Two years ago, we packed up our cars in Denver to set off into the San Diego sun. Friends joined us for the 3-day drive, as we hit the obligatory Instagram spots–Antelope Canyon, Moab and Las Vegas–before arriving at our new home. Well, new-old home. New for me. Old for my husband. We moved into the house where Danny spent his high school, college and ‘don’t know where my life is going’ years before optometry school. Although Danny had not lived in San Diego for the past seven years, this was where he called home.
Here, we live with Danny’s mom, brother, his girlfriend and two other roommates. While seven adults living together is certainly a ‘full house,’ it isn’t uncommon for Californians, where the housing market is brutal. Rent and mortgages eat into monthly incomes and families struggle to save.
Our first year in San Diego was whimsical. We were riding the engagement wave and planning the wedding of a lifetime. We were busy spray painting centerpieces and practicing our first dance.
Shortly after our wedding, we found out we were pregnant, which started the next chapter of San Diego life. No more wine and sushi for me. And as an act of camaraderie (and his disinterest in raw fish), none for Danny either. We continued plugging along with our jobs but decided it was best to wait on buying a home in America’s Finest City with baby on the way. We were optimistic, happy and in love.
Being blessed with a smooth pregnancy, we were doomed to have a newborn that would challenge us. With little sleep and no space in the house, things got hard. Without a nursery for Cadence, she has always slept with us. But she quickly outgrew her snuggle nest (on the bed with us) and her bassinet (next to our bed). Soon, we’ll be packing away the pack-and-play. And then where shall she go?
When Cadence turned six months, we decided we needed to move out. We eagerly researched homes and mortgage loans, but our aggressive search only lasted a few weeks. To our humbling dismay, we realized we didn’t have the financial means to buy a home in San Diego. Let’s say we moved into a half-a-million dollar home (on the low end), we’d be stuck with monthly payments we couldn’t afford. And we checked our privilege. We are two able-bodied, educated, working professionals with two incomes–not to mention one of us is a doctor. Doesn’t that mean anything? Oh yes, it means a heap of student loan debt. Don’t get me started on how he trapped my ass (in the words of Ali Wong).
The bank did approve us for $500k+ but we would essentially be living out of our means without the ability to save. We asked each other, do we want to stay in California and hustle? Or move back to Colorado and actually be able to enjoy our lives as a growing family?
The answer was simple. Yet it was hard.
The culmination of many conversations, amongst ourselves and with friends and family was the decision to move back to Denver.
So here we go. Two years later, we are coming full circle and planning our return trip. Still in love but humbled. And since we now have a beautiful baby in tow, there will be less scenic stops this time.
Thank you for all the life lessons, San Diego. You’re beautiful and we will be back for you.