Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where to Live?

Another big decision that I will be making in the next year and a half is where I want to live.  I'm 99% certain it's not here.  Once my self-imposed time limit is up, so to will be my lease.  I've already lived in this apartment for three years, the longest I've lived in one place since high school.  I want to move on.

At the moment, I REALLY want to leave Michigan.  Again.  I doubt I'll move as far away as last time, when I moved to southern Maryland, but it will be further south.  I'm tired of the winter.  I do have two backup Michigan cities with East Lansing and Grand Rapids.  The first has Michigan State, giving me access to cultural events.  The later, which I just started thinking about, is supposed to be a nice place to live, in general.  I'm still looking into what is there.

My top, and currently only, non-Michigan city is one you may recognize:  Bloomington, IN.  This city contains what was my number one choice PhD program.  In fact, I know that Indiana University hires programmers.  If that doesn't pan out, and I would make sure I have a job before moving anywhere, there is a community college where I could teach.  With a population of about 85k, it's about the right size.  I would like either 75k and fairly stable or 50k and growing.

Indiana and Illinois are both viable to me, as is western Pennsylvania.  I wouldn't mind living near Philly, but it's a bit too far away from my family.  I don't think I could live in Ohio; I'm sure it's a nice state, but I never cared for what I saw when driving through it.  Granted, I'm sure it's better than I'm giving credit for, and I'm probably influenced by my family, but Ohio is off my list.

Right now, I would like to find two or three more options.  I also have a week-long trip planned to Bloomington this summer to check it out.  No point in trying to move somewhere if I've never even been there before.

What are my other criteria?  A university/community college nearby, some cultural events, fairly close to an expressway, within an hour of an airport, not too cold or hot, not too far from Michigan so I can visit my family, not too big or small or a city/town, somewhat spread out, not a part of a larger metropolitan area, have plenty of parks, and fairly diverse.  Bloomington seems to fit all of these criteria (from what I've read).  Even the Find Your Spot website ( listed Bloomington in my top five. 

East Lansing also fits many of my criteria, except that it's too cold.  I like the college town atmosphere, though.  And I have a cousin who seems to want to live there.  I might visit there on a couple of weekends if my my trip to Bloomington doesn't go as planned.  I also need to find some other places to visit.  Oddly enough, Bloomington, IL looks kinda nice.  Maybe I'll take two weeks and explore both cities this summer.

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