When we got back from our trip last year, we could have moved anywhere. Our biggest criteria was that we wanted to be closer to our parents in Nashville and Dallas. Next, we wanted to move somewhere that we had a pre-existing friend group. We had started from scratch in both Portland and San Francisco, and loved it, but didn’t want to do it again. Finally, we had to be able to find work to support ourselves.
We considered New York very seriously. We both have friends there from every phase of our lives, and many of those friends are like family. There would also be plenty of professional opportunities. The catch was that we would be moving to New York in the mindset that we would only be there for a couple yearsÂ because we don’t want to be financially tied to both of us working full time forever. It would also mean we would not see our parents any more often. And it gets freakin cold there.
We considered Asheville, North Carolina and possibly Charleston, South Carolina. We visited Asheville and decided it was too small for either of us to love working in the mountain town. Nik has some very close family friends living there, but it just didn’t feel right. It’s an amazing place to visit, and we plan to do so often, but it’s just not the place for us to live. We never made it to Charleston, and since neither of us had friends or family there, it was off the list pretty quickly.
We considered Dallas. Nik’s parents are there, he as a few good friends from high school that are still there, and I’m sure that he has more ties that would have surfaced if we had landed there. For some reason though, my pull to Nashville was extremely strong. It is possible that I will always feel a little bad for swaying us away from Dallas.
We considered Nashville.Â My home town had been high on my list from the very beginning, but this was a big move so it had to be a joint decision. I have a lot here, but NikÂ doesn’t. I know that what’s his is mine, and what’s mine is his, but still. On the family side, my father’s family has been here since he was born and they all stayed, and my mom’s family has been here for 5 generations. My roots are deep. Also, my sister lives 2 hoursÂ away and 6 months ago, my brother lived 4 hours away, so being close to themÂ was quite a draw. On the friend side, four of myÂ best girlfriends are here. We have been tight since 4th grade, and they all have growing families here. Also, aÂ large group of close friends from college have been here since we graduated, which serves two functions: friendship and professional opportunity.
I want to say that I was open to all of the other options, but deep down, I knew that Nashville was really where I wanted to be. It also helped that I had three fantastic interviews with great architects here within two weeks of us getting back from our trip. Nik also had a few interviews, but they all led him to believe what he already knew. Advertising in Nashville is not advertising in San Francisco, LA, New York, or Portland. If we were to stay, his expectations would have to adjust. Then when it became clear thatÂ I was going to receive an offerÂ for aÂ dream job, we decided to give Nashville a chance.
Nine months later (no child, sorry), Nashville is better that either of us expected.Â We see my parents at least once a week and my sister about once a month, my friends have quickly become Nik’s friends, and work has been pretty dreamy. We have also accepted adult responsibilities like owning a home and cars that we are enjoying for the time being.
Who knows how long we’ll be here, but I’m glad we are.
As always, I am struck by the poignancy of your photographs.