New York Times: Writing Chair Aimee Phan Blogs About Urban Living Costs

MFA Program in Writing and Writing and Literature Program chair Aimee Phan, author of The Reeducation of Cherry Truong and We Should Never Meet, was featured today in "Motherload: Adventures in Parenting," a New York Times blog that "covers it all -- homework, sex, child care, eating habits, sports, technology, the work-family balance, and much more."

Her piece, "The Price of Urban Family Living," is a response -- one might say reaction -- to the recently released figures by the Economic Policy Institute that prescribe what income is necessary to live modestly.

"Although I had never thought of my husband and myself as gratuitous spenders," writes Phan, "these numbers both angered and shamed me. Were the expenses we considered necessities really excessive luxuries? Or was there was a huge disconnect between the E.P.I.’s numbers and economic reality?"

Cost-of-living discrepancies aside, Phan also contemplates the tradeoffs. The benefits of a larger, more diverse community are important to her and her husband, Matt Shears, especially because they are raising two biracial children.

"I grew up in a predominantly white suburb, and I acutely remember the isolation I felt as a child, and the relief and joy I experienced after moving to Los Angeles for college and discovering a larger, more diverse community. I already see how my daughter, whose preschool proudly displays a mixed-race children’s bill of rights in its foyer, thrives from being surrounded by teachers and children of many ethnicities and cultures. They celebrate difference. I cannot imagine another city where our children could feel so included, respected and loved."

The good with the bad? The lesser of two evils? Whatever the dictum, the Bay Area offers something for everyone -- but it comes at a price.

Use the comments feature below to share what makes the Bay Area's high cost of living worth it to you.

About Motherlode

KJ Dell’Antonia, the editor and lead blogger for Motherlode, has been writing about the personal, cultural, and political aspects of family life for a decade now. She is also a former corporate lawyer and prosecutor and a New York City exile, who is now raising four kids, two dogs, and a cat in rural New Hampshire.

Learn more about Aimee Phan by visiting her website »