For those of you who don’t know it, Cherise and I made the big decision to leave Seattle and head down to California. In fact, we’re already here. For those of you who never had a chance to visit us in Seattle, sorry! We had talked about it for years, but now just seemed like the right time. From a career perspective, I was ready to leave Microsoft. From a personal perspective, we figured it was easier to move like this with one kid as opposed to two (no, we’re not pregnant). Plus, we’ve really understood how valuable it is to be closer to family–both in what we can give as well as what we (especially Iris) can get. Having grown up in an Indian family, I’ve always been raised to appreciate an extended family that includes an infinite calvalcade of aunts and uncles (some related and some not) that all played a role in raising me. It really does take a village to raise a child and I love that Iris will get a chance to know her "Tata and Tampa" (Iris’ words for Cherise’s parents) better and possibly get visited by her "Koka" (my dad, who’ll appreciate the California weather) more often.
Of course, California is certainly an interesting place to raise a child. It’s where Cherise and I met, so we’re not exactly strangers to the area. We made some great friends in Seattle and leaving them may have been the toughest part for us, but we have connections and good friends floating throughout the Northern California area and we’re looking forward to reconnecting. However, Iris has only known Seattle. She loves saying the word "Seattle". She knows how to spot the Space Needle. And, of course, she loves all of her friends–most of whom she has known since Day 1.
Personally, I had a lot of "what am I doing?" moments throughout this process (which happened REALLY fast). I’m taking a job with a startup in San Francisco, something that was my dream job several years ago when I decided to go to business school. As I told the recruiter, I would’ve accepted the job and moved down there in three days if I was alone. But while it still is my dream job, I found myself slow to pull the trigger as I was really worried about what this meant to Cherise and especially Iris. The decisions I make are so much less trivial than they were 10 years ago. A part of me envies the single person that could pick up and leave their life on a moment’s notice and move halfway around the world if they so chose (and as I chose when I left NJ for California in 1996). I will never have that liberty again. But with that said, as we made the move and drove down to California, I kept looking at the two fellow passengers in the car and got a goofy grin that said "everything is going to be alright". It seems like as long as we have each other, little else matters.
From a selfish perspective, while it was harder to make the decision, it’ll be easier for me to adapt as I have brought my world with me. Even in the first days as we get settled into temporary housing, it’s been a lot of fun to go on new adventures and visit new places with the two of them. Iris and I visited the local coffee shop and Jamba Juice this weekend to continue our Saturday morning tradition. We also visited the Lafayette Wine & Art Festival Saturday afternoon where we got the enjoy the mellow mood and great weather. As I sat in a Baja Fresh with my wife and daughter in a new city two days before starting a job that is unlike anything I’ve ever done before, I would have thought I’d be nervous. Yet, I got this sense of happiness that I can’t quite describe. Iris is at this wonderful age where she is amazing us with every word that comes out of her mouth. She’s articulating herself in sentences, she’s responding to our requests, and her humor and interactions continue to gain complexity. Add that to the wonderful, continually evolvoing relationship I have with Cherise and every day is so much fun now as I have these two entertaining, loving people in my life. I kept thinking about the Lowenbrau commercials from the 80s: "It doesn’t get any better than this." I don’t know if that is the case, but I certainly never imagined it being this good. Who knows what the future holds, but I am definitely excited.