I lived here for two years, and a total of seven years in the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor region as I attended Eastern Michigan. Naturally I preferred the A-squared because it's a hip college town home to the greatest football program in all of college history.
Actually, I don't care as much about college football as I do the NFL. I have no idea what to expect of Michigan football heading in to each fall as I don't read the papers' articles about them too often. That, and the fact that I like Michigan State as well as Michigan because I'm a "State of Michigan" fan rubs people the wrong way.
But I feel at home here. I can walk the streets and feel like I blend right in. There's no shortage of things to do either. On the off chance I do get bored, Detroit isn't too far away.
The Oakland County suburbs just aren't the same. Sure, I like them. Novi is nice, Northville is pretty (the downtown part), and Birmingham is on the other side of the county. Royal Oak comes the closest to being something like Ann Arbor, minus the big school. If I had to pick a second favorite city in Michigan, Birmingham would be it, though.
If I could live closer to, but not quite in town, it'd be South Lyon. It's an inviting town, quiet, great bikepaths, and all that. South Lyon could be the setting of another Dawson's Creek, but I think one Detroit suburb already had its moment. Plus, it's a straight shot to A2 from SL on Pontiac Trail.
I've made it my goal to one day get accepted to U-M, either to earn another Master's, or be accepted into a PhD program. I'd like to go to the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and become a Political Science professor one day. But I need to get my student loans down to a manageable level or completely paid off and need to re-learn some advance math courses in order to do statistics and calculus. (One of the many reasons why I wanted to join the USN so badly)
It would also be nice to work for the City of Ann Arbor, too, if I can't get into U-M. Now, if only they'd offer me at least one interview for all the jobs I've applied for.
Why would I want to be anywhere else?