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Finding Community

As I’ve mentioned, I have been putting a lot of thought into relocating. London is a lovely town, but still doesn’t feel like home to me, at least not like other areas like eastern Ontario. I think it has a lot to do with the landscape; I need hills and trees and real wilderness around me, and Southwestern Ontario is quite devoid of all three.

Another reason I’m drawn to eastern Ontario (especially around Kingston) is that the culture there is much more in keeping with my interests and values of sustainability. Ithaca is showing me to be even further down that path. Apparently it is already common place for people to carry around their own plate and cutlery, in addition to mug (this is one of the things I plan on implementing personally in 2009), and many restaurants offer a discount to those who do so. How fabulous.

Not surprisingly, I’ve been wondering if I should consider looking in this area for employment, in addition to Ontario. I’ve always liked NY state, and I think I could live here from what I’ve seen so far. But the thought occurred to me: what would it be like to live in an area where so many people share these particular values. Would I find strong community? Or would I have to find different ways of connecting with people? I have made some really terrific friends in London and one of the reasons I think we have become such good friends is that we bond over a sort of ‘resistance’ we share. Local food, sustainable living and critical political thought is what brings us together.

What would happen in an area where these values and interests are widespread? How will I meet people? Will I make such good friends? Or will I find myself isolated in a sea of yuppies as I did when living in Cambridge, MA (another very intellectual & “progressive” community)?

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3 Responses

  1. I could really see you in Ithaca! Do you remember last Christmas, sitting at my mother’s coffee table, and me going on and on about it? Sure, it does have a bijou quality but I do not think it’s at Cambridge’s level. Lively community, lots of environmental awareness, a good art gallery. And it has great second-hand bookshops!

  2. I was indeed thinking about you the whole time I was down there and remembering how much you liked it! And I could see myself living there too. The trick would be breaking into the job market… I agree that it’s not like Cambridge. After I’d spent a few more days it became clear to me that Ithaca is a lot more down to earth and real. I will definitely go back soon and get to know the area a bit better!

  3. There’s got to be a way all your interests come together and I’m sure you will find it. The experience and expertise you’re acquiring is valuable – dare I say, many people would value it more than a PhD????? Hey, if an artisanal sock-yarn knitting venture can fly, why not a mapcap niche service of your own? A friend and I were just saying that we would love someone to come our homes and tell us how to make it more environmentally friendly, from light bulbs to window sealing to lots of other things. I’m not suggesting that you do this (!), but there are a lot of people out there who want to constructively improve their lives and eco-footprints, but just don’t know where to start and don’t have the time to do the research you have done. Your knowledge is worth something!

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