My husband and I moved to Portland from California's San Francisco Bay Area in the spring of 2000. There were several reasons for the move: impossible housing market, the rush-rush life of Silicon Valley, wanting to start a family and not be tied up by the golden handcuffs of salaries. So we did. We don't really look back.
Not frequently enough, we visit our family in California. It was two years since our last visit when we headed there last Thursday on our Amtrak train adventure to celebrate my husband's parents' 50th wedding anniversary. That's the golden anniversary in case you're wondering. Big stuff. Our two girls got the chance to be first-time flower girls with all of their girl cousins during the Catholic church ceremony where their grandma and grandpa renewed their vows. My husband and I got the chance to get gussied up in traditional Filipino wedding garb (I'm praying the GoFugYourself gals don't get ahold of any of the pictures). The wedding was big. The party afterward even bigger. Our kids dancing the rhumba and Electric Slide with cousins, the cha-cha and tango with aunties and uncles. My husband and I embarrassing ourselves trying to do a waltz (something we probably haven't attempted since our own wedding 12 years ago). The marathon pillow fights the kids got to have with their cousins after the party. Pure joy.
We got home last night, and no question, it's great to be home. We love it here in Portland. This is where we feel it's best to raise our family and live our life. Oh, but it's hard to leave the love and connection with family. The kids both shed some tears over the parting with cousins. Heartbreaking to witness. I know we'd never move back to California. If only we could get them to move here... Or if we could visit more often.