A very big change

We talked about leaving the Bay Area for a long time - years, even - yet the reality of actually DOING it felt difficult and scary. Where would we go? What did we want? Many discussions had lead us to a desire to live in a smaller city, one that had amenities but didn't feel so crowded and intense. We wanted a place that felt more like home, a place where we fit in. And we wanted a place that had seasons. (That's right, I love snow and wanted to wake up with snow outside my windows again!) At that point, we were all talk.

Then in September 2019, I came across an interesting job opportunity in the Google Pittsburgh office. I'd had my eye on the postings for that office location for quite some time; I already knew I liked the city and it felt like what we were looking for. Even better, it was pretty close to both of our families. Kevin and I left for a yoga and running retreat in Point Reyes that afternoon, and we discussed the possibility of this job for the whole car ride. Right after we arrived at the retreat house, I holed myself up in our room and wrote an email to my manager-to-be. Soon I had interviews and then a job offer across the country. Whoa.

Kevin at a lookout during our Point Reyes run.

I definitely had moments after this where I wondered why I was uprooting everything. It was a lot to leave our friends, our jobs, sell the house, pack up everything we own, and to figure out a whole new city again. We've lived in quite a few places when I really think about it and each time requires starting over. Even if you know it's what will make you happier in the long run, it's bittersweet to leave a place where you have a wonderful network of friends and good memories. But the truth is, despite the perks like nice weather and beautiful coastline, the Bay Area wasn't a place that made us happy no matter how many times I tried to convince myself that it could.

We began the moving preparations. My company handled the house move including packing, which was a relief. We packed ourselves when we moved from Michigan to California, and I was thrilled to have someone else do it this time. We toured a potential rental house via Google Hangouts and signed the contract without even traveling to Pittsburgh, and we booked flights with our two cats. Kevin's transfer to the Pittsburgh office was approved with no issues. We prepped the house to put on the market. We had a whirlwind of going away gatherings and fall vacations. It all happened pretty quickly. 

House (almost) for sale!

Final trip to Maui as Californians.

Going away run in Marin.

Javelina Jundred expo for Jenny's race, Chris and I were the pacers.

Why do we have so much stuff?!

On November 8, we arrived at the Pittsburgh airport with our cats and everything we needed for the next couple of weeks until the moving truck arrived. While I was hanging out at Javelina, Kevin had also driven one of the cars across the country at the end of October, so we had a few household items and an air mattress waiting for us at the rental too.

We both started in our new offices the following week and started to explore our new city. I had visited the Pittsburgh office before, but it had grown a lot and many things had changed since I was last there. I enjoyed exploring the office and especially loved the Kennywood themed floor. My manager was nice enough to take some tourist photos for me during the tour.

A car from the Thunderbolt - the first rollercoaster I rode at Kennywood many years ago.

Kevin and I had a great time visiting new places in the city over the next few months until COVID restrictions kicked in. I joined a Trail Sisters run and met awesome new running friends, and we started attending the 3 Rivers Outdoor Company (3ROC) Tuesday evening trail runs where we met more people. The community here is nothing short of amazing. I've had so many fun experiences since moving here - even with COVID - and I'll detail more of these in the future.

For now I'll leave you with this: moving to Pittsburgh was one of the best decisions we have ever made. It was hard and scary, and I've learned that the hard decision can also be the right decision.


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