Confession... I love the suburbs!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Joe and I have lived together in Bordeaux, Los Angeles, Orange County, Seattle, San Diego, and now we’re back in Orange County. I never thought this would be where we’d settle. I had imagined London, Paris, or Bangkok -somewhere urban, filled with culture, diversity, and museums, all within walking distance of the metro. I still daydream a bit about these places but it seems that we’re here to stay. We live 20 minutes away from every core member of Joe’s family and spending time with them is our great joy -the kids and ours! I never thought I would say it but I love where we live- LOVE IT.

It’s absolutely white, posh Suburbia -it seriously looks like the set of Desperate Housewives, complete with cast and probably plot! I have to say I did cringe when we moved here. Moi, an elitist French woman, moving to the suburbs? Non merci. I fought the idea quite a bit. Intellectually I had a very hard time considering this move a good idea. I looked into diversity (terrible!), schools (excellent!), walk score (dismal!), houses (lovely!). In the end, we decided that if we were to live in Orange County it would make sense to be as close as possible to Joe’s family in an environment that was nurturing for the boys. So we moved to this slice of suburban paradise, and boy am I glad we did.

For one, the boys love living here. There are so many children their age in the neighborhood. Our oldest Léo can walk to our next-door neighbor or a couple of doors down, knock, and instantly have friends to play with. It’s perfect. We can walk to daycare and school. There are green areas to play everywhere -it’s just perfect for them.

I, on the other hand, thought that I would not mix well with the people here -especially with women who probably don’t work and vote Republican. And it’s true that the majority of the moms I know fall into both categories. But I have completely enjoyed them and learnt to tone down my dumb assumptions (how judgmental can one be? Very, apparently). On the contrary, I appreciate our shared parenthood experience and share in the humor and pain of raising little ones, exchange recipes, joke about needing wine at 2pm. Our conversations are simple, yet so friendly and joyful. I also found like-minded friends- staunch liberals who, when I waver about my commitment to this place, remind me that change happens locally, slowly, and that we must do what we can where we are - one conversation, one march, one town hall meeting or one library event at a time. What is not to love in that?

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