Wednesday 10 March 2010

Where could I live?

I thought about this yesterday: I have seen a number of places in my life, towns and cities, both as a resident and as a tourist. I was wondering in which one of them I could live and be happy, if I had the opportunity to move there. Loving a place depends of emotional factors much more than objectives ones. I thought I would make the list here of the places I would most gladly move to:

-There is Montreal. Well of course. This is where I feel most at home and where I feel most local. Even though I am from Saguenay, which a Montrealer easily identifies the moment I open my mouth (it appears that I kept my accent), I feel Montrealer. It is true that many Bleuets expats end up in Montreal, so it's like a second home for us. Strangely enough, I do not feel the need to go back and live in Chicoutimi.
-There is also Liverpool, my city of adoption (albeit for a relatively short period of time). It might not be a beautiful place, but neither is Montreal and Liverpool, probably more than Montreal, has character. I never felt local, but I never felt like a stranger either. Maybe it is because Liverpool has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants, which makes it a city where one feels naturally at home, maybe it is because there are cultural similarities between the Scousers and the Québec Northerner I am, maybe it is because Liverpool was the city where I got my favourite job so far. I probably idealise it more than I should, but there you go.
-Bath I think I could appreciate living there, although I might find the history of the city a bit heavy on a daily basis. But it is just so beautiful a place, I wouldn't miss the chance of trying it as a resident.
-Same thing with Cambridge, which I find beautiful, but maybe with too much history. I would certainly try it if I had the chance. I might feel intimidated by the presence of its university, but I would sure spend lots of time in its bookstores.
-Dublin. I have been there once, ten years ago, and for only one week, but I loved it to bits. I did not feel the presence of history at all, even though I saw many tourists. I had a thing for Ireland before I went there, it only got stronger after I left. And I could live on Guinness easily.
-I always thought I would feel comfortable living in Bergamo. But then I would need to improve my Italian. Bergamo is another city I really loved. It is heavy with history, but I did not feel the tourist's presence much, if at all. I have a thing for Italian culture and a personal bound with the country, which I blogged about often. I could develop this relationship in Bergamo. The fact that it is in the North of Italy makes it a natural choice. Like in Liverpool, I would be a Northerner there too. I have one vivid image of Bergamo: I was at the top of a tower (can't remember the name, but it has a history) and I could hear a baritone singing Mozart from the Music faculty of their university nearby. Idyllic. There are one or two other anecdotes about me and the place, which I might blog about one day.

The jury is still out for Vancouver and Manchester, which I loved but as a tourist (and in Manchester as a pilgrim) and I am not sure I could apppreciate these particular cities as much as a resident. Anyway, where could you, my readership, live, if you were given the choice?


Jazz said...

Montreal is home to lots of us Quebec city expats too. It's a great place. I would never go back to Quebec either.

suzanne said...

Interesting post. I feel fortunate to have been able to return to live in Halifax (NS), a city I have loved since I visited it it as a teenager and lived in as a university student. I have been back for seven years and would be quite happy to remain. Like you, I have no desire to return to Sydney, the city of my birth and childhood. I also lived in Toronto for several years and while I have no great desire to live there again, I do feel at home when I visit. There are many cities that I have visited and thought I could enjoy living in: Boston, Sydney (AUS), Edinburgh. However, I'm not sure if being a permanent resident would change my feelings.

Guillaume said...

@Jazz-Strange, as many people from Quebec City hate Montreal. I know I would never choose it over Montreal.
@Halloween Spirit-I think one always keeps special fondness for the city where he/she started university life.