where should we live?

This question has followed us basically since we moved in together. Eight years ago, I moved to Indiana to join David in his one bedroom railroad apartment. He was in his second year of his PhD program and I was about to begin working on my master’s degree. Our building was a small, red-brick affair with, I believe, ten units. There was a window A/C in the bedroom, a futon under the front window, and very a very typical “boy’s dorm room” bedding set : beiges and greys and faded blues. The oven was too small for a regular-sized baking sheet. We were one thousand miles (and about a 14 hour drive) from my childhood home, and two thousand miles (and a much longer drive) from David’s. There was no local airport, so to fly back to Washington, we took a shuttle bus to the airport first (I believe about an hour and a half long drive) and then usually had two flights to get to David’s hometown. We became very fond of the Indy 500 Grill, where we could plug our laptops in to do schoolwork while enjoying a beer and some onion rings and waiting for our flight.

We left Indiana four years ago, and have bounced around ever since. Traveling in Europe, then crashing at my mom’s house for several months while we got our feet under us, then Boise, Idaho, and now the Capital District of New York. We’ve been here for a year and a half — definitely the most challenging year and a half of our lives. We arrived in January 2020, the dead of winter. It was cold and icy, we were very lonely, and I was very pregnant. Then there was that whole ‘having a newborn and becoming parents in a global pandemic’ thing. No family, no friends, no meal deliveries, no washer & dryer, no help. I’m still amazed we did it (and still struggle with resentment…probably always will, and that’s okay).

But…now what? It’s not like we’ve developed a super tight-knit community here. (Meeting people in a pandemic with a baby is kind of like…not a thing.) We’d like to have three bedrooms and our own laundry machines…but apparently this is the worst time to buy a house, ever. (Kind of like how March 2020 was the worst time to have your first baby, ever. Hmm…) We can’t swing a three bedroom rental on our current income. We don’t want to have another baby until we’re a bit more settled…and have a guest room where the family and friends that will come next time can stay (you guys are coming, right? …right?). But, we also don’t want the spacing of our children to be determined by the whims of the real estate market. (I’m sure that we wouldn’t be the first though, if that is the case!)

No matter where we live, David and I will always be thousands of miles from someone we love. We are from opposite sides of the US, so there’s only so much we can do. We want to be wise, we want to be thoughtful. We also want to be able to host friends and do laundry in our own home, and maybe even have a wee garden.

Anyway, if you know where David and I ought to live, let me know. Should we buy a house? Rent an apartment? Stay put? Our minds are going around and around (well, mine especially).

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