I recently relocated for a job to the Bay Area. I’m not going to mention the name of the company, but if you’re clever enough you’ll figure it out. This post is not about my job or company. I’m quite happy with both of these things. This post is about my struggles coping with the move to a new location and the stress that has been placed on my family.
Picking up your roots and moving somewhere else is difficult. Now add a wife, a kid, and two dogs. I was fortunate enough to have movers pack up our belongings and our belongings were shipped across the country. Our vehicle was shipped on a trailer. We were able to just hop on a plane and arrive at our new residence. Despite being afforded many luxuries during the move, it’s been very stressful on us. This is the farthest that we have ever been from western Kentucky (where my wife and I grew up). One of the biggest pain points has been food (believe it or not).
Moving somewhere completely new leaves some of your favorite restaurants behind (unless you’re a restaurant chain only connoisseur, in which case I’m sorry for you). I was somewhat prepared for this eventuality as someone I had interviewed with mentioned that being one of his hardest things to overcome. No matter where you live, there are always a few restaurants that are comforting to you. If that restaurant happens to be a chain, you might be in luck (however, you might not: one of my comfort restaurants is Qdoba and the closest Qdoba is a two hour commute), but more often than not you will lose a staple in your diet. With a heavy population of Asian descendants, there are many of what I consider to be Asian style restaurants. I’m largely okay with this, but it’s difficult in finding one that I like, seeing as how I’m accustomed to the fake American/Chinese food commonly found in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Another large stressor has been the cost of living. I tried, in vain, to prepare myself for this. I created a spreadsheet to try to map out our income and our expenses. I knew that my income tax would increase when moving from a state with no state income tax to a state with state income tax. I came up with an estimate based on some information I could find online. My estimate was wrong, by hundreds of dollars per pay period. Take that with the huge increase in housing (again, I wasn’t blind to this) and you have a recipe for stress. I keep updating that spreadsheet and I’m doing all I can to stay on top of our expenses. We’ll be okay, but the cost of living adjustment has been larger than I planned for and it’s something that’s difficult to wrap your head around.
Then you have the small things that just add up: my vehicle’s registration expired the month we moved, finding a daycare for our son, registering our vehicle, applying for a new license (which also happened to be expiring this December). It was nearly overwhelming. Did you know that if you have purchased a vehicle in the same year you move to California that California will demand a payment based on the taxes of that vehicle you purchased? I did not. I suppose this measure is to crack down on people buying vehicles out of state and bringing them in, but for someone who purchased a vehicle in March/April without any intention of moving to California at that time, it was a pain in the ass (and the wallet).
The one thing I didn’t believe I would experience has been the overwhelming amount of homesickness I have had. I’ve never thought of myself as being attached to the area where I was born and raised or the area where I have lived for the past six years. I’m not sure if I miss the places so much as I miss the people (family and friends), but I have found myself wishing to visit or to call more frequently. We FaceTime with family so they can see Max. I feel as though I actually talk to my family more due to our FaceTime schedule. We have allotted days to particular family members so that everyone has a chance to talk to us and see him. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best of a bad situation. Before we left Nashville, I rarely used FaceTime with family members (some of this was just due to the fact that my dad did not have a smartphone and my grandmother did not have a device capable of FaceTime). After we broke the news to them and after the necessary setup, we started to FaceTime with them and it has been a blessing.
This is not meant to be a complete written capture of my feelings over the past few months. This is me, capturing some of my thoughts.