Two years ago we were battling jet lag with an itty bitty Forest as we recovered from a journey that took us from the dreary skies of Scotland to the year round sunshine of Northern California.
We haven’t celebrated a 2 year anniversary in any location since Jonathan’s first assignment in Midland, Texas (we set a record there at 2.5 years). We were in Houston 18 months and then on to Aberdeen for 21 months. We were told to expect our time in San Ramon to be shorter than 24 months but then the bottom dropped on the price of oil and as a result, Jonathan’s next job is a bit trickier to figure out.
The entire industry has been turned on its head so it isn’t quite business as usual. We are very grateful for Jonathan’s job security and since we absolutely love living in the Bay Area, we consider any additional day that we can call this place home a huge blessing.
I just cannot imagine a better place to raise a family. It’s a small town community feel with all the amenities of 3 major metropolises within a 40 mile drive. We love our neighborhood, we love our church, we love the proximity to so many great travel destinations.
Recently Jon and I were joking about how every time our family or friends come to visit us they always want to do a side trip- to Napa, to Monterey, to Tahoe, to Yosemite. We joked that if we lived in Houston they would just come to see us for us, but in Northern California we feel like chopped liver compared to the stunning landscapes at our fingertips. #CaliforniaProblems
Of course we don’t mind because we usually tag along for these side trip and they generally come with built in babysitters. Plus it’s been such a great excuse to explore the state and create memories with our favorite people, but it’s true. People come all the way out to California, they want to see more than just your rugrat and the neighborhood park.
But sometimes Jonathan and I feel like San Ramon is such an amazing place, there is hardly any need for a vacation. We took a family trip to Hawaii while we were living in Houston and while in Maui we struck up a conversation with a guy from San Diego. When the topic of how amazing Maui was came up he was like ‘Meh. I mean, I basically live in paradise so I’m not sure why I flew all this way to see the same things I have at home.’ Inwardly I was like ‘what a jerk!’, but years later this conversation comes back to me any time we travel.
We have gorgeous hiking literally down the street from us. We have vineyards 20 minutes away.
|Remember when Forest wasn't mobile yet and I could actually relax at a winery? Bliss!|
Depending on traffic, in 40 minutes, I could be staring at The Golden Gate Bridge. I mean, Maui is still one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen, but I get that it’s hard to swallow the cost of airfare and a rental property when what you have at home is fairly comparable. Why spend money on a big vacation when you have such world class culture, beauty, food and wine practically at your doorstep?
But all the perks come at a high cost. That’s been our biggest complaint. It’s unaffordable to live here. The housing prices alone are enough to make you want to cry, but those steep prices spill over into everything- groceries, babysitters, gas, preschool. We are doing fine but certainly not managing to save at the same rate we are used to.
But our mantra here is ‘you get what you pay for’. The city is safe and clean and walkable with a park on every corner and some of the best public schools in the state. We are tucked in a valley surrounded by picturesque hills and the sun shines 330 days out of the year.
A cold winter day is 55 degrees while the ideal weather of spring and fall seem to span the majority of the year. I can’t imagine many places with a higher quality of life so we keep our griping about prices to a minimum. It’s honestly our only complaint about living here. Well traffic is also a bummer but we’ve learned to avoid it unless absolutely necessary.
Anytime Jonathan brings up the topic of a relocation I totally shut down. I’m in total denial that we will ever have to leave. I just want it so bad. I want this to be the place that we call home. I want this to be the place that Forest grows up. I want him to go to preschool at our church. I want him to continue to have toddler hiking classes that we can sign up for.
I want access to parks on every corner.
I want him to attend excellent and safe and diverse public schools. I want him to grow up in a town where kids still walk home from school and ride their bikes to the corner ice cream shop. I want to continue taking him on weekend/day trips to the beach or to the mountains.
I know our time here is dwindling down and that eventually I’ll have to pack up our possessions and move across the country (or the world) once again. Just like Louisiana, Texas and Scotland, California has wormed it’s way into my heart and will one day add itself to the long list of places I feel homesick for.
For now, we are just grateful for every moment we have here and are trying our best not to take it for granted. This month we will welcome two sets of visitors and will be exploring Yosemite in the snow and then will be headed back to Tahoe. We consider ourselves very blessed indeed. Stay tuned!