We have now been living in Princeton, in the state of New Jersey (USA), for 6 months. This is where the prestigious Princeton University is located. It is a relatively small town about 1 hour 1/2 south of New York city, and about the same distance north from Philadelphia.
The University is the center of the town, everything revolving around it. When you meet someone often the first or second question is: “Are you with the University?”
The famous institution gives the town its international feel, with the many students and scholars from around the world. For its size, Princeton is very lively, with many happenings daily, from lectures open to the public at the university, visiting artists, farmers’ markets, or the many events at the wonderful public library. This town inspires me, and I doubt I am alone in feeling this way. Although we are not with the university, I’ve been studying, reading and writing more in the months we’ve been here than I did in our 3 years in Bangkok. I miss my student days, and I am enjoying greatly the intellectual stimulation the town provides. In Princeton I always imagine the person I just randomly struck a conversation with could be an amazing scholar, so I make the effort to sound somewhat coherent (: In this town, when you eavesdrop at a cafe you often hear eloquent exchanges on scientific or social topics. I and my eavesdropping husband just sit there, next to smart people, hoping to absorb some intelligence by osmosis.
But that is not all the praise I have for Princeton. On top of the intellectual tingle the town provides, what I love most is that it is surrounded by beautiful nature, easily accessible. It is a pretty town. The campus is beautiful, specially now in the spring and summer, with the many flowering trees, shiny green laws, carpets of dandelion flowers and omnipresent squirrels and birds. The D&R Canal (Delaware and Raritan Canal) is walking distance from the center of the town, with its narrow dirt path stretching along the clean water, surrounded by trees, birds, squirrels, frogs, turtles… We were surprised by how fast you find yourself in a forest when you drive out of town, or on a small road though farmland. The Institute Woods in Princeton is an amazing oasis were we love to walk, listen to birds and try to see critters hiding in the foliage.
This is also where our Little M first experienced snow, multi-layered outfits, boots and gloves. This is also where she started going to school (nursery really…), and where she finally said bye to diapers. Needless to say, Princeton will hold a special place in our hearts when we leave.
Now, it’s the summer.
It might be the lack of seasons in our previous home in Thailand, but I feel the ebullience of new green leaves, sprouting flowers and migrating birds, and an exuberant urge to be surrounded by green spaces, under the sun, by the water.