My Prince of the Forest was given notification that his office in New York is closing three years earlier than expected. His choices are to leave a company he loves and has been loyal to for 18 years, or he can be assigned to one of the company's two other offices: Princeton, New Jersey, or Rennes, France. The company is based in California, as were we once upon a time, but California is not an option. As Semisonic's 1998 strangely liquor-loving ode to birth goes, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."
So.... I am not sure where the future takes us, but we must leave Sleepy Hollow--dearest chosen home of my heart--next summer. The anxiety is nearly unbearable, so I channel my OCD into Google searches about our two potential future homes. Let's learn a little about them, shall we?
|There it is, two and a half hours southwest of our home.|
Just far enough away to know no one and nothing.
Population: about 30,000
Median House Price: that would be $750,000
Median Property Taxes: $16,000
Public Schools: Freaking phenomenal, naturally
|Hold on: are we actually talking about Scarsdale, New York?|
Princeton University: Claims to be an Ivy League, but as a Columbia University grad, I question whether one can call oneself an Ivy League if walking around campus doesn't guarantee bits of broken glass get lodged in your sandals.
|Yes, it's perfect. But have you MET ME? Is this my natural habitat?|
Let's be honest: we'll all be fine in Princeton. Maybe I'll find a few secret weirdos to bond with. But it's expensive--even for a Westchester resident of 18 years--and, frankly, none of us really feel drawn to this, even the Badgerettes, who only find consolation in the fact that we could come back for Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown's brilliant Halloween parties and parades.
So, how about the other contender for new, permanent home for this American Badger?
|So far away it actually seems like fun.|
Population: about 250,000
Median House Price: 300,000 Euros (right now, that's like $350,000)
Median Property Taxes: 3,000 Euros (but they'll hit us up for more in other ways)
Public Schools: some of the finest in the world, thank you
|Anywhere we go will feature Tudor Style buildings,|
but these are actually medieval.
University of Rennes: 26,000 students specializing in science, tech, and the humanities. My kind of folks.
|Dang it! I don't think I'm going to get |
glass shards in my feet here, either.
Rennes is the capitol city of Brittany, the Silicon Valley of La Belle France...without the Silicon Valley real estate prices. It's home to huge numbers of English speaking expatriates, and it's considered one of the most welcoming places in France for foreigners to live. (Once upon a time, I lived in Paris, and I can't imagine a less welcoming place--and I did live in NYC, so I'm not throwing uninformed shade.)
Did I mention that I'm fairly fluent in French? Oh, I make an ass of myself regularly, but I can clown like Jerry Lewis at the drop of a hat, so it usually turns out ok.
Interestingly, the Badgerettes (especially #1) are down for adventure. Both are happily playing French language games on Babbel these days, in anticipation of a future in which they'll need to parle that stuff. Even The Prince is learning office talk in French, mostly along the lines of "Je voudrais une biere."
You get the point: I'd rather raise French girls than Jersey girls, and they'd rather be French girls than Jersey girls (even the Prince).
Fingers crossed, for America and for us. Some of my toes are crossed, too. I hope we all get what is best for our future. I'll keep you updated.
And I leave you with more one-hit-wonder lyrics from Semisonic:
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend.
Closing time, every new beginning comes
From some other beginning's end.
Tanya Monier, 2016