There have been some moves in my life since last I blogged. Some were expected, some were not, and at least one was long, long overdue.
I’m out of the Inland Empire. As I’d noted in June, I’m not built for triple-digit heat. Living closer to San Bernardino and the mountains than Malibu and the beach meant heat, dust, fire, and desert. These are beautiful things and I appreciate them. However, living amongst them was a health challenge, and the isolation from not having anyone to talk to within any reasonable distance was starting to get to me. When the introvert is lonely? You have a problem.
Once my coursework was completed, I was free to move, so long as I’m able to get back to the university to handle various things for the dissertation. In September, I started to review my options. Returning to Chicago was my first consideration. Unfortunately, having to be in LA on a reliable basis, and the LA-equivalent cost of living, made it not so attractive. Also, many of my Midwest friends have moved away, so I’d be just as isolated out there as I was in SoCal.
I considered moving back north to Silicon Valley. Part-time work is appealing, as it gives me money for groceries and rent, but I need to reserve enough time to finish the dissertation, too. Two phone calls and that idea fell through. My former landlord can now get more than twice what he was charging me…and I could barely afford that two years ago. Unless I wanted to live almost into Sacramento, or find a bunch of roommates, or I intended to give up on the dissertation and go back to tech full-time, NorCal was a big fat no. It’s a shame. I liked it there, and it’s sad to watch a good place price its own residents out.
Finally I sat with a map and reviewed cities: close enough to LA, far enough that I could afford to live there, close to friends and family and far from the desert. Nevada and Arizona went off the table immediately (no desert). Seattle was a contender with its Tamara-friendly weather, but it’s looking more and more like NorCal, with the spiraling cost of living. After several short trips and six weeks of house hunting, I decided on Portland, Oregon: a medium-sized city full of trees and actual weather, with a reasonable cost of living (at least for now), a good number of family and friends nearby, and easy and cheap flights to LA when I need them, as well as the ability to drive there in a reasonable amount of time if I must.
After final exams in December, I packed up my apartment with the help of two wonderful friends and a magical ABF “Upack” container, and then Zigzag and I made the long drive north one state and just a few miles short of a second, to our new home in PDX. It was two years to the day since we’d driven down from San Jose to Upland, along with Ru. This trip took longer. I had to stop overnight in Sacramento because I didn’t get out of Upland until late afternoon, and I almost got stuck on top of the Siskiyou Pass during a whiteout. The whole way, I kept thinking about our missing companion. I wish Ru would’ve been able to come with us to Portland. It’s beautiful and comfortable, and he would have loved the sunny windows and the wide stair. We miss him every day.
The other out is the one that was a long time coming. That one would be me, coming out of the closet.