When my husband and I first started dating, he told me two surprising things: ONE, that he already knew he wanted to marry me; TWO, that being with him might mean leaving California. I remember thinking, “Sure, buddy. We’ll see about that…”
Entering The Friend Zone
In the process of transitioning from girlfriend to fiancee to wife, I met so many amazing people. My husband has stayed close with his friends from college, and even some friends from high school and grade school! I regret not making stronger friendships in high school and college but I’ve always been “too busy” to give my friendships the attention they probably deserved. In high school, gymnastics consumed all my free time; in college and grad school I balanced my time between two part time jobs and my studies in metabolic biochemistry. I never felt lonely because the friends I had were always there for me.
Getting closer to my husband meant getting closer to some of his friends and their significant others. I didn’t know it at the time, but these friends would become one of the biggest driving forces for moving to Wisconsin. We’ll get to that…
Cue Millenial Housing Rant
I am an “Oregon Trail” Millenial, a “nineties kid”. I have a master’s degree in Food Science – Food Biochemistry. I make pretty good money as a Project Manager. I’ve published a book. I am relatively thrifty. I drive a Honda Civic and shop at Target. I have some student loans but fortunately, I got a few scholarships to help, plus I had two part-time jobs during undergrad and grad school. (Perhaps you can see now why I literally wrote the book on energy drinks)
And yet, after all that, I cannot afford a house in Southern Calfornia – at least not one that fits my criteria. I work from home but I need to be close to an airport because my job requires me to travel occasionally. I feel a little wound-up if I go too many days without seeing a body of water, plus both my bulldog and my husband get overheated very easily, so we narrowed our housing search to the coast. We would like to have kids someday so the house needs to be in a good school district.
That’s it, that’s the criteria. Maybe a little picky, but not too unreasonable in my eyes…
With that criteria, the cheapest 3 bed/2 bath houses we could find started around $650,000. When my husband and I pooled our money together, we calculated we could afford a house in about three years, with the current trajectory of savings and assuming the cost of housing did not increase. The only problem is I’d be over 35 by the time we’d become home owners, and I didn’t want to wait that long.
So we started looking at other states…
If you’re going to leave California anyway…
Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine. I learned during my time served at UC Davis that I am solar-powered. This is why my eyes are green – because I’m filled with chlorophyll like a plant.
So why Wisconsin???
When California housing fell out of the picture, I started getting excited about living in Colorado. They have a few tiny lakes (I think). They have a baseball team. They have outdoor sports like hiking and biking. AND THEY HAVE SUNSHINE! But moving there would mean my husband would have to leave a job he loved, plus we would be all alone in Colorado.
If you’re going to leave California, why not come somewhere where you have a support system? Where there’s people you already know?
-Wise man I know
It all comes together
Suddenly (perhaps too suddenly – we’ll get to that) it was all coming together. I should move somewhere where I could buy a house NOW. Start a family NOW. Hang out with people I already know (because it’s reeeeallly tough to make new friends when you’re an adult). Move somewhere that has a body of water, hiking/biking, a baseball team, a nearby airport, a competitive bodybuilding scene, and a branch for the hubby to keep his job. (When I asked my boss if I could move to Wisconsin, she said, “Sure. They have mailboxes in Wisconsin.” So that was that.)
Boom. Done…. Okay now move…
Leaving so soon?
The official move-in date is September 15th. That is two days before my wedding anniversary – how convenient! Finding the “perfect house” (yep, that was our nickname for it because “the Lizard House” was scooped up) was not easy but we found it, put an offer, and got accepted in the span of one weekend!
After 11 months of searching online, it all came down to one weekend marathon of houseing viewings…
I know there is so much more to do (because I’m a project manager and I actually made a Microsoft Project Plan for this). The hardest part is going to be saying goodbye to California. The only reason this goodbye is even remotely possible is that I know the move to Wisconsin doesn’t have to be permanent. If I absolutely hate it, we’ll move – that is the agreement I have with the husband and with the friends and family I’m leaving behind. I understand that people are excited for us to move, but I wish more people could understand how hard this departure is going to be for me over the next month. In four weeks from the time I’m writing this, I’ll be on the road with all my belongings beside me and So Cal behind me. I know I’m headed toward some amazing new adventures in a wonderful new area. I know I’ll enjoy the journey and the exploration of a new town. But still, it’s hard to leave your first love.