For the past several years, Jim and I have been looking to move to a larger metropolitan area with lots of museums and culture, but also one that is an excellent fit for our family AND offers a great job for Jim. Finding all three of these in the same place proved harder than we expected. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that Jim loves his current job, so in order to move, the job had to be at least as good.
As I’ve said many times, our main complaint with where we are currently is our constant driving. Jim’s job is an hour away from our house (45 minutes in good traffic). Emerald’s school is 20-30 minutes away, and Sapphire’s preschool is 20-30 minutes away in the opposite direction. If I have to go between the two schools, as I did the other day (not for the first time), it can take up to an hour. We are also 10-15 minutes or more from the closest anything (except for one small convenience store we never go in). For most things, it’s more. [On the positive side, we do have a nice house on 3 acres, with a wonderful yard for kids and lots of privacy.]
Moving to the city where Jim’s job is was always an option, but the city really isn’t as large as we were hoping. We also were hoping to move somewhere with more winter weather. [The original search criteria were devised before the winter of 2010 in which our part of Virginia got 3 storms of 20+ inches each, plus a couple of smaller ones.]
Further complicating matters was the fact that most private schools are just getting started on their searches in late February to early March and Jim has to sign his contract for the next year at his current job in early March. The school where he currently teaches has been very supportive and has extended the deadline for him as much as they can in previous years, but they also need to know if they have to hire someone to replace him and they can’t wait until all the good candidates have been hired by someone else. Totally understandable.
Over the last several years, Jim has been offered a handful of jobs and had a bunch of others express a strong interest in him. But they have either been at schools he would love to teach except they are in the middle of nowhere, which is not where we’d like to live, or the job hasn’t been a good fit for him. So for several years, we have been in a constant state of limbo. We had no idea where we would be the next year.
That wore thin, as did Jim’s hour-long commute and my constant driving. So at the end of last year’s search, we decided that we would give it one more try and then we would conclude that we were meant to move to the city his current job is in. We’d settle in there and stay for at least five years. This past fall, we began to look into schools and other things in that city and began to get excited about the possibility of moving there, although it was still not our ideal.
We also began this year’s search. The last one, either way. Jim had been in touch with the science department chair at a private school in a large city in North Carolina since last year’s search. That school had a possible opening as one of their science faculty members was looking to leave, but hadn’t yet found the right job (similar to our situation here). Jim and the science chair hit if off immediately and both thought that their department down there might be a great fit for Jim and he for them. But it turned out there wasn’t an opening last year. This year, there was. Jim had more telephone talks with the science chair. More Skype interviews. He was definitely interested in pursuing it further, so we all went to North Carolina last week for his interview and to get a feel for the school and the city.
Aside from the weather not being colder than here, but rather warmer, everything seemed to fit with what we were looking for. We loved the city. We loved all the people we met. Living expenses seemed to be affordable. We’d be closer to most of our family (Jim’s sister and her husband are in a different town in North Carolina and his mom is in Alabama). Jim loved the school, the science department, and the teachers he met. He felt that this would be a great fit for him and offered the potential for job advancement down the road. And before we left, they extended a job offer to Jim for a great salary.
All the pieces finally fell into place. We came home, thought about it for a couple of days, and yesterday, we committed to taking the plunge. There’s a lot to do before we move this summer, but we are excited for the adventures ahead.
I imagine in the next few months, I will start an occasional series on the move (maybe as the time gets closer, a not-so-occasional series 🙂 ). Stay tuned . . .