Friday, July 22, 2011

The Perfect location

As the end of summer is in sight, the month of November comes closer so quickly. What's so significant about November 14th? That's when Joe has his last class. Which means, we need to start thinking about our next move. No more bliss that you get right after you have made a big life changing decision. A bliss of no decisions. I mean, we can live off student loans and my mediocre job for a year, but that's about it. So the big question is: where do we go from here?

Although our original plan was to stay in Europe for 3-5 years, we can also see the benefit of settling down somewhere. It will be good for the kids, as well as my well-being. I love having friends, and building a circle of friends takes time. So if we want to settle, and not stay in Europe for more than 5 years, it only makes sense to make the move back to the US sooner rather than later. But the US is so big! And there's so much variety in landscape, culture, and climate. And if we decide to "settle" somewhere, we better make sure it's a place that we like.

In deciding which type of place we would like, several factors come into play:
-A good school system: we're only a few years away from high school. Of course we want the best education for our kids.
-Somewhere close enough that we can easily make weekend camping trips in the mountains (as in, less than an hour drive). These mountains need to be green, have good mountain biking, and preferably snow in the winter.
-This leads into the next point: 4 seasons. We are done with 100+ degree weather for 3 months straight! And we love snow! But not all the time. Rain is okay, as long as it's not every day of the year.
-Somewhat centrally located. We want friends and family to visit us, and we want to be able to visit them. It's not essential that it's really close, but close enough that you can visit over a long weekend (less than 6 hour drive). The tricky part here is, that we have family and friends all over the place.
-A strong ward. Over the years I have been able to directly link my level of happiness to the quality friendships I have had. The quantity is not as important, because when I have 1 really good friend that I spend a lot of time visiting and talking to, it's better than 5 friends that are just "so-so friends". Of course a best friend can be found in any place, but the chances of that happening rises significantly when you live in a large/young ward. In my opinion.
-A housing market that is affordable. We would really like to get away from the high mortgage payment. I some locations this is easier than in others. We've been "house-broke" for so many years, living from paycheck to paycheck, and have really learned that we don't like that. We currently live in a 1200 Sq/ft house, and that is plenty for us. Of course the layout of the house has a LOT to do with this.
-Joe needs to be able to earn money. Since he works in facilities, this probably means the city can't be too small. And it also needs to be big enough, that if needed, he could switch jobs as well. Very important, especially if we want to stay in the same location for at least the next 10 years.
-And last, and the hardest to satisfy: We'd love to live kind of "out" of the suburbs. I love the social aspect of subdivisions, but we hate the restrictions. And the need for perfection when it comes to the upkeep of things like front lawn, window washing etc. I love the quiet, and birds singing in the trees. We love the lack of nosy neighbors. And the freedom to make noise, and have whatever animal we want (like chickens)

As becomes apparent quickly, this place probably does not exist. We'll have to settle in one way or another. But which parts are the most important? I don't know! And that's why it's so hard to make a decision on where to go from here.

Any suggestions?? Pleas?? Bribes??


Maddy S said...

Well, WA is beautiful as you probably know but it does rain enough to make you nuts from Oct to May BUT we are close to the mountains, plenty skiing, and if you move to Spokane you can get pretty much all those things you listed, cheaper housing, OK big enough city, close to mountains but probably not close enough to family and from what I hear good wards.
I would move there but Shane likes big cities better. What about CO? Is that expensive? I always wonder where I would be perfectly happy and I can't find my answer either. m

girlsmama said...

It does exist!!! Might I suggest Mapleton, UT! Or many other places in Utah County. I am a So Cal transplant and have been in Utah the last 15 years. We spent the first 13 in Provo and are now in Mapleton. It literally meets all the things you listed!

Utah is calling....

angela michelle said...

Yeah, I think Utah really might be your place. You could definitely get everything on your list. It's not hard to find rural-ish places in close range of downtown. Plus AWESOME COUSINS! And of course, awesome SIL.

Mark A said...

Auburn, Cameron Park, Cool, Forest Hill, Rescue, Lotus, Georgetown, or even South Shingle CA. In short the foothills of the Sierras are great for what you want. Except maybe cheap but your not going to get to live in heaven on earth for free and of late it really is not bad. If we can own here so can you. Plus earning potential is higher here and its the THE place to innovate.

Farmer Joe said...

FYI, the best form of bribery to get us into the area you are lobbying for is to tap your network and help me find a job there. ;)

Wendy said...

Nampa is a lot nicer than I thought, and lots of your old friends are still close, so establishing friendships is surpassed by already having some. Winter would have guaranteed babysitting opportunities (watching our kids :D. The kids could continue their dutch with ours and us. Mountains are close by. Nough said. Houses/land are CHEAP even in boise meridian area and meridian is getting a temple soon, they just put another exit by 10 mile off the freeway. Lots of strong wards, and young families in the church. Too bad I don't have a network for job interviews. Hospitals are nice to work for though, Joe might do well supervising their facilities in some way? And if you guys live here then family from europe would be more inclined to come visit us since we are both here ;). And Hello!, you only have one middle sister ;). And great for couponing Cut that grocery bill in half!
Man there are many many more reasons to come here, just think about it, you totally want to!!!

Nancy Sabina said...

The trend here seems to be voting for your own place of residence, but I will whole heartedly break that trend. I say you should move to Oregon and we'll meet you there in about two years. Then, if we're all over there, I think there's a good chance we can persuade mom and dad to come that direction, too!

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