We haven't made a firm decision on where to move. Actually, we can't make that decision until nearer the time it actually happens. Too many things are in the air for that. Whether I have to find a new job is a big factor. Right now, since my company is dedicated to work-at-home, we could live anywhere that we can get high-speed net access. However, the company is a startup, so it may not last until this summer.
There are three possible destinations we are considering right now:
Portland - We could move to some less expensive, better laid-out house in Portland. It is a great city in may ways and we are becoming increasingly involved in life here. It has the disadvantages of high unemployment, high cost-of-living, and the shortest school-year in the country.
We'll probably only stay here if I have to get another job before we have a chance to move.
Omaha, Nebraska - This is where most of my birth family lives. Since we are thinking of having another child, having relatives about would be a great thing. Plus, it would be a good thing for Ian and Mia, who especially love "Poppa" (my father) and their uncle Dan. It is also a ton less expensive to live there. The school system there is one of the best in the country. The job market is much hotter than here, with Oregon having the 1st or 2nd highest unemployment and Nebraska having the lowest in the country. Unfortunately, it is not as beautiful in scenery or weather. The "coolness" factor is pretty much irrelevant at this point in my life.
Pátzcuaro, Michoacán Mexico - My Father-in-Law owns a beautiful house in Pátzcuaro. There are a few pictures here. When we visited in 2001, it was the first time Dustin or I had ever felt a "home spark" when travelling. We both agreed that we could live there, not just enjoy ourselves on vacation.
Of course, there are a number of problems with moving there, even temporarily. Neither of us are Spanish whizzes, we'd still need a source of income, and we'd have to enroll Ian in a spanish speaking school. There just aren't any English ones.
On the plus side, even if our time there only lasted a short time, it would still be a (probably positive) memorable experience for our kids. We'd save literally tons of money, since we'd be paying very-low-rent to Gene. The house is Dustin's inheritance, so we'll have to grapple with it some day anyway. It is gorgeous there, the people are extremely friendly, and it feels much less like a police state than the US.
To be honest, Pátzcuaro is our top choice, if only we can solve the employment issue. However, it is interesting to note peoples' reactions to the idea. Latent racism and classism really comes out when I discuss such a plan. Just an observation.
I'll be writing more about our decision making process as time-to-move approaches.