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.

“This city is too big!” she said after a year in New York. Brownilocks left what had become for her the cities of all cities and moved to Zurich.

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.

But then she met Prince Charmnick and he said: “Let’s go to Christchurch! We can have an adventure there and you can learn to be a journalist.”

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.)

65 thoughts on “Brownilocks

  1. Pingback: The Pressables | Truth and Cake

  2. Wow, I love your story! Especially, since I’ve been going through the same indecisiveness on where I’d want to live. Funnily enough, I just moved to Zürich myself, after years of a nomad’s life throughout Europe and the Americas. I hope I can find some peace of mind here, just like you. Loving it so far – now with all the snow even more so. Wishing you all the best for your new adventures! :)

    • Zurich is a winter wonderland at the moment. It’s also great in the summer when you can go swimming in the lake and rivers. I hope you’ll find some peace of mind, I’ll have to check your blog to see your perspective on Switzerland :)

  3. And Now I want to visit Zurich.You have written it so wonderfully.Also I loved your pic..You look gorgeous:D:D I am jealous of you travelling to so many places. That is in my wishlist too.Hopefully someday, our paths will cross !!Way to go!!Good luck for all your present and future prospects:D

  4. I’ve seen your replies on Truth and Cake but have not stopped by until reading that you wrote a fairytale about Brownilocks. I too enjoy adventure and have spent my life seeking it out as much as possible. I had to chuckle as I too wanted to state “I love Paris” but truthfully, I adore France. I’m actually going there in April for my 35th birthday with my two sisters. After a few days in Paris, we’re hoping to take the train south to Nice. Any places you can recommend? Thanks for your modern rendition of a fairytale, it’s inspiring seeing someone globe trot while following their heart the whole way. Be well, Cecile!

    • Thank you so much Kristy for your lovely comment. Going to Paris for your birthday with your sisters: how exciting! I’m about to visit my sister in Australia and I can’t wait to share a little adventure with her before starting my new life in New Zealand.
      Keep on seeking adventure :-)

  5. I came along here from Truth and Cake too! I live in New Zealand, although it’s Auckland rather than Christchurch, and am happy to share that I think our country is beautiful and the people are too. The addition of Brownilocks and Prince Charmnick will only add to our appeal :-) What a lovely post, and welcome to NZ!

    • Thanks, Lisa Rose. Although I’m sad to leave Zurich, I’m convinced that I’ll have a fantastic time in New Zeland. I was there on holiday 2 years ago and it was fantastic. It really is a beautiful country :-)

  6. I found you through Truth and Cake- so funny that I did a ‘fairy tale’ type post for my FP Yourself thingie, too! Yours is so intriguing- I love the story of your travels and “Prince Charmnick.”

  7. I found your post on Truth and Cake and I am now ready to visit Zurich. It sounds like the kind of place that washes water before using it.

    Thanks for the post and good luck in Christchurch.

  8. Beautiful story Cécile! I didn’t know you lived in NYC. I moved away for similar reasons! I love how you put it into words perfectly. Your voice really resonates with my own. (loved Souen by the way and really miss NYC’s food!)

    Just visited Istanbul and I’m so curious to visit Zurich now!

    Looking forward to following what Brownilocks discovers in NZ!

    • I’m sure you’d enjoy Zurich. I’m writing a post about what to do for 2 days in Zurich, I hope it’ll convince you to come and visit!

      Souen was so cool and the food so good! But I’m sure you’re not worse off in France ;-)

  9. Brownilocks a le don de conter des histoires, non ? des histoires vraies qui la font traverser les mers et les montagnes, les villes à gratte-ciels et aux maisons anciennes. Histoires qui l’emmènent dans un autre hémisphère, celui de Charmnick et où on se réjouit de la suivre :) quelle belle découverte que celle de ton blog, Cécile. Pour couronner le tout, le brouillard s’est levé ! Merci.

  10. I know the feeling of moving between very different cities and seeing the effect it has on my life. Edinburgh (sizeable, not really city-like), Philadelphia (really big city), Basel (provincial), London (really big city). My own preference is for big cities and their seductive excitement…but I can survive out in the countryside where my parents live and even find myself enjoying it. ;)
    I’m realising that the world is FULL of unique towns & cities, and I don’t want to curtail my exploration of them too soon. Perhaps if I stay in the same place my personality will stay unchanged and stop developing? I don’t want that.
    Good luck with the Christchurch transition – I hope it is wonderful for you!

    • Yes, the world is full of unique places and it’d be a shame to stop gaining new perspectives on ourselves too soon. I also feel like I could be happy in lots of different places. In the end, the way we feel inside is more important than what’s outside. I’m also attracted to the excitement of big cities, but I’ve found myself happier in sizable places. Thanks for your well wishes Claire, the big move is coming up very soon!

  11. Fascinating story! I would enjoy traveling and would like to do it more. I took a short 3-day vacation while going to daughter’s wedding. It was nice to get out and see a little different scenery and do things a bit differently, even though I was only a couple of hours from home.

