Moving, Parenting

The Move: From NYC to Richmond,VA

These past few months have been pretty busy. We went to Disney World for President’s week and I was preparing to write a piece on that, how we saved money and all the ways we went wrong, to save you the trouble. The day before we left on vacation, my husband received a call that changed our lives. He was hired for a new job and we would soon be relocating to Richmond, VA. We knew it was a possibility. After all, he did apply and interview for the position. Yet hearing the news made it very real, exciting and a bit scary. We set out to fully enjoy our first real family vacation knowing he would never again have to work at the job he hated.

The decision to leave was almost a no-brainer for us; my husband would earn a New York-based salary at his new company,  equivalent what we were both making combined in our old jobs. Virginia has a lower cost of living, so we could almost cut our rent in half, add more space and have things like a backyard, a gym and a pool. Win-Win!

When we got back from Orlando, I began the process of relocating our entire lives. Let me tell you, it was much harder than anticipated. We needed to find the right place and that’s pretty hard to do from 6 hours away. I spent days and nights searching online, looking at schools, communities, crime rates, city life and things to do. I didn’t want to make the mistake of moving out of one ‘hood and into another and needed to make sure the entire family would be happy with the decision as it would be affecting all of us.

I went on Zillow and searched by school, only selecting those with a score of 8+. The rentals available in those areas just didn’t work for us; they were either too expensive, did not have 3 bedrooms available or had bad reviews. Even worse, almost every single one had electric stoves- a NO for me. I was surprised at how many of these apartments made tenants pay ALL utilities: water, gas, sewer. Where I come from, we just pay electric. I was not budging on the 8+ schools. My kids are a little advanced compared to their peers and I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be setting them back by making this move. The one thing I loved about living in the Bronx was their school, surprisingly. It is truly incredible and the kids were so happy there. After speaking with friends, I decided to expand my search, allowing us to consider different properties while keeping an open mind about school ratings. The kids would do well wherever they go to school, and it doesn’t have to be permanent.

We came down for a weekend and explored the town, checked out some rentals and chose The One. The whole family fell in love with the feel of the town. There was none of the angst and negative energy that’s palpable in New York City. It felt right. It has almost a Brooklyn vibe. There’s art where you least expect it. Not just graffiti names tagged on a wall but beautiful images that make you appreciate finding them.

The packing, preparing, getting rid of furniture process has been incredibly stressful, but it’s finally over and I can breathe again. And I must admit, I’m breathing much better now. I’m taking better care of myself and my nutrition and I’m happier for it. So far, we’ve only been here a week but it seems really nice. People take their time, say good morning, kids play outside by themselves, the weather is warmer and we spend most of our time outside. In the Bronx, I felt like I was trapped in a box. Here, we are surrounded by trees and open air. It’s beautiful and we appreciate everything about it. We are still adjusting but everyone seems to be doing well. The kids are making friends in the neighborhood and my oldest seems to have forgotten all his worries about leaving NYC.

From here, who knows where we will go. Maybe it works out and this is our forever place. Maybe we find out we don’t like it after a while and decide to head back home to NYC and all of our family and friends. Maybe after this we are presented with an even greater opportunity to go somewhere else. Right now, we have no idea but it’s pretty exciting to take such a huge risk with nothing and no one to fall back on. Maintain positive thoughts and things will work themselves out the way they’re supposed to. The universe always has your back.

Author: Alexis Petty-Rodriguez

My name is Alexis Petty-Rodriguez. I’m a young mom with two amazing little ones, Bradley Tyler and Avery Grace. These are my experiences with parenting, what works for us and what the kids are into. These guys totally have their own personality and usually get their own way with things.