Jared and I were Portlanders long before we ever moved here... our liberal, DIY, eco ways made us feel right at home in a city that's as weird and wonderful as it is wet. Portland has become so much a part of who we are - as people, as a couple, as parents - and I can honestly say that there's no city in the country I'd rather live than right here. That's why what I'm about to tell you is really really really bittersweet...
And not only are we moving, we're moving back to the east coast. To Frederick, MD to be exact. Whoever said having kids changes everything could not have been more right... before Emma was born I couldn't have imagined anything pulling us away from this area. Portland was our forever home... everything we imagined for our future as a family was in the context of living here. But in February Jared was contacted by a recruiter for a job in Frederick (45 minutes away from my family in Northern Virginia) and after initially dismissing the idea, we started thinking about what living there would mean...
First of all, we'd have family nearby. We'd have support. And Emma would get to have close relationships with her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and her cousin who is only 3 months younger than her. As of now, every time we see family she has to relearn who they all are... it's only by the end of the trip that she warms up to them and it kills me. From family vacations to date nights to spending holidays together, the family aspect of all this was a huge draw.
Secondly, the schools there are MUCH better than in Portland. The high school she would have gone to here has a 79% graduation rate... and it's one of the better high schools in Portland. Our house is considered to be in an excellent school district. It's baffling. Jared and I both went to excellent public schools, where far greater than 79% not only graduated but went on to 4 year universities. We want the same or even better for Emma, which we'll be able to provide her in Frederick. The only downside is that in order to do so, we may end up having to cross over the dark side of new construction suburbia... a thought that currently pains me, but perhaps I'll come around to.
Thirdly, the cost of living is even better in Frederick than it is in Portland (which is pretty affordable compared to other cities we've lived in.) We'll be able to get more house for our money and be able to more easily afford a bigger family. Frederick is an old city with loads of historic homes... I'd be lying if I said I hadn't already planned out my dream renovation of a big 1900s colonial. :-)
There are plenty of other draws as well... being within driving distance of the cabin, being able to go to Phillies games, taking trips up to NY to see friends, the culture, art, eats in DC and Baltimore, and still having both great hiking and beaches nearby. There's very little that we have here that we can't have there, which is why we decided to accept when Jared was ultimately offered the job.
But... as certain as we are that this move is the best thing for Emma, I do worry about how Jared and I will fit in there. I grew up in Northern Virginia and had one foot out the door as soon as I hit high school. It wasn't me, and has become increasingly less so as I've gotten older and the area has continued to change. Frederick is different... removed from many of the things I don't like about NoVa. I'm hoping that Jared and I can still be "us" there and not feel like total outsiders. There must be other people in Frederick who homebrew, compost, cloth diaper, grow their own hops, and have stellar taste in music, right? Maybe? I guess we'll find out.
So that's the news... that's why I've been so stressed and absent from blogging the past couple of months. On top of all the anxiety about moving, work has been crazy busy. And now we're faced with getting our house sold. Jared's actually going to move out there before me while I stay back with the kiddo and the dog until we can sell the house. Just thinking about that separation is heartbreaking and terrifying, so I'm trying to settle into a blissful state of denial. (Getting the house ready to go on the market has proved a nice, albeit overwhelming distraction.) I'll try my best to keep you posted on all the happenings in the next couple of months. Blogging (and wine) just may be the only thing that keeps me sane while Jared is gone.
Oh, and if anyone reading this lives in the Frederick/DC/Baltimore area, please contact me! I'm very much looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, and maybe even connecting with some fellow crafters/bloggers/ice cream connoisseurs/banjo lovers.