Thoughts on Moving, and Looking for Home
The idea of *home* is kind of a complicated one for me. We’re not one of those families “from” anywhere, who live within driving distance of all our friends and relatives. A lot of that has to do with my own background and Mr. Asthma Mom’s. I’m half-Puerto Rican, half the typical German/English mix found in my mom’s native western Pennsylvania, and don’t really identify with either place. Mr. Asthma Mom is half Korean, one-quarter Yup’ik Eskimo, and one one-quarter white. Yes, this family is the Melting Pot, and on top of that heady mixture and all the different locations it entails, we both had military fathers and therefore live far, far from the countries of our birth.
However, we’ve lived in various parts of Florida a long time, and we’re ready to leave. For several months, Mr. Asthma Mom has been working with recruiters to find a new position, and our house goes up for sale tomorrow. Because I want to find the place that feels like home.
A conversation with an old college friend yesterday is prompting this post because she’s trying to move her family back to the Boston area, which she and her husband miss terribly. They move as often as I do, and it alternately provokes envy and baffles me, the way they’ve discovered a place to stay for a good long while, if not forever. They’ve found home, and I’m still looking.
Up until recently, I’ve been fine with the wandering. Happy even. The thought of being born and living in one place my whole life horrifies me, but then again I’m so, so intrigued by the way some people simply *belong* to a place heart and soul, and I want that for myself. Moving is easy when you’re not tied down by that attachment, but that’s the point. I’m trying to get *home,* to that place that would break my heart to leave.
– Good public schools
– Strong job market
– Local culture and food scene
– Diverse population that includes open-minded, socially responsible citizens
– Four seasons, or as close as possible
– Cost of living on par with salary ranges
– Younger population (Since I live in Florida, you know this one’s important.)
Some Possibilities, Not in Order of Preference
Western North Carolina/Asheville
Probably unlikely. Resort areas don’t tend to have strong job markets, and Asheville is particularly bad. I love this area, but I like to eat also, so I’m not holding my breath.
Absolutely gorgeous and full of outdoorsy activities, but no concrete or even semi-concrete possibilities yet. Air quality isn’t the greatest.
Driven partly by climate, partly by good friends who live there, and partly by the city itself.
I can’t even find the tune with my voice much less carry it, but shockingly, AG can sing. I mean really sing. There are other factors with this city, but that’s a big one.
Beautiful. Fabulous winter sports. Free babysitting from the in-laws. Definitely on the higher end of the list.
Salt Lake City, UT
Great natural beauty also, and I hear encouraging things about raising families there, even if you’re not Mormon. (which I am not)
Love the idea of West Coast openness and healthy living, but California earthquakes terrify me and Washington’s generally too pricey.
Now for the Complications
– I can work anywhere with my laptop and wi-fi, but Mr. Asthma Mom is a programmer. He makes way more money than I do, so his job drives the move and strong tech sectors = not the best pollution picture.
– While doctors say you can’t let asthma determine where you relocate, at the same time I think avoiding places with the very worst air quality is the way to go. For all of us, but especially AG and her spazzy lungs.
I like Atlanta, for example, but it doesn’t make our short list because it routinely finds its way onto so many bad lists. Even if it didn’t, I’d rather have coastal breezes, mountains, or a more northern location if I stay in the South.
Plus, if I had to drive in or around Atlanta everyday, I’d be perpetually lost. If you’ve been to Atlanta, you know what I mean:
It’s enough to screw with a compass-impaired driver’s sense of direction (or lack thereof) even more.
The entire state of Texas is out, too, partly because nothing really draws me there despite the many–I’m sure–fine and wonderful people who live there, including my brother-in-law. But also? It only emits less CO2 than seven countries. That’s countries, not states. Yes, Texas is large, but still. I actually don’t know what repels me more–the massive emissions themselves or the lack of motivation to decrease them.
Nashville probably shouldn’t make the cut either, considering the entire state’s domination of this year’s Asthma Capitals list, but believe me–its slot on the list is anything but firm.
I use the tools you see in my sidebar to figure out pollution and emissions levels in each city or in specific areas within each city, Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) and Scorecard most often.
Today, though, I’m asking for your opinion through email or in the comments, anonymously or not.
Is there another city you think I should consider?
Would you recommend your city based on my meanderings?
What about cities you used to live in?
Where are the places you love?
Sell me on your city.