It’s been over six years since I made this announcement that we were moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area from Seattle. Now, after much daydreaming and planning, it’s official: Jonathan and I are headed back to the Pacific Northwest at the end of this month with the intention of settling in and staying for the long haul.
Turns out: absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
This may seem to you like a case of geographic ping-pong, and you wouldn’t be wrong; going from the Bay Area to Seattle to the Bay to Orange County to the Bay and now back to the PNW again is enough to give a person whip-lash. We’ve logged more West Coast miles in 9 years than I could ever count.
In truth, I’d be remiss not to admit I’m a wee bit embarrassed to be returning to the place I waxed not-so-eloquently about being happy to leave. There were certainly good reasons to leave at the time: we had friends, but most were moving away or planning to; Jonathan had dreams of grad school in California; Seattle has the world’s worst drivers, which became a source of surprisingly constant headaches and anger; the “Seattle Freeze” is a real and isolating thing, making finding and keeping new friends even more challenging.
At that time in our lives, our love of the city (with its incredible bars, restaurants, museums, and parks) wasn’t enough to keep us there.
But this time, it really will be different — because we won’t be moving to the city.
Our plan to move to Whidbey is actually several years in the making. Knowing after we got married that we’d like to move back to the Pacific Northwest to raise our family, work and life and general uncertainty about what was smart and what we could afford always kept us from taking the leap.
But after Fay was born, our world got turned upside down and as we picked up the pieces, what came together looked quite a bit different than what had been there before: we now saw our life with Fay’s future included and our priorities took a hard turn; dreams of putting down roots somewhere surrounded by nature, where Fay could run around outside without the constraints of a tiny yard, where we could afford to one day buy a home — her Home — suddenly started to outweigh everything else.
Making this decision has been very scary and fraught with anxiety on both ours parts, but now that it’s official, we could not be more excited.
In a month we will move into a home we are renting on 5 private acres in Langley, located on South Whidbey, not too far from friends. We eagerly await rainy afternoons of stomping in muddy puddles with Fay, and enjoying the open, green space of our yard during Washington’s perfect summer. We dream of weekend camping trips to secret spots in the mountains, and bonfires on the beach near my best friend’s home. We look forward to making new friends in a place seemingly immune to the “freeze” common in much of the Northwest, in a community of burgeoning young families with similar dreams of living a slower-paced life.
Yes, I know my view of island life sounds more idyllic than it will likely be, but that’s OK. We’re excited nonetheless.
(Photos of gray skies over Ebey’s Landing, Whidbey Island, 2013)