From San Francisco (SFO) to the Quad Cities (MLI)

A year ago, I was spending 90 minutes or so each morning and evening sitting on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to and from the Financial District of San Francisco. I worked for a larger investment services firm in SF and my wife and I lived in Walnut Creek. For those who don’t know the layout of the Bay Area, Walnut Creek is over the Oakland and Berkeley Hills East of San Francisco and located in a valley. It’s considered a suburb-like city and one that is very nice for raising a family. It’s also an hour to Napa and Sonoma Valleys and 45 minutes or so to Santa Rosa (where I fell in love with Pliny the Elder). Carrie and I loved it and we miss it every day.

When we were considering relocating back to the Midwest from California, there certainly were a lot of question marks for both of us. I had lived in Chicago for over 9 years prior to moving to California and the move to the West Coast had occurred less than 18-months earlier. We really liked our metropolis way of life! Needless to say, gaining motivation to pick up and move again was not coming too easy for either of us. In the end, after a lot of prayer and patience, we decided that our daughter needed to grow up around her grandparents and so after 11 years away from Iowa, it was time to go home and reconnect with family and friends.

Since moving back, there have been a lot of days where Carrie and I look at each other and miss those cool, bug-free, almost zero humidity evenings on our patio in Northern California. I mean, really, who wouldn’t, right? I miss the beer, we miss the wine, and we both miss the friends that we had begun creating solid friendships with.

There is a part of us that misses the fact that we did it by ourselves as well. We moved out there and took the risk, Elyse was born 2,000 miles from her grandparents, and we were adjusting daily to figure things out. There is a solidarity that begins to build when all you have is each other. I’m very lucky to have such a fantastic teammate.

We have, however, had an increasing amount of days where we look at each other when our daughter Elyse is smiling and running into one of her grandparent’s arms, and thank God for getting us to where these moments can happen. I never thought those would be so special to me because I’m a new dad – I never knew. I know now that they’re so valuable.

Being around family isn’t the only thing that’s been adjusting our view of leaving Northern California for the Quad Cities. The QC has begun to really make an impact on both Carrie and myself. Not only did I land at a great financial planning firm, but Carrie seems to have nursing opportunities chasing her down without even trying. We’ve been slowly, but surely, growing our list of friends and we were very lucky to land in a neighborhood in Moline that has a good amount of younger families. Add on to that what is a growing ‘craft’ scene full of local breweries, distilleries, and shops, a little bit of what we loved in California is beginning to reveal itself here.

Yesterday for Mother’s Day, Carrie, Elyse and I, along with Carrie’s parents ate at BREW in Davenport – it reminded me of a few places in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, granted, with a bit more humidity, but at a cheaper price.

We’ll forever have our NorCal roots, due to Elyse, and I can see us being frequent guests there in the future. However, for now, the Quad Cities continues to show us why we chose this area to move to and every week we seem to find another reason to be happy about making that choice.