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  1. #11
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    These are such interesting answers. Thanks all.

    A few of you make good arguments for the sunny places and against the grey places. I've grown up with the grey places for the most part. West Coast Canada (Vancouver Island), Dublin for a few years, and London for the last several. Roughly the same climate in all - a lot of grey cloud, a lot of rain...sometimes there are sunny spells and sometimes they are even long, but it's not the overall climate.

    England really doesn't come across that well here. I feel connected to England, I think partly due to ancestry, partly cultural fascinations, partly having a good deal of understanding and sympathy for what the people are like - reserve, slow developing friendships, fortitude in the face of adversity, etc. I do realise though that my relationship to London is a really strange thing. After three years in Dublin I was more than ready to leave. I made good friends there, had some really good times (and bad times) but I feel nothing for the city now. Last time I was there was just for a few hours a couple of years ago, and I didn't feel like I liked it, didn't dislike it, just felt really indifferent almost, except for a few moments and places which touched me. It was weird. I wonder a bit if it was partly because my last year there was really rough and I sort of walled myself off emotionally from the place.

    But London - after almost six years I still have a passion for it that freaks me out. I sometimes say jokingly that it's the love of my life and it's almost true. When I walk across Waterloo Bridge, or Trafalgar Square, or I glimpse Big Ben through the London Eye, or I hit one of my fav restaurants on Westbourne Grove, or get great cheap Portuguese coffee in my new area...I can still get really, really excited. "I can't believe I live here, I am so privileged." And yet there is so much stress and weirdness that goes along with this city. I think of it as a drug, as well as an abusive relationship. Lovely, I know. But it just keeps me coming back and back and back. I don't know if I will be able to leave. Sometimes I think about it, sometimes I think I might just stay, but even if I do decide I'm ready to go, I am sure I will miss it incredibly. I love the feelings I get when I walk the streets. The layers of history and events and people. The things I've done. I've met one of my best friends, met a lot of other great people, worked for one of the biggest publishing houses in the world, gone to a backstage Depeche Mode party, seen virtually every band I love, heard Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney reading his poems twice, heard John le Carre reading twice, seen Jeremy Irons, Jude Law, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Derek Jacobi on stage, run away from an underground train because it was full of hideously drunk people, traveled to several continents, had poets flirt with me, the list goes on and on and on. Of course, there's also been a great deal of stress, falling in love twice with a total lack of success, spilled my guts trying to support people who don't appreciate it, discovering just how cold and hard and hedonistic people can be, been in some measure a victim of social prejudice (unless I totally deceive myself), that list goes on too. But I feel like over the last six years this place has defined me in so many ways and...I have a lot of work to do but I haven't turned out too badly. And I think there are other places where I might have ended up much more complacent, or much more bitter...those things in particular.

    I certainly have a sensitivity to places. Even in terms of places I just like to travel to, I would take a city that gives me uncomfortable feelings over a city that gives me no feelings, any day. Berlin bewildered me with its sense of hedonism, the presence of the dead, the weight of history. I was fascinated but disturbed. Cairo was like being on crack cocaine - well, I think it was the closest I've ever been to that. New York was like a surge of electric energy. Japan had so much serenity that I felt my stress draining right away. Prague was a fairytale dream and I couldn't stop smiling, but was also aware of a dark and strange history. London is certainly the kind of place where you can walk the streets and get strange feelings and really not know why. I find that especially in the City, the oldest part of London. Later, you may find out about the history behind that place where you had the feeling, and it explains something. I think that goes back to psychogeography.

    Sometimes I think I would like to try living in the States, though Canada appeals more to me generally as I grew up there. But Americans are friendly. I love New York, and I'd also consider Portland Oregon, or San Francisco.
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  2. #12
    Another awesome member. Curator's Avatar
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    Portland is awesome, for a big city living on the outskirts, one can feel like they are in the middle of nature, but be a short drive away from any of the fun things about larger cities...
    You are not powerless, you just need to accept your power for what it is, a part of the whole, no one man can save the world, but you can be a light to those who envelope themselves in darkness, The candle that sparks the inferno.

  3. #13
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curator View Post
    Portland is awesome, for a big city living on the outskirts, one can feel like they are in the middle of nature, but be a short drive away from any of the fun things about larger cities...
    Portland reminded me of Canada. that may have been part of the appeal. And Vancouver fits your above description very well too. It just seemed like a really nice city, clean and peaceful, close to nature, and a good cultural scene, and one of the biggest bookshops in the world
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  4. #14
    Another awesome member. Curator's Avatar
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    they also have a doughnut shop that sells maple doughnuts with bacon on them... I almost never eat pork or beef anymore, or processed sugars... but that doughnut...omg... so damn amazing... I think the place my friend got it for me from was voodoo doughnuts...
    You are not powerless, you just need to accept your power for what it is, a part of the whole, no one man can save the world, but you can be a light to those who envelope themselves in darkness, The candle that sparks the inferno.

  5. #15
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    I like the outdoorsy Northwest cities a lot - Vancouver, Portland, Seattle. Has anyone seen the TV series Portlandia (essentially making fun of Portland and all things liberal?)

  6. #16
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Yeah, I can see what you mean, Silk, even though I can't articulate my feelings as eloquently. Most of all, I enjoy living in a place with a varied climate, with four definite seasons (I know Italy has a reputation for being sunny all-year-long, yet northern Italy's climate is more similar to the US east coast - washington DC area, mostly), because I have different emotional states and energy levels associated with each one of them. I lived in Copenhagen for 7 months, and while I loved how spring was even drier than in Italy, I was weirded out by a rainy summer - I am almost addicted to a certain oppressive heat which is typical of July and August around here, you're forced to become relaxed and live life slowly, something that - as an ENTJ - I suck at.

    I've also lived in Rome for one year, where summertime lasts up to October - I felt like my natural biological clock didn't work as well, because I was becoming frantic (typically up here everyone becomes frantic by the time it's October) yet the city wasn't responding to my feelings.

    I could take living in a northerly place, provided that four seasons were still present. Oh I also love cycling (I race), so it'd have to be somewhere near the countryside (couldn't take living in the city centre of a big metropolis).
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  7. #17
    Another awesome member. Curator's Avatar
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    Id love to even VISIT Italy someday,lol... living there sounds pretty awesome!!!
    You are not powerless, you just need to accept your power for what it is, a part of the whole, no one man can save the world, but you can be a light to those who envelope themselves in darkness, The candle that sparks the inferno.

  8. #18
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Rome is such an amazing city. It took me a couple of days to really warm up to it, but I don't think I've ever been to such a cultural and historic storehouse, and I've been to some other incredible ones. Plus, the food, wine, coffee, and hot policemen are amazing. I find Italian culture hard to relate to, though. I relate much better to northern Europe or North America, which is my background.

    THat's interesting about seasons. I've lived in places where the seasons can tend to be...mushy, which is annoying. Of course they exist, but you never quite know what you will get.
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  9. #19
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Eheh. Well, in many ways it is, although it has gotten a bit worse during the last 10 years (I mean, work-wise n' stuff). Still many people don't really appreciate what the have...

    Rome is such an amazing city. It took me a couple of days to really warm up to it, but I don't think I've ever been to such a cultural and historic storehouse, and I've been to some other incredible ones. Plus, the food, wine, coffee, and hot policemen are amazing. I find Italian culture hard to relate to, though. I relate much better to northern Europe or North America, which is my background.
    Right, I think it's always hard for anyone to "change" culture. Even expats often feel out of place after many years. And yeah, the only place which IME rivalled Rome was Athens, when it comes to being a cultural storehouse (but Rome is better kept).
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  10. #20
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    I generally think a lot about this topic. I like reading about feng shui.

    For five years, I was a gardener, specializing in Japanese or Oriental style. However, I was interested in creating the perfection of a moment...between person, place...an intersection in time...that perfectly effected them like moment of joy...

    I do the same thing now, except that it is focused on providing beauty in the moment in the experience of their fish. I think about the store owner and the person with the house and the pond.

    I really like the city for things like opera, plays, art museums, talks, clubs, social events, art openings, ballets, and so on. However, I dislike cities for the traffic, congestion, noise, activity, and too many people.

    I got a chance and went to London for a few days, and I was so tired from jet lag. I just sat there, staring at the giant Monet lily painting. I loved the underground. I saw some museums and the tower.

    At one museum, I had a major disagreement with some bobbies. There was a unowned package, and they were calling the bomb squad, but I was like very upset. I don't care what-all if there is a bomb, I want to see this NOW.

    Hah, I walked across the Thames at 11:30 PM, and I picked up a trench-coat-shadow mugger. I turned around and walked towards him and said, "What the hell do you WANT? You better stay the f**k away from me." In which case, his plan somewhat failed. Plus, I out-ran him in the stairwell. There was a beggar lad in the stairwell who asked for money. The strategy game is that I give money to the boy, and the man trotting behind me knocks me on the head and takes the rest. But I ignored the lad and made jumped down the stairs.

    I was trying to go to the plays, but they said I was much too late, so I looked at some big photos they had there of some third world scenes. Very nice art. Later, I walked back across and ate wings at the Hard Rock Cafe.

    Ah, there were some boys singing in the Westminster Abbey. I think it was Christmas Eve. They were nice. Yet, some cleric told I should take my hat off. I was like, "But you are wearing a hat too." He had a little round cap on. I eventually took my cap off...since he said I'd be asked to leave. However, the rule was absurd because he didn't take his hat off. I mean really! How comes he gets to wear a hat and I can't? I think mine was a stocking cap because my ears were cold.

    OH, I did like tea and biscuits in the afternoon and English breakfast. That was nice.

    Thus, I had pleasant moments, like looking at the Monet. But there was also some frustrations and irritation. I left with mixed feelings.

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