When we decided to move to Los Angeles, we knew it would be for three or four years, depending on how things panned out for J with his new job. Maybe we'd all be miserable and return to Australia sooner, or maybe J would absolutely love the job and we'd have the option of staying on for a few more years. There was no crystal ball to help us out, and it was somewhat of a leap of faith. Neither of us had even been to L.A. before.
We are only six weeks shy of having lived here for three years already, and the last few months have seen us reevaluating where we want to be.
J's professional journey isn't my story to tell, but for a number of strong reasons, he's decided it's time to move on from his current job. So... he cast a net out and tried his best to see what else is out there in the US for him. A lot of sweat and sleepless nights, interviews, and winning people over.
And... it paid off. An offer was made recently that seems too good to be true - both financially, and in terms of a career trajectory for J. He sold himself very well, and is stoked that there are people out there who seem to recognise his potential, and want him on their team. I'm proud of him.
It's an offer that has us pinching ourselves. It will be a game-changer for us, and allow us to rid our debts quickly (unlike the naïve expectations we had moving when to L.A, before the reality of the cost of living here - on a single income - kicked in). A significant pay-rise and employment package which will not only enable us to kick our debts to the curb, but to properly save for a home, visit Australia more often, and start chasing our dreams of further travel together as a family.
There's just one catch - the new job won't be in Los Angeles. Our time in La La Land is drawing to an end.
Yeah, you probably saw that coming... we're moving to Seattle. Time to dig out my old Pearl Jam and Nirvana albums! Our recent weekend trip was more than just a random visit and catch-up with friends. We wanted to get a feel for the place, and check out the areas where we'd likely move to. Although we'd both been to Seattle many years ago, we needed to see it from a fresh perspective this time - is it somewhere that we think our little family will be happy?
Clean, fresh air is a good start. As is the fact we'll be more financially secure and able to pursue interests we've been wanting to for a long time. I feel lucky that we have an opportunity to experience life in another beautiful corner of the world, and am excited about the fresh new start.
This move will be bittersweet, though. We've made some wonderful friends here in L.A, especially since the Faery started school. I mean, it's one thing to "approve of" the kids that your child has chosen as little mates, but then to get along so well with their families and find you're on the same page as them with many things, and actually look forward to your families hanging out together socially - from what I've heard, not everyone is lucky to strike up such rich friendships from their kids' schools. I have some truly lovely girlfriends now, and knowing that they won't be a regular part of my life for much longer is probably the thing that makes me the saddest and most anxious about moving. I'm not too happy at the thought of starting from scratch, socially, once we move up there. We do have a few friends there but we'll be living in a different part of Seattle to them. I'll need to work on making new friends closer to home, and the older I get, the more daunting this feels.
I also worry about the Faery - she adores her friends, and one in particular is a real kindred spirit with her. I'm sad and anxious about putting physical distance between them, but we always knew L.A. wasn't going to be forever.
Another 'issue' will be the weather. It's a superficial thing, yes, but don't underestimate the impact of mostly grey skies and damp air. I've lived it before, in London. I'm determined I won't let it get under my skin this time. Seattle isn't London, our circumstances are very different, and... I just have to let go of the notion of me not digging winter. Put on my big girl panties.
Hopefully these drawbacks can be dealt with by the odd weekend visit to L.A. - a dose of sunshine and to hang out with friends. I've already promised the Faery that she and I can have a few girly weekends doing this, in the hope that the knowledge will ease the transition for her. We have a while yet, though. J will start his new job in spring, but the girls and I are going to stay back until the end of the school year so that the Faery won't need to change schools until the new school year begins. I feel strongly about that, so I offered to hang back here and do the solo parent thing for a few months, while J settles into his job and looks for a place for us to live in.
I'm trying to remind myself that moving from L.A. to Seattle is going to be much easier than our move from Sydney to L.A. For one, we've actually been there and have an idea what to expect. Secondly, it'll just be a matter of packing our things onto the back of a truck (as opposed to selling things, storing things, shipping some things, and buying the rest at the other end). Thirdly, it's not like we're moving to yet another country where we have to figure everything out again. We're used to driving on the right-hand side now, we have our social security numbers, and a general understanding of how things work here.
All in all, though, this has been a lot to process. It's been on the cards for a few months, and only just been made official. All this time, J and I have discussed every thing there is to consider, at great length, but had to keep the news secret from family and friends - just in case it fell through. It's like first trimester pregnancy all over again, when you're bursting to be able to talk about it openly but the reality is only a couple of select friends or family know. Part of my way of dealing with this has been to draft this post, very s-l-o-w-l-y.
Hitting the 'publish' button will never feel as good as with this post, I suspect. Let's find out...
(PS - Not long after J accepted the new job, his current workplace announced they would be cutting jobs by twenty per cent. Scary stuff. Upon hearing the news, we knew beyond a doubt we've made the right decision.)