Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The BIG News: New England Lovebirds?!

Today we were supposed to be enjoying our last bit of a family vacation at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, but as I shared a few posts back, unfortunately, we had to cancel our trip. 

The reason's bittersweet, and I can finally share the news at last:

We're moving!

At Jenness Beach, New Hampshire
If you follow Harlem Lovebirds on Instagram you've seen Portsmouth, NH show up a bit in my feed and for good reason: Mr Lovebird was promoted (I'm so proud of him!) and his company's relocating us back to New England where we met - it's crazy how things come full circle! He needed to be in his office for training today hence the reason why we canceled our vacation. We were there for Labor Day weekend taking measurements at our new place, shopping for furniture, another car, stuffing our faces full of amazing food and just having fun!

I'm looking forward to an abundance of greenery, fresh air, raising my family near the beach, reconnecting with our friends and family still in Boston (just under an hour's drive!), amazing schools, an outstanding library, a nearby YMCA with childcare included, our new apartment (more on that below), and no sales or income tax. Quintessentially New England, Portsmouth really has a small town feel but surprisingly there's an awful lot to do (and eat!). During our first family visit was when we saw the double rainbow, as though being there was meant to be.

While I spent 9 years in New England and am used to their winters, I'm definitely not looking forward to them, but I am looking forward to winter activities especially skiing (we'll have to search hard for size 16 ski boots for Mr. Lovebird!). Another issue that's come up is diversity. The answer: we will be the diversity! It's definitely going to be different than NYC-metro, but again with our network in Boston and still close enough to NYC for regular visits, we'll fare just fine. 

I love New England architecture!
Just on the couple visits we've been up there we've already met some incredibly friendly people whom we look forward to getting to know better. Also, Mr. Lovebird's international professional basketball background and my "connector" nature makes us game for this new experience and having a positive attitude will be key to our family's transition.
Our new kitchen - that's a walk-in pantry in the back that since has custom shelving installed - this foodie is excited!
And about our new place . . . transitioning from NYC-metro to Portsmouth, NH is a quite a change in crowd (there are roughly 20K people in Portsmouth vs. 20 million in NYC-metro). So we didn't shock our systems too much we opted not to go straight for a house in the burbs, but signed the lease on a new construction condo for a couple years within walking distance to downtown Portsmouth while we learn the lay of the land. Our current place was a huge upgrade for us going from barely 1,000 sq feet to 1,500 and our new place is 2,200. I'm most excited to have a dedicated office again, an actual yard, a huge master suite with custom shelving in a his side/her side walk-in closet, and a basement that has a large finished portion (it's wired for a home theater!) and unfinished portion closed with its own door for storage. Can you tell how excited I am?!

I'm a product junkie and can't wait to fill the drawers!

So when is the move? 

October 1. Thankfully, Uka's relocation package has movers handling packing and moving, but my biggest job now is to purge and boy do I have a lot to purge!

Nia starts school this week and purging will now be my day job along with continuing to call new schools for her. There's no universal pre-k (boo!), but we'll do one year at a private school before she starts kindergarten at the public school. We're being very careful with her transition especially because I have strong memories at her age and I know just how sensitive this time period can be - I remember moving at the same age from Ohio to Connecticut and back again. Her pediatrician recommended this book, which we've been reading and advised us to make a memory video of her favorite places and friends. She's already shed a few tears about leaving (she crawled to a corner and cried softly - it was heartbreaking), but has had a blast on our visits up there already laying claim to a "cave" play space under the stairs of our new place. Kids are super-resilient, and I'm sure she'll do fine!


The next question: what happens to Harlem Lovebirds? I believe this change will be positive and aligns with plans I've had to re-brand for some time now. I know readers love the Harlem Lovebirds moniker, so I'll always hold onto it, but as there's such a pull for events in the NYC blogging circle I think removing myself will be good for my long term goals of Brand Quiana especially as my consulting business I run with my sisters is starting to take off. There are so many small businesses in Portsmouth that I know could use our services, and I'm excited to get out there!

It's going to be a fast-paced month ahead for us but an exciting one. I'm up for the challenge!

Any readers made a big move before especially with kids? What have been some of your tips for getting acclimated to a new city?