.
Dislike: Hard for someone who isn’t a native A2er or connected in some way to UM to find a niche.

Chicago, Illinois (24-27)
Like: I love Chicago! Beautiful, great food, great public transportation, very few Republicans. Best city evar.
Dislike: Trixie and Chad. Terrible, infuriating politics. Cubs fans. Brain melting heat in the summer.

Bulgaria (27-now [my 28th birthday is next week])
Like: Beautiful, kind and welcoming people, good food.
Dislike: The Bulgarian language. A distinct lack of either avocados or limes.

Waltham, MA (0 to 18)

Like: Good food, it’s home, I know where everything is, Boston is lieke 20 minutes away

Dislike: Even though it’s a big town, it matters who your family is, what church you go to and what European country your family came from. Never could answer all those questions quite right.

Lowell, MA (18-19 college)

Like: cool town with lots of people, near home and near Boston.

Dislike: a car radio has a shorter live expectancey than most bugs, driving in downtown Lowell is worse than downtown Boston.

Davis, CA (19-20, abortive attempt at gradschool)

Like: The produce

Dislike: everything else.

Now I’m back in Lowell.