  12. quel joli conte! on a hâte de savoir la suite des aventures. Avec un nom pareil, nul doute que Christchurch sera une ville pleine d’heureux évènements. Cette photo de Zurich donne envie d’y aller, et de rencontrer Charmnick, mais trop tard là je crois. Alors, peut-être un jour au pays des tous noirs? Bises

  13. I absolutely love your storytelling here. Keep adventuring, Brownilocks. You’ll go far in both travel and journalism. Your writing is positively captivating!

  14. J’adore les contes de fées! et comme le tien avait déjà bien commencé, j’adore le relire depuis le début! la suite sera d’autant plus épatante parce que Brownilocks sait s’adapter à son environnement et à de nouveaux amis.
    et puis, j’aime bien le nouveau look du blog aussi! ;-) une nouvelle vie, un nouveau blog, une nouvelle aventure!


    • Merci Juls, ca me fait super plaisir que Brownilock et le nouveau look de mon blog ait eu un tel succès :-)

      Il faudra bien s’adapter effectivement et tout n’est pas aussi rose que dans un compte de fées mais je suis globalement super contente de ce changement.

      Cheers :-)

  15. Hey Brownilocks, what a beautiful tale! I feel sorry for the poor Kiwis, who will surely all fall in love with you too, that you already found Prince Charmnick… PS: great purple color, even nicer than the leaves! xoxo

  16. I loooove this!!!! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. I’m also envious of all the places you get to call home.

    My favorite line: “All the boys she knew were already in love with her…” lol I hate it when that happens. :)

  17. What a magical fairy tale! I’m such a sucker for a good happy ending. Not that this tale is anywhere near over, but with the amount of love, hope, and adventure, this fable is off to a fabulous start. I can’t wait to step into your beautiful storyland in just a few short weeks. :) P.S. Love the new look of the blog!

    • Merci, merci Jessica :) I’ve wanted to change the design for a long time but never got around to it. Glad it comes out well. Soon you’ll be in Switzerland, you must be very excited! We could go to that place from where I took the photo of Zurich that appears in this post. It’s a bar on top of a little tower from where you have an amazing view. It’s just a short walk from the main station :-)

  18. What a wonderful fairytale, I’ve been to Nice and it’s beautiful. Spent time in Zurich and loved that too. Met you in New York and fell in love with Brownilocks. Now how on earth will I be able to share Chrischurch with you? You will write, write, write and I will read, read, read…and maybe…one day I will be able to add Christchurch to the places I’ve been. Best of luck Brownilocks and Prince Charmnick. Your are indeed a wonderful twosome…luv!

    • We would love to have you in Christchurch, Libby. In the meantime, I’ll make sure to write often enough and share photos. I love to have you as my well-wishing reader from New York. Thank you for your comment.
      Love & hugs

  19. J’adore. Tout. Le joli conte avec toi en filigrane. Les noms de Brownilocks et Prince Charmnick (félicitations à Andrew au passage!). Les photos. La nouvelle présentation. Mon nom dans la liste de tes blogs préférés (merci!). Bref, c’est un sans faute :-)

    • Merci Aurélie, ton commentaire me vraiment fait plaisir, d’autant que j’allais justement te demander ton avis sur ma nouvelle présentation. Ca fait déjà un petit moment que tu es dans ma liste de blogs favoris :-)

  20. Wow, Cecile. You are so lucky to be on such sweet adventures. I always wondered how would that feel like…spending your childhood in such a dreamy city. And New York is a paradise. Atleast, that’s what I learnt from the movies. Such an exciting life. I always wanted to go on adventures such as yours. I sometimes dream about pausing my life right here and getting off the work and career train to go off to Paris, New York, London. I had this weird fascination since I was a kid. Unfortunately, I have to focus on my career and I’m apparently too young. At 20, I’m still a kid at home. Anyway, Zurich sounds like the perfect place to live. It has everything that I always wanted to try. As usual, I love your writing style. Brownilocks sure needs to be talked about and written about in the next 100 years to come just like our good old goldilocks.

    Love, XOXO

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Iris. As you said, you’re sill young and have plenty of time for adventure. I’d been dreaming about living in the USA since I was about 14. More than 10 years later, the opportunity to do an exchange program in New York came my way. I was so happy to finally go where i’d wanted to go for so long… I’m sure that you’ll visit Paris, New York, and London in time. The opportunity will come your way and you won’t hesitate to take it ;-)

  21. This is an adorable story! I’m excited for you and this new adventure with your prince. Keep us posted! I agree with Rian, that picture of Zurich is postcard worthy and makes me want board a plane!

  22. You’ve lived in some seriously gorgeous cities, Brownilocks! I love the way you told this story–when you look back on all of the great places you’ve been, Christchurch seems like a no-brainer. It’s just one more fantastic adventure for Brownilocks. Although, that photo of Zurich is giving me heart palpations it’s so beautiful. Can’t wait to read the next installment, after you’ve gone on a few more adventures!

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