Why We Left California for New Hampshire

Ten years ago today, we moved from southern California to New Hampshire! It's been a whole decade! We can hardly believe it. Time has certainly flown. We often get asked questions about why we decided to move. In fact, a blog reader asked me to tell our story once, and I haven't done it yet. So, the anniversary of our arrival seemed like a good time! Here is our story, in question and answer form, because these are the questions we are most frequently asked.

Where did you live in California?
We lived in Orange County...Placentia, specifically. It's right in the heart of a spreading metropolis where one city runs into another for miles and miles. We lived about 20 minutes from Disneyland. (For most people, Disneyland is a good reference point.) We lived about 1 1/2 hours from the mountains, and about 30 minutes from the beach.

Did you live there your whole life?
Yes. Our children and I are native Californians. I'm a "southern California girl", who has never, EVER felt like one. Hubby grew up in many places before moving to California for a job after college.

Did you like living in California?
Yes, and no. We had a wonderful life in California! We were greatly blessed with family in close proximity, really fabulous friends, a great homeschool group, and a church where the full-counsel of God was preached. We had blessings in abundance!

But I always felt like a duck out of water in the southern California culture. Never hip enough. Too far-skinned to be a beach girl. (Honestly, I don't much like the beach.) I liked quiet and cozy and rain and cold weather and tradition and history...and California isn't any of those things. In addition, we were tired of planning our life around the traffic patterns. Tired of the hustle and bustle. Tired of the entertainment culture. Our hearts yearned for more simplicity...more space...clean air.

Had you ever been to New England before you moved?
Yes. When our 10th wedding anniversary came around (in 1998), Hubby had accumulated enough frequent flyer miles through business travel to purchase two, first-class plane tickets anywhere in the U.S. He asked me where I wanted to go. Having not traveled much myself, I said, "Well, lets' not go somewhere we could drive to. Let's go somewhere far away that we've never seen. I've always wanted to go to Nantucket!" So, off we went to Nantucket for a week. And we both fell in love with New England!

But he was happy with his job, and family and friends were in California, so we stayed. My heart yearned to move to New England, but God wanted us where he had us longer.

In 2006(?), he had a business trip to New Hampshire...in January...in the snow...in the cold. I came along and loved it! We marveled at the 6-ft. long icicles and enjoyed taking walks in the 20 degree icy weather. We would later joke, "If you love New Hampshire in January, you'll love it at any time!"

What made you finally decide to move to New England?
Hubby had worked himself higher and higher up in the company he worked for until he was in a management position that he was really not enjoying. He felt it was time for a job change. And since working backwards in a company is just really not done, it seemed time for a job change. And we began to question if the timing was right for a job change, and the job had mostly kept us in California, then maybe we should consider moving out of California too?

He began researching jobs online and applied for one in New Hampshire. He almost immediately got a phone interview. And before the phone interview was over, they offered to fly the two of us out for a weekend visit and to interview him in person. And a couple of weeks later, he had a job offer. He accepted in mid-November. We left California in late January. We arrived in New Hampshire, just ahead of an ice storm, on February 1, 2008.

Do you miss California?
We miss certain things about California, but we do not miss living there. My list of things we miss has not changed since we left. 

I miss:
- family and friends
- In-n-Out Burger
- real Mexican food (although I've taught myself to make pretty good salsa!)
- the L.A. Fabric District
- the aroma of orange blossoms
- the fresh-pressed cider at Rileys at Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen, CA

Other than that, there's really not anything we miss. We certainly do NOT miss the traffic or the heat!

Is your house here like your house in California?
Our house here is about 500-sq. feet bigger, but we had about the same number of rooms. In California, we lived on a city block on a plot of land of about 8,000 sq. ft. Here, in New Hampshire, we have a little over three acres. 

What's your favorite season?
The answer to that might depend on which member of our family you ask! Hubby would say autumn. Felicity would say spring. Colette leans towards autumn, but really likes them all. Max...I'm not sure. And I would soundly say winter! Love, love, love winter!

So, that's our story! Every year, when the anniversary of our arrival rolls around, I silently snicker about a conversation that happened within the first few months of living here. Someone, upon finding out we had moved from California, said skeptically, "From California? Hmm. I've known people who have moved from California before. They don't last. They go home after a few months. They can't take the cold." The look on her face plainly told me that she fully expected we would do the same. 

Ten years, and more in love with New England than ever!

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