January 3, 2018

Good Morning, Baltimore

When The Pilot and I moved to DC five years ago, almost to the day, I didn't think I would ever leave. We got engaged and married in DC, made lifelong friends, and really made DC our home.

I swore I would never leave DC unless it was to move overseas. Yet, we just bought a house in Baltimore.

I love DC. It's the first city I've lived in since I left London 10 years ago that truly felt like home. I never got tired of running on the National Mall or seeing the first pops of pink every Cherry Blossom season that rolled around. I love that I could go to museums and monuments for lunch. I love how much pride the city has, the DC flags on everything from bicycle helmets to keychain, and the fact that no matter how amazing my latest vacation, I always felt good coming home.

So why did we leave?

The long and short of it is that we couldn't afford to buy a house in DC. We were looking at condos for a while but with DC's housing market exponentially rising by the minute, it wasn't long before we were priced out of the condo market too. We had our eye on a 2-bedroom condo that was being built across the street from us but when it hit the market for $265,000 MORE than the highest number we thought it might be listed at, we knew our time in DC was up. 

I'm a city girl, always have been. I haven't owned a car for 8 years and don't plan on buying another one if I can avoid it. I would go stir crazy living in a place where I had to drive to the nearest park or coffee shop. We could have moved to the DC suburbs but I didn't like any of the areas we looked in that were actually metro accessible.

There are areas of DC that are still somewhat affordable but any house in those areas are going to need a lot of work. Plus, with my 4-mile commute already taking up to 90 minutes, we didn't want to move any further away from my office.

So we turned to Baltimore. 35 miles outside of DC and easily accessible by the MARC train, my commute from Baltimore to DC wouldn't be much different than it already was.

I've joked to friends that buying this house was both the smartest and dumbest decision we've ever made. On the one hand, it's an investment. We're no longer throwing money into rent each month. On the other hand, we don't know anything about Baltimore and we bought the first and only house we looked at (assured by friends in Baltimore on a number of different counts that this house was a smart move).

For a long time after our offer was accepted, I worried whether we were making the right decision but as we've started settling in, I know we absolutely did. I've loved making our house our home despite what was a hellish moving experience that involved snow, an entire room worth of stuff left behind, and having to replace the washing machine within days of moving in (which led to us replacing the laundry room floor less than 2 weeks after moving in).

We have barely gone out to explore Baltimore and but so far, it's already starting to feel like home and I know that this decision was the right one. 

I'll still be working in DC one or two days every week, which I think I need. While I know that we made the right decision, it wasn't an easy one to make and in a lot of ways, I feel like DC let me down, not only on the housing front. We aren't the first people we know to make this move because DC and we've already met two people here who have made the same move. The sad thing is that DC isn't doing anything to keep the city affordable for families. 

At first, we said that in a few years, we might make the move back to DC but as we're settling in, Baltimore is already starting to feel like home. 

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can frequent Camden Yards, go crabbing on the Harbor, drink Natty Bohs on our patio, and make ourselves at home. I've always said that DC is the greatest city in America but Baltimore actually has that title!

One thing I regret about my time in DC is not blogging about all of my best-kept secrets, frequent haunts, and favorite spots. While I'll still be in DC part-time, I definitely plan to blog more about both of these cities that are home!

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