Once upon a time there was a girI named Brownilocks. She had curly brown hair and was extraordinarily clever. She grew up in Nice: a beautiful, colourful place with an azure sea, green pines, and yellow, orange and red houses. Brownilocks loved her hometown, but she also wanted to explore the world.
She thought for a long time before deciding to leave the old city’s lovely cafés where she liked to sit for hours, the warm mediterranean, and the sun, almost always up in the sky. Nice offered all that was good about France, but also all that was bad. The food was a scrumptious mix of French and Italian cuisine, people knew how to enjoy simple pleasures, and there was a certain laissez-faire atmosphere that Brownilocks found both charming and maddening.
Unfortunately, it was difficult to find a well-paid job outside of tourism and real-estate. The population was rather old, for a lot of retired people moved to Nice to enjoy the sun. In the end, Brownilocks felt limited there. All the boys she knew were already in love with her, she lacked exciting prospects, and went to the same bars and cafés again and again.
“This city is too small!” she exclaimed and skipped all the way to New York City.
Brownilocks quickly fell in love with NYC and its bright lights, wide avenues, constant movement, and the creative spirit hiding in every corner. Food was everywhere, and in all variety. Brownilocks wanted to try every bagel, brownie, cookie, cheesecake, burger, pizza that the city had to offer. There was a little macrobiotic restaurant called Souen near Union Square where everything was green, healthy and a bit hippy. What a contrast with another of her favourite places to eat: a burger restaurant on 72nd avenue, near Central Park. There she ate giant hamburgers served with far more fries than she could possibly eat, and drank even larger margaritas. Brownilocks gained 8 kilos, which kept her warm in the cold New York winter.
She explored so much there that she destroyed two pairs of shoes. She made friends easily: “I love your accent! I love Paris!” they would explain everytime she said something, even though she wasn’t from Paris. She often started the evening in a bar in the East Village and ended up on the rooftop of some hipster inviting her to his party at the last minute.
New York never failed to entertain Brownilocks and filled her senses with wonder- she had limitless amounts of energy whenever she was out in the city. It was amazing to feel so alive. However, she soon realised she was going out too often, and starting too many projects at the same time, and wasn’t resting enough. Brownilocks needed to feel healthy and to go to sleep sometimes.
The peace of mind New York couldn’t provide, Brownilocks found in Zürich. A balanced and comfortable life, close to nature and at the center of Europe. There, Brownilocks earned enough money to afford a spacious flat, travels, and too many Apple products. She also had enough free time to write, go jogging in the woods, and go swimming in the lake and rivers. She didn’t need a car because public transport was clean, safe, and covered the whole city. People respected and valued the rules and were always on time, which Brownilocks found both maddening and peaceful. She loved to bike to work on a beautiful path bordered by trees along the Sihl river. She also enjoyed watching the seasons change in Zurich: white, yellow, and pink blossoms in spring, sunny summers, colourful autumn leaves and enough snow to go skiing in the winter.
“Ahh this city is just right,” Brownilocks said happily.
It made Brownilocks feel sad and anxious to imagine leaving her family, her new friends, and the city that had been so right for her. She had also been sad to leave her family and friends from Nice and then New York, but every life change had been for the best so far. Her family would always be her family, and the right friends would find ways to transcend both distance and time. Besides, she knew she could always come back to Zürich.
She’d loved each city in a different way and they’d all let her explore new facets of her personality, to be a different person. The curiosity to find out what kind of person she’d become in Christchurch and the call of adventure with Prince Charmnick soon grew stronger than her chronic anxiety and indecision. And she really wanted to try and become a journalist.
“Let’s go!” she said to Prince Charmnick. And that was just right, too.
(Thank you Andrew for telling me about Goldilocks and Prince Charmnick.)