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“I Think I’ll Go to Boston”

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"I'll get out of California, I'm tired of the weather...
Oh yeah and I think I'll go to Boston,
I think that I'm just tired
I think I need a new town, to leave this all behind...
I think I need a sunrise, I'm tired of the sunset,
I hear it's nice in the Summer, some snow would be nice... oh yeah,"

- Boston by Augustana

A little over six years ago, my wife and I moved from Boston to California... just before that song got popular. I was mirror image of those lyrics... traveling in the opposite direction, but for some of the same reasons. However, the biggest reasons were my wife and my careers. I could tell that her job was wearing on her. When you work at a federal prison and the inmates aren't the problem you know things are not good.

At the same time, my current company was paying me in the bottom 5 percentile of my Salary.com value as a senior software engineer. At the time I got the job, 2004, things were still pretty bad after the dot com bust. When someone found the company's compensation database lying around... well, let's just say it was clear I was being taken advantage of in comparison to people with less experience. I made my case for an increase, not mentioning that I knew others were being paid more, but it wasn't successful. I didn't get any more money, more stock, or even more vacation time.

My wife stumbled on a rare opportunity out in San Francisco. By rare, there are probably about 200 jobs in the country that my wife can transfer to as a pharmacist with the military. I had never thought about leaving Boston, but I was pissed off enough at my company that I said, "Go ahead, might as well apply." She did. After three rounds of interviews, we were on our way to San Francisco.

I had always lived within a 15 mile radius of Boston. I had underestimated how tough the adjustment period would be for me. All my friends and family were in Boston. My brother was making me an uncle. Many of my friends were having their first children, too. I didn't know anyone out here in San Francisco. I missed Boston. That song became a dagger to my heart every time it hit the airwaves. I became extremely jealous of that fictional person who traded places with me... leaving California to go to Boston.

In six years, one can make a lot of adjustments. I joined a Meet-up group with a lot of people who came to San Francisco from Boston and were interested in sports. Together we shared a lot of highs and lows. We watched the Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins win world championships. We watched the Patriots lose a couple of Super Bowls. In time, we did things that were completely unrelated to sports like tour Napa wineries. We got together at Christmas. I didn't realize it until this year, but for the third straight year, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house.

On the blogging side of things, I met enough people to fill a think tank. There are too many to mention, but a few that stand out are Kevin Gillett to SVB and her husband from The Digerati Life, and Revanche from A Gai Shan Life. Actually each of these people are stand-alone think tanks.

Today, I am that person in the song. I'm no longer the mirror image. As my wife and I packed the car to go to the hospital to have our baby, she got an email alert on her phone. The military had just sent over the official paperwork for her new job in Boston. We are going home!

Home.

I'm not even sure what that word means any more. The last time I went to Boston, I had to ask how large the medium sub at D'Angelo's was. They confiscated my Bostonian membership card on the spot. They say home is where the heart lies. If that's true, Tony Bennett's is still here in San Francisco. After talking with my wife, our hearts lie in two places now. We are Robin Scherbatsky caught with ties in two places, but neither feeling like a true home. The episode ended with Robin learning a lesson that we are hoping sinks in with us: We've got two homes and with that comes twice the awesomeness. We get to get back to our Boston roots and ridiculous accents (Side Note: watch this 30 second commercial for typical Southie Boston accents) and we know the Silicon Valley culture (a little more on that in a future post).

Baz Luhrmann sang, "Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." Truer words have rarely been sung. Today on the news they had a big weather advisory that it had been raining for 20 minutes.

The hope for later this week is to do a financial analysis of the move, which, as it usually does, played a key role.

Posted on November 28, 2012.

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9 Responses to ““I Think I’ll Go to Boston””

  1. Scott says:

    This post meant something to me. I was voluntarily banished to Atlanta in 1999 after being a long time New Englander, family from Hingham and me coming out of New Hampshire.

    When I left the world was different, digital phones just starting and poor reception; closest Big box store many miles away; no real traffic (heck the bridges and tunnels through Beantown weren’t done).

    For the past four years my goal has been to get back but I would miss ATL and I think my plan is to get back to NH in 1999 not 2016. Twenty years has changed alot in the real world – but I still think it will be the way it was.

    So the best thing is to do your best to enjoy the present.

    Catch up with ya in Beantown 2016! Maybe we can go to the Commonwealth Brewery – oh yeah that closed years (decade? ) ago

  2. Wayne says:

    Nice story. Nothing wrong with having your heart in 2 places but from a fellow Bostonian, welcome back.

  3. Cathie says:

    I can also identify. I lived my first 20 years on Long Island, then moved with my husband to Northern Virginia (USMC,) I came to love both places. I am now living in South Jersey, and this has become home. Of course, all this moving has been within the mid-Atlantic region; I don’t know how I would take living in a completely different part of the country. I think for me, Virginia feels most like “home” because I have grown children who still live there, and all of my friends and acquaintances from my formative adult years are there. Happy for you that you get to go back to your home!

  4. robyn says:

    good luck with the move! i, too, look forward to returning home. except i’m not sure where that is.

  5. Evan says:

    As someone who is made fun of often for never leaving where he grew up I can’t imagine the anxiety you felt when you left.

    I think you’ll still feel that rush but at least it won’t take you years to acclimate.

  6. Roy Richard says:

    Best of luck on the move, I’ve enjoyed and learned from your posts and hope to see more in the future.

    One of my favorite travel sites, ITAsoftware, is advertising for help in Cambridge MA. They are a google company and are basically the bare bones behind most travelsites fancier GUI.

    I just retired after 26 years in the Army and I moved 10 times so when I say look foward to the adventure not the heartache I know what I’m talking about (well mostly).

  7. Jeff says:

    I moved back to New England after living in Washington, DC for ten years after college. When I first came back I was put up in a hotel for my job in Boston. I thought I would walk the ten or so blocks in January my first day. The wind was whipping down the street and I thought to myself “What did I get myself in to?”

    Eight years later I’m glad I moved back. Winter is fun up until a point (about late January/February) but the summers here still make up for it. I don’t think I would want to be any where else. No place feels like home.

  8. […] one company who stood out from the pack. Yes they are based in the suburbs of Boston, and we know how I love the city of Boston. When I lived in Silicon Valley, I could throw a rock and hit a dozen start-up […]

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