It’s been almost 2 months since my family and I packed up and moved to Pittsburgh, PA. In this short amount of time the transition has been a positive one, and we’re really happy. Soon, I’ll write a few posts about Pittsburgh itself because as of right now I’m too new to write anything too in depth about it. I really only know how to get to two or three places without getting lost haha.
So, how did we choose Pittsburgh? First of all, I’ve always wanted to live out of Florida. I was born in Arlington, VA and I guess the few visits to family while growing up kept me nostalgic about one day making a life outside of Florida. I had plans to do this when I graduated college, but I met my husband and well then life happened – marriage, home, kids, and careers. And life happened, for the most part, in South Florida.
Anyways, in 2011 my husband went to Pittsburgh to attend an in-person residency for his doctoral program in Occupational Therapy. He did this once or twice more, and each time he’d tell me how much I’d like it. The seed had been planted. We had a lot of chats about leaving South Florida, but they stayed just like that: as conversations that ended in “yea that would be nice.” Fast forward to June 2016: we had sold our home in order to pay off debt, and I had recently made the decision to come back home full time. We knew if there was a time to make any big move it would be now. The kids were still relatively young, we were mostly debt free, and we would only have to worry about Andres (my husband) finding work.
My first thought was Arlington, VA, but the housing was way too expensive. Scratch that. Seattle came to mind at one point, again, housing was too expensive (at least in the areas that were recommended to us by someone we trust). Scratch that. Colorado came to mind, and again housing was similar to South Florida pricing. Scratch that. I realized then that I needed to ask myself one question:
What is it that we need (not want) as a family? We were a one income family and the plan was (is) for that to be long term. We needed a city with a lower housing cost than South Florida but with a top notch public school district. The only want but not a requirement on the list: seasons.
We quickly narrowed it down to Tampa, FL. Specifically the community of Fish Hawk. It wasn’t out of state, but it met all of our needs and the super perk: one of my best friends and her beautiful family lived there!! Shortly after what seemed to have been our final decision my husband reminded me about Pittsburgh. I took it to google – just as I had done with the other cities. In my search engine you’d find “Best Suburbs to Live in Pittsburgh” and “Best School Districts in Pittsburgh” Then I’d take it to real-estate sites and plug in all that info, and AH-HAH there it was! Top notch rated public schools with affordable housing AND seasons!
At that point, we decided to visit both places. We went to Pittsburgh first – for about 4 days. We toured the city, visited the specific suburb I had researched (Mount Lebanon), met with a realtor I had already talked to over the phone, and saw a few houses. I love everything new, but anyone who knows me knows I especially love everything quaint. And Pittsburgh is just that: an older city, full of charming homes with hardwood floors and narrow stairways, hallways, and closets, winding roads (although some a tad beat up), surrounded by mountains, my goodness the people are very nice, Mount Lebanon specifically is very family friendly, and the day to day just seemed so much slower paced than busy South Florida. After that trip we visited Fish Hawk in Tampa, FL. It’s a beautiful community, extremely family friendly as well, also has top rated public schools, and although only a few hours away it was different than South Florida – in the way we were wanting. Let’s remember that one of my best friends was there too. We are two Christian stay at home moms who encourage and support each other SO much, and talking about the perks of living close to each other was something that I kept close to my heart.
We decided that my husband would apply to jobs for both Tampa and Pittsburgh. I kept praying about where God wanted us, asking Him to direct our steps. Pittsburgh made the least sense really, but that’s just how God’s plans work for us sometimes, right? You take that leap – blindly – but with ALL of your faith in His direction. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Well, His plans aligned the way they needed to. My husband was offered a job in Pittsburgh, and here we are! We have felt God’s presence throughout our transition, and are very grateful for it.
Cheers Pittsburgh! We’re thrilled to call you home!