We returned home last night after 10 days away. We went to Seattle, where we joined my brother-in-law's family and drove up to Vancouver, where we boarded the Disney Wonder and did a 7-night cruise to Alaska. It was easily the biggest vacation I've taken (in terms of distance and cost), and it was completely amazing. So much to write about. However, it was the time in Seattle, or more specifically the eastside suburb we lived in, that I found challenging.
We left Seattle in late 2011 after living there for two years, to chase our financial goals as they related to my unsold house. I've written about that countless times, and yes, I still have a hard time letting go of that decision as awful. As a family, we returned in 2012 for week or so, and then I went back for a day in 2013 to interview at Microsoft again (the job was, to say the least, not a good fit). I haven't been back since, so that's more than three years.
Being back in Snoqualmie was emotionally weird for us. While we only lived in the area for two years, being there made us very happy. It's such a naturally beautiful place, full of interesting and diverse people and a thriving technology job market. I think it is, objectively, an amazing place to live. Certainly it has its drawbacks, mostly the cost of housing, earthquake potential and a lack of theme parks, but it's mostly a winning place. The night we got there last week, on my birthday, it was amazing to be there in bed and just listen to the sound of trees and birds outside, with the window open.
This is not to say that we don't like living in Orange County. We live a life mostly free of cold weather, and we enjoy theme parks, rocket launches and cruises in the tropics. The flat land and hurricane potential isn't ideal, but it's no deal breaker. It's awesome here in a completely different way.
That's the thing that we struggle with... home is not easy to define. I think we wish that there was an ideal world where we could simultaneously live in two places. I suppose the only thing that we can say that home is not is Ohio. That's a weird thing to consider, that the place you lived most of your life isn't really a place you want to be. It isn't dislike as much as indifference.
Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of my arrival in Florida, and it's been a pretty great three years. I have no desire to move again, but I try to be pretty zen about what it means to be "home."