|A babbling brook on a quick mile loop hike in the town in which we are hoping to live, Hopkinton, NH.|
The shock and denial of moving from London is dissipating--though I will never get that town out of my blood and head--not quite--and, well, you never know what life holds. But we've put our flag on US soil and intend to make a life for ourself here - even bought a car and, today, phones.
So, you ask, why New Hampshire?
1. We are geographically neutral career-wise. Sort of. I am less so than Lance, but he's followed my career to England, back to New York, and then to Libya, so it's my turn! And there is no family nucleus pulling us to one spot (our families live in North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Utah, and California). As long as we live within striking distance of a U.S. airport, we are "close" to family.
2. We like New England. Lance and I have both lived in Boston and loved it - the architecture, the fall colors, the focus on education and culture - and like parts of New England we have visited.
3. New Hampshire is the most tax-friendly of the New England states and, not unrelated, the most purple state of the region as well. It's modo is, after all, "Live Free or Die!"
4. It is beautiful, with a lake region, New England's version of mountains, and a tiny sliver of beach.
5. It has great schools. New Hampshire is home to an Ivy League (Dartmouth), the best high school in the country (Phillips Exeter), and great public schools for us penny-pinchers.
6. Real estate is reasonable here. We also looked at Jackson Hole, but were heavily swayed by the fact that we can afford a postage stamp there and a mansion here for the same amount of money--not that we want to live in a big home, but just saying'...
7. We can have a little farmlette within walking distance of a town center.
8. We can have all of the above and live within about an hour of a great city, Boston.
Thankfully, our research paid off. It turns out to be all we had hoped and the people are incredibly kind and welcoming. Most importantly, we feel like we can create an idyllic life for our children that is nurturing, safe, and challenging - but you can be the judge from these pictures.
If you were geographically neutral and could start over again fresh, where would you pick to raise your family?
|G's become quite the little poser - her came up with this one himself!|
|We took a trip to Portsmouth to make sure we didn't want to live there or its suburbs Durham or Newmarket (or Exeter). It is a quaint city with much of its 18th century landscaping, architecture, and shops still in tact. It is lovely.|
|New Hampshirites are very patriotic - flags are everywhere!|
* One of G's new jobs is picking up the floor after a meal - mostly the food Esther has flung to the floor. Gideon is a bit finicky about cleanliness and had to be coached a bit the other morning after a particularly messy breakfast. "It's so yucky!" he said, hesitating. Finally, after being paper towels to help with the mess, he managed to pick up almost all of the food. Better nip his OCD in the bud!
* We are temporarily housed in a not-so-nice neighborhood (although the apartment is nice) in Manchester, NH, in the direct flight path of the nearby airport. Gideon will wave to each and every plane as it lands, regardless of whether he can see the airplane or not (or they can see him, for that matter).
* G insisted that we go in search of fire trucks the other day. I was lucky enough to intercept a truck on its way back from duty. The fireman made Gideon's day by giving him a full tour, a hat, and letting him seat in the front seat!
* Esther is crawling as much as a few feet at a time. She is very, very proud of herself.
* E will kiss on cue, and greeted me the other day at church after I was with Gideon in nursery for a bit with three wet ones. It melts me.