We are packing up and leaving California! This place has been SO good to us, but we are ready for a new chapter. To learn about why we are leaving the bay area and moving cross country – come on in!
Below you’ll find why we are moving out of California, why we are moving away from the amazing Bay Area! Moving cross country (eeek!) is no easy task, so later we will also talk about how to do it safely during a pandemic!
Ten years ago, I packed up my stuff in the very small apartment in Boston that I shared with my best friend from college. I put my few belongings (mostly clothes and make-up, to be honest) in my parent’s basement and bought a plane ticket to Peru (yes, Peru). I was heartbroken on many fronts – my grandmother had just passed away (whom I was incredibly close with), and I just broke it off for good with my college boyfriend. I quit my job and said goodbye to my friends within a week. In true Julia fashion, I was doing a lot of stuff all at once. Very big changes, lots of decisions, a short period of time. This is how I tend to conquer my life (example: 3 kids under 3.5 years old, within the first 4.5 year so marriage).
The next month of my life was a true adventure. I booked a trip through Peru (which my mom wouldn’t let me do alone even though I was a renting paying, decision-making full-on adult – so she came too). Moms will be moms. I am so glad she came and we had such a good experience – for the record.
Upon returning that amazing trip, with no place to live, no boyfriend, no actual job – I told my parents I was going to move to San Francisco. My cousins had grown-up in Mill Valley (a part of Marin County just above San Francisco) and I had such fond memories of visiting them throughout my childhood. I also thought San Francisco just seemed like “a cool place”, and I knew approximately 5 other people who lived there. Not five friends, just five people. My parents thought I was crazy and tried to get me to re-think it a few times. They would never hold me back, but they are strong on the ‘wtf’ panel.
I told my dad, “two years, give me two years.” That was the plan – I’d go out West, experience the experiences, see the things, have some fun, and I’d be back in two years with a full chapter of my book under my belt and ready to settle down on the East Coast near them.
Not so much.
After living above a bar on the couch of two guys I knew through a friend, for approximately two weeks, things went up from there. I found a DREAMY apartment with three amazing girls who were looking for a 4th roommate to round out their 2-level, Golden Gate Bridge-viewing, beautiful old, patio-having, 5-bedroom, rent controlled apartment. Yes, rent controlled goldmine. My previous company in Boston offered me a job at their office in San Francisco as I got settled. Things shaped up perfectly. (Those girls happened to be 3 of my best friends in the whole world now!)
Ten years later – here I am with three beautiful children, an amazing Husband, a house in the cutest Bay Area suburbs, surrounded by some of the best friends I have ever had in my life, and with a job many people could only dream of. That whole “two years later” plan didn’t really work out (sorry, dad!). Instead, things played out so much better than I could have ever imagined. This has been such a beautiful, fun, amazing, spirited, soul-expanding chapter in my life. California has my heart forever, but it is time for us to open a new chapter of our book.
As you might have read in one of my earlier posts, living far away from family has its pros and cons. My husband’s family lives in the Chicago-area and my family lives on the East Coast (with cousins, aunts/uncles spread out through the country). For years, the pros of living in Silicon Valley – having the careers we have had, the friendships we have formed, the experiences we have been lucky enough to share together – outweighed the cons of living far from everyone else.
But our world has changed. We have three very young children – and we live “on an island” so to speak. We are desperately far from all of the loving, doting, and wonderful, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We hire our village – babysitters, nannies, au pairs. Those are the people that come in for us on a pinch, that help us out when we need it, that show-up for the birthday parties. The people we love so dearly – but we pay. My girl friends here (including my very best friend from childhood!) are the most wonderful humans I could imagine calling friends. But, they have lives and families our their own, and our worlds get further and further away as our grown-up commitments pull us apart.
As our parents age, and we watch our nieces and nephews from afar grow-up over Photostreams and Facetime, we know we are the ones missing out now – and we are making our kids miss out too. We both need the support of our family at this time in our lives, and need to give it back also. We want our children to know what it is like to have family around- to share holidays and birthdays without having to travel 3,000+ miles once or twice a year. We want people to show-up to their soccer games and school plays. We want to be a good aunt and a good uncle, showing-up for our nieces and nephews, too.
So, we are taking a huge, gigantic, enormous, leap! We are moving out of California and relocating to the Chicago area. I am not looking forward to the cold and snow, or the lack of beautiful scenery in every direction (California spoils you). But I could NOT be happier to be so much closer to our whole family!! I can’t wait to share in easy doubt date nights with my sister-in-laws/BILs, or call my mother-in-law up in a pinch for some babysitting. I am so thankful we will be so close to the East Coast and my parents and brother/family are a super short AND direct flight away! We will have a bigger house where people can actually come stay with us, and we will be close to another amazing city – CHICAGO!
Although I have been incredibly sad about leaving California and I already miss all my dear friends here, I am so looking forward to our next adventure and focusing on family!
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