Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The three year itch

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.)


  1. And nobody's commented yet? How can this be? Congrats on the new job! Scary as the move is, it could be the best thing for you and I hope it is. Great news!

    1. Hehe. Maybe you and I are the only ones who think this news is comment-worthy...

      Thanks, Mel! xx

  2. Mad!!! Definately worthy of a comment - BIG time, I am rediculously behind on blogger and frankly I am missing reading your blogs, I'm going to work my through your last couple of months worth! Congratulations to J, it sounds as though this is going to be such a great thing for him and for you all as a family. When we made our move Annabel was 7 and had one more term of yr 2 to go. She did find it hard adjusting to the new school and missed her old friends terribly. She had a great group of friends back there....but over time she has formed new good friendships and settled in well. Faery will do just fine and if you can plan some visits back now and again I am sure that will help her so much. Wow Mads, so many more adventures for you guys ahead. xxx

    1. Thanks for sharing that about Annabel, Jen. I have a feeling it won't be easy for the Faery either - but there's never a 'right' time for kids to move away or change schools, right? I'm glad to hear Annabel is settling in now. xx

  3. I have taken my sweet ass time getting here, haven't I?

    Firstly, WOW. And secondly, HOLY SHIT!

    This is big. Granted, not as big as Sydney to L.A. but still....BIG. The solo parenting thing? A huge undertaking and something that I just admire the shit out of you for, Mad. You're mentally rock solid, my friend. Merely reading your post has turned my knees to jelly.

    But I am so excited about the adventures ahead! I can't wait to read of them here. From a vicarious perspective alone, you are a great girl to know. ;)

    I'll be thinking of you all as the transition goes down, especially Faery. I hope she finds some beautiful new friends.

    Here's to the Emerald City and debt-free living!

  4. I just wrote a big long response and lost it. Annoying!

    In short, it was about adventure and admiration and good luck and debt-free hurrahs!

    Wishing you all the uber best of luck in the Emerald City - especially sweet Faery.


    1. Why, hello stranger!

      Nope, as you can probably see now, your OP didn't vanish - it was merely in the to-be-moderated section. A section which I rarely check on, as it's usually empty (comments on posts more than two week get relegated to that vault).

      And thank you for your supremely kind words. I don't know about rock solid, I really don't. Three days into this solo caper, and I'm already questioning the wisdom of that decision. Three-year-olds are fucking hard work some days, and mine is making an extra special effort to challenge me these last few days. However, both kids are in bed now, I have a glass of wine in my hand... and I suspect that will be my coping mechanism in general. Along with chocolate. Liver and calories be damned.

      So, buckle your seatbelt. This may be some vicarious ride you're about to go on...


    2. Excellent! Two for the price of one!

      Sorry to hear about the Pie. I, too, am singing the three-year-old blues. Seriously hard.

      Bottoms up, my lovely. xxx