Moving to the 'burbs
We have moved homes and locations 4 times in the past 7 years. The first move of the series was from Atlanta to Connecticut. My son was 6 weeks old. I remember getting clearance from the pediatrician for him to fly on an airplane at such a young age. All of our moves have been challenging - such is the nature of moving with young children and 2 working parents. But many of our moves have also been exciting. My favorite places where we have lived have been Atlanta and Boston. The move from Boston to a San Francisco suburb was our most recent and is still fresh - we haven't lived in the bay area for even a year yet.
I expected the most difficult parts of moving to California would be living so far away from my parents (who live in New York) and the increased cost of living, which is actually higher in the bay area than in Boston. While I have definitely felt those aspects of our trans-country move, I was wrong about what would prove most difficult for me. Don't get me wrong, the weather in the bay area is amazing - especially considering the hard Boston winters. Because of the location of my husband's new job (he is the breadwinner) we couldn't live in the city of San Francisco. My children attend the elementary school where my husband works so our goal was to make the commute as easy as possible for the 3 of them. That's how I ended up in a charming suburb of San Francisco. I still have great access to an awesome city, but it isn't "my city" in the same way that Boston was. In Boston, I could walk out of my door - even in cold weather - and be 2 blocks away from a great park, 5 blocks away from an incredible coffee shop, and a 10 minute walk from Harvard Square. When we had a lot of snow I used to put my kids in a sled and pull them to preschool drop off. Our transportation options were not limited to "on foot" either because we could ride our bikes (with bike trailers or child seats for our kids) or take the "T" or the bus - Boston's fantastic public transportation systems. While Bostonians are notorious for not smiling at strangers, I still felt warmed by having folks out and about and always around.
My new suburban life has some benefits. I can usually find a parking spot. It is quieter. We have patio space to set up a grill and some outdoor furniture. We feel safe. CVS and Target are easily accessible. Yet, I miss my Boston neighborhood like I would pine for an old friend. When I walk the tree-lined streets and admire the gardens in my suburban paradise, I'm not actually walking to a destination. I miss walking to get a cup of artisan coffee where I knew the baristas. If I want to go somewhere in the 'burbs I most often need to get in my car. We spend a lot more time in front of the television now - isolated in the dynamic of our family of 4. There is always something going on in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose, but we're not in the middle of the action anymore. This makes me feel like the action belongs to others, not to me anymore. I'm simply a tourist who drove in from "out of town."