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Has anyone relocated from Southern California?

I'm from southern CA (have lived in San Diego for 14 years, and grew up in Orange County).  I LOVE it here!  Mainly the weather and just my general comfort level with the city.

BUT, my husband doesn't make enough for me to SAH and that is my goal.  I wish I would have realized this before having a baby and buying a home.  It isn't until after I had DS that I realized how badly I wanted to raise him instead of our nanny.

We have a 1500 sq ft townhome (which we bought for almost a 1/2 million dollars) and we just can't really swing everything without my income.  I make about 90k and DH makes 65k.  We would have to either rent it out or short sale/foreclose as we are 200k under water.

DH is from the Seattle area and might have a chance to return to the Bellingham area where he worked before moving down here.  We haven't contacted his old boss yet, but before we do, I want to make sure that I am prepared and don't get gun shy.

I would be leaving every family member that I have which also scares me.  He is from WA and has a few cousins/aunt/uncle in the area and his immediate family is a few hours away.

-So, how was the move? 

-How long have you been in WA? 

-Do you plan to stay for a long time? 

-How has the COL change been for you?

-How bad is the dreary drizzly weather?  Any depression issues?

-Is Bellingham an ok city to live in (It's about 2 hrs from Seattle which just seems so far away)

-Any other suggestions or things for me to think about before pondering such a big move? 


Thanks so much!

Re: Has anyone relocated from Southern California?

  • this is for my H, since he is a socal (orange county) transplant.

    -So, how was the move? 

    -How long have you been in WA? 
    13 years

    -Do you plan to stay for a long time? 
    yes-- he likes the weather, the outdoor activities, plus his wife will never leave here.

    -How has the COL change been for you?
    he finds holidays hard, since all his extended family is in CA (parents are here). he now sees them about every other year, and that is not enough for him.

    -How bad is the dreary drizzly weather?  Any depression issues?
    he occasionaly gets depressed, but is overall happier with mild temperatures, rather than the hot. he likes the occasional snow, and the fresh smell of rain

    -Is Bellingham an ok city to live in (It's about 2 hrs from Seattle which just seems so far away)
    bellingham will be a tough transition from SD...i think city of seattle (or suburb) will be an easier since bellingham is much smaller....

    -Any other suggestions or things for me to think about before pondering such a big move? 
    do you want to own/rent when you get to seattle(area)? if you are walking away from your home in SD, it will be difficult/impossible to get a loan here.
    TBH, i dunno how a transition from a 150k family to a 60k family will be. the cost of living is different in bellingham versus SD, but that is a major income adjustment.

    whatever you choose...good luck!

    ♥ bfp2 02/15/2012 ♥ edd 10/23/2013 ♥
    ♥ bfp1 06/14/2011 ♥ edd 02/22/2012 ♥
    ♥ baby jennlin born on 02/15/2012 ♥

    who says you can only wear your wedding dress once?

    honeymoon biomarried bioplanning bio
    jumped ship to the new and improved nest. back to TB for baby boards.
  • I've lived in WA my whole life, but i've been to Cali a few times!  Bellingham is fabulous -- great people, good food and music, outdoor activities galore. But fall and winter here are brutal. In b'ham, there is more "rain" than "drizzle" and when combined with the wind, it's notable.  Definitely requires a raincoat (umbrellas are useless in late fall and through winter).  If you do move, try to do so late spring so you can get settled and fall in love with the place before it gets cold, dark and windy.  I really do love it here, but i can't imagine coming from your climate and not feeling shock at the change.  I have never had a problem.  I know several people who have made similar moves to yours (OC, mostly) and the biggest complaint is how cold it is, comparatively.  A lot of "transplants" (and locals, for that matter) take vitamin D and some use SAD lamps (both with good success), but if you spend time outside during the day you might be fine without.

    Your other questions...
    COL: the cost of living is high compared to income availability here.  By that i mean a lot of people have two (or more) part time jobs because full time work is not very available as the professional work force is saturated with eager, low-paid college graduates.  Income is a bit low, but quality of life is high.

    Relative location: B'ham is closer to Vancouver, BC than it is to Seattle.  If you time your border crossing well it's about an hour; Seattle is 1.5.

    Culture:  Life is slower here.  B'ham has a great, welcoming community.  Because of the university there are lots of interesting talks that come to town, (renowned) authors speak at a local bookstore several times a week, etc. But there isn't much of a bustle, ever.  Fashion is casual (though B'ham has more of a sense of fashion that much of the Seattle area, it just isn't very traditionally fashionable).  There is never traffic.  If it takes me more than 10 minutes to get somewhere in B'ham, i consider that to be heavy traffic -- there are about 10 intersections in the whole city that get at all backed up and half of those are adjacent to the mall.

    Other stuff: Try to visit if you can.  It really is a great place and i love it here, but it's so completely different from SoCal in terms of weather and culture both that i think this would really help your transition.  It's important, too, to make sure that at least one of you has a job lined up before you make the move (i know that's your plan), since the market is so tight.
    Kids -- there are all sorts of fun and free/inexpensive activities for kids and families, playgroups, lots of small and fun play areas for kids (there's even a whole toddler-sized park).

    Good luck figuring all this out -- it's a big move and a lot of change you guys are taking on and it's good that you realize that. 

    EDD 9/24/13 BabyFetus Ticker
    Best sound ever: baby's heartbeat! (Heard @ 10w1d)
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