I think Austin is going to win. I really love the idea of it and no matter what, there will be more going on there than there is in Albany, NY.
Not that there's anything wrong with "The 518," "The ToC," or "Smallbany" (a modest sampling of its many monikers) - on the contrary, I really loved growing up there and I had loads of nice friends, a great nuclear family with a big house with a great park literally in my backyard. Since Albany is the capital of New York State, there were internships to be had at the state offices downtown, some music festivals, and smatterings of interesting nightlife.
I suppose I realized I'd outgrown my pond a bit when I went home to visit last summer and felt like I had managed to do everything there was to do in the area in two weeks. Most of my friends from childhood are married, engaged, parents, soon-to-be parents, or otherwise domesticated. Some moved to other cities and states, and quite a few more simply grew boring and useless to me. My parents hate the high cost of living and the snowy winters. I found the lack of Thai restaurants indicative of many things.
(Universities and colleges in America are ranked informally by their percentages of Jewish and Asian students - the higher the percentages, the more expensive and competitive the school. I use a similar system to rate cities. Cities with lots of Thai restaurants have lots of arts-conscious 20-somethings who have passports. People like me. Albany has no well-known Thai restaurants and only a small handful of Indian places. Manhattan/Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Boston have at least eight of each on every block.)
Walter will be coming to Austin too. There we intend to recreate our present perfectly betsu-betsu (separate, individual) lifestyle - each keeping our own apartments and doing our own things, forming our own circles while having loads of adventures together. Our relationship and our bond seems unshakeable today, but if for some reason we don't make it as a couple, it's not like there's any shortage of cute single people around. Austin is consistently ranked as one of the best U.S. cities for young singles. Single girls make good girlfriends. Everybody wins.
My parents will probably move to the area too, since as I mentioned they are not fans of winter and in their mid-sixties are becoming a bit fragile for heavy-duty shoveling on a steep driveway in icy conditions. Dad's from rural Tennessee and Mom's from Dee-troit; they're both already sort of out of their elements in suburban upstate New York. Austin is still Texas, but compared to other major cities it seems, on all accounts, more foreigner-friendly, at least toward atheist liberal types. I've been doing some research; housing is affordable compared to NY and they should be able to find a tiny house or condo near downtown to grow old in.
In the past, my breakups with boyfriends have all been fairly straightforward, like ripping off a Band-Aid that was sort of falling off already anyway. I think saying "smell ya later" to my hometown will be like that, too. I'm ready for change and coming off of a three-year stint abroad, if I don't immediately flood my senses with more excitement and change, I'll wilt like a corsage after prom night. I'm so excited for this.