The Next Move

I’ve been staring at this photo of our old apartment in Brooklyn, taken two years ago today, when we closed the door for the last time and made our way to Providence. Our first year here was hard, but we felt pretty confident we had made the right move. After the way our second year came to a close, I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve been missing New York hard lately, and while I know we had to leave there for a lot of reasons, my heart has been heavy. I feel like it was all a huge mistake.

The scale of this city is something that appealed to us, but in recent weeks Providence has felt almost oppressively small. There’s so much about the city that we still love, but my commute is wearing me down, and I feel like we’ve outgrown our space. We’ve been talking a lot about our next steps, and I’ve pretty much decided that since I pulled the trigger last time, Mike gets to choose where we land this time around. I don’t know when it will happen or where we’ll end up, but I think it’s pretty clear that this isn’t the home we had hoped it would be.

About Jennifer Hess

18 thoughts on “The Next Move

  1. I know exactly how you feel. Having considered other places to live I feel I have plenty of cents to offer. πŸ™‚ Providence became a wonderful spot to move to out of NY. Convenient for northeast travel, most major amenities, etc. (you know). But driving/commuting kills me too. Getting out to western RI is wonderful relief, but if I didn’t have a family here I don’t know that I would continue non-city living. Having spent a ton of times in other US cities, I think Providence is only a little small, not sure I would say oppressively. They’re all smaller than NY.

    I do love San Francisco but I always felt cost of living there was the same as NY if not worse. My cousin lives in Oakland and loves it, but I don’t know that it’s much different than being in a Providence/Boston situation (though having wine regions nearby is nice!). If it were up to me today I would probably move to Seattle. Pretty easy to get around on foot or bus, good food, nice scenery.

    Good luck! Providence would be that less rich without interesting people like you and Mike around, but you have to like where you exist.

  2. don’t forget Queens, bucolic Queens. have Michael come up with some new innovation for the internet that can cause another economic boom and make getting high-paying jobs in NYC easy again.

  3. It’s tough to stay somewhere when you’re feeling burned, and yeah, the smallness of Providence would definitely magnify those problems.

    If you do decide to move, I suspect so much will come down to where a good job for you and Dietsch could be found. But of course, I will throw my hat in the ring for the DC area… Eastern Market! Lovely farmers markets everywhere! Free museums! Good bicycle routes!

  4. Well, I’d say 718, but I don’t see you guys in a major metro area, fighting the subways and wintry weather. I can truly say that I now know how it feels in my core and my soul, that it’s time to move. And that’s saying alot! This summer it will have taken me 21 years to leave Queens, NY for the Queen City, Charlotte, NC. I see you in Portland or Seattle. More laid back but always evolving, lush landscape, big nature, hiking, biking, strolling, fresh produce, greener pastures on many levels. I look forward to hearing where Mike’s dart landsπŸ˜‰

  5. I was briefly a professional bartender. Too briefly, in my opinion, but let’s not discuss that. What I’ll say is that prior to that gig, I was unemployed for nine months. During that time, Jen and I talked about moving on. RI really doesn’t have much in publishing or library science or even cocktail-bartending. The combo of Jen’s hard commute and my inability to find a job meant that we were looking.

    Then the restaurant came along, to my great surprise, and from November to late March, I put my job hunt on hold. For five months. Because I thought I was in on the ground floor of an exciting place where I could start to build a career.

    I could have spent those five months in other pursuits, and I dearly wish I had, knowing what I know now. That time was utterly wasted, helping others pursue a dream. If nothing else, I wish I had back the hours I spent scrubbing down a disgustingly filthy walk-in from ceiling to floor.

    We also could have spent those months exploring options beyond RI, but we put those talks on hold because I thought I was in at the start of something huge and long-lasting.

    Never, ever, ever allow yourself to be emotionally invested in someone else’s dream, unless you share some sort of blood or legal bonds with them. That’s a hard-learned lesson.

    What it means, though, is that my career aspirations are in a bit 0f a shambles right now. I want to do something with beverage hospitality, or writing, or whatever, but I haven’t the foggiest idea yet which direction to go in. I thought I had found a direction, but no.

    So the choice of where to go next is bound up tightly with the question, What the fuck do I do now?

  6. Lame and retro, I know, but can I cast a vote for Somerville, Cambridge, or thereabouts? Wherever you land as a couple, I know that goodness and amazing things await, because you bring them to others.

  7. Oh, man. This hurts to read, but I totally understand you. Rhode Island has never really been home to me, and I’m already planning our next move after I graduate next spring.

    Moving onto the next thing is always a good idea when heart and health are concerned. I completely support you both, no matter what.

  8. Ed.–

    Clicked through to your site just now and saw that you’re from Indiana and went to IU. Is this something we’ve discussed before? Small damn world.

  9. Thanks, everyone. Moving back to Somerville or thereabouts would be the easiest move, obviously, as it’s familiar and I wouldn’t have to find a new job. I loved Davis Square. The Bay area and DC were on the short list the last time around, and I expect they will be again. It just sucks to have to think about this when we were just beginning to feel like we had settled in here.

  10. Hi, just another person extolling the virtues of the DC area here. While the cost of living is only marginally cheaper than NYC area, so much of what is available for entertainment is free thanks to the Smithsonian, National Gallery and tons of international festivals. There are thriving cocktail and blogging cultures, lots of legal jobs, and less severe winters.

  11. Jen & Mike,
    Whatever you decide, I hope it brings you happiness, really I do. Mike, your comment was beautifully expressed and I am sorry that you were, for lack of a better word, taken advantage of.

    May the future help you find your way.

  12. DC is great, but the cost of living can be quite high in the more desirable areas. It would be great to have you so close to Baltimore though!

    I dream of moving somewhere new and exciting (I grew up in Baltimore and have lived here all my life except for college and a two year stint in Nashville), but I think it’s pretty likely that we’ll stay here, as Johns Hopkins is such a great employer. Baltimore has its merits, and is certainly cheaper than DC, but you NEED a car. We get by on one car easily though.

    If it were me, I would move to Portland, or perhaps Austin.

  13. I just found myself here via Last Night’s Dinner, and I realize you are probably much further into your decision making now, but as a fellow MBTA sufferer (oh the angry letter I’d love to send) I think Somerville is something to definitely consider again! Its a great neighborhood, and probably one of my favorite parts of the city. Jamaica Plain is another Boston favorite of mine, although I understand the neighborhood is still be considered a little ‘rough around the edges’. – Although its not as though you haven’t lived in a city before. Good Luck!

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