Most common question: “Idaho?! Isn’t that where they grow potatoes?”
Honestly, like most of the people I know, I had no idea where Idaho was–never even heard of Boise, the state’s capital. 5th grade geography lessons was something I obviously didn’t retain. The only time we ever “see” Idaho is when we’re buying a bag of potatoes at Walmart for Thanksgiving.
So here is a handy-dandy educational map:
A year ago, when David told me that he/we might have to relocate to Idaho after his interview, I freaked out a little (okay, a lot) and dismissed the thought. As his career progressed and things began to seem more realistic, I turned into a serial Idaho googler.
To my surprise, I found…
→ Idaho is on the west coast. Flight: 1.5 hr Ι Driving distance: 10.5 hr Ι Time difference: 1 hr faster (mountain)
I remember telling my friend in Georgia, “Hey I might be able to visit you if we move!” (Refer to map above and facepalm for me.) The whole time, I thought Idaho was on the other side. Ohh… …. …I sure felt stupid.
→ Boise consistently shows up as one of the top 10 “best cities to live” lists and more.
Here’s an example. Duh, the last one sold me.
Actually, the thought of living in one of America’s safest cities put me at ease.
→ The median cost of a house in Boise is $208,500!!! (San Jose, CA = $776,500)
Sure, it has been convenient that David and I lived with our parents in San Jose. Our houses were walkable-distance apart. But we’re nearing the big 3-0 in a few short years. As my mom put it, “you guys can start your own life over there.” The thought of owning a house never even seemed possible up until this point.
→ Four seasons actually exist.
You mean it’s supposed