Elizabeth made a little comment in her backyard furniture post that brought up an issue I've been thinking a lot about. She wrote about neighborhood happy hours in her front yard on Friday afternoons. GAH! How do I get that? That's exactly what I want and exactly how I grew up. It's the thing I've been searching for. The closest I've personally come is when I was in my early 20's and living in Silverlake in East LA. I lived in an old 1930's apartment building with mostly studios filled with other young and hip women. We all looked out for each other and one time we even had a building party where everyone opened their doors and served different drinks. It was as awesome as it sounds.
Now we live in Venice Beach in the West part of Los Angeles. Our home is beautiful and I love it, but the demographics in our little gated community skew oldster. Most of the units are occupied by the original owners and these places were built in the 1980's. Don't get me wrong, our neighbors are super nice and they plan little get-togethers for everyone to come to but um, well, it's not really people with young families unless you count their grandkids.
I have other problems with where we live; the public schools. We're currently a part of LAUSD and meh, the district is a well known mess. Looking at a lifetime of private school for two kids is horrendous. There are so many better things to do with that money, especially with me not working. Also, Uri's company was acquired by Intel last year. He spends a lot of time traveling to see customers but also a lot of time traveling to Intel campuses - the three main ones are in Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ and San Jose, CA.
Lately, our big idea was to move to Portland. Housing is ridiculously affordable and also we could live the dream of the 1890's. (Holy cow that video is hilarious.) I started mapping out the area and salivating over the types of places we could rent for so much cheaper than we pay now. There are some neighborhoods that are referred to as "Intel Country Clubs" and I thought we could find other similar families with engineer dads and at home moms. I kept telling myself the weather would be tough but that I could deal. However, I started to realize how much I count on the few hours a day that Anna and I go play outside at a park. Earlier this week, we were enjoying some park time on a slightly windy day. It was do-able but I felt a little chilly. It was 60 outside. I thought it would be smart to check the Portland weather on my phone as a comparison. 40 and rainy/snowy... all week. Ugh dude. I don't know. That put a chink in our plans. Then Uri said he couldn't imagine living there more than 2 years and I was like oh hell no. I am not doing all this work (and yes I am the one that would power the move) for 2 years in a place. Plus, once we moved to a low cost of living town, it would be so hard to buck back up and live in an expensive place again if we had to.
I don't have to tell you how thrilled my mom was to hear that we're staying put for now. Plus, we really love our place. We live on this private lagoon that is a habitat for migrating birds. It's really cool. I keep planning to take some artsy pictures but here is a phone picture right now as I'm sitting here... this is our back patio:
Yup, that's a waterfall on the right. Plus we love the layout of our place. It's a fun place to chill for a bit. Even though this isn't the neighborhood of our dreams, I'm close to lots of friends and family which will come in handy when we have baby #2 hopefully end of this year or beginning of next.
So for now, we don't live in our dream neighborhood. We do think we'll eventually leave LA. It's just not the right place to be for Uri - the Silicon Valley beckons us. I don't know if I'll be able to find that neighborhood happy hour thing Elizabeth has there... but I'll keep trying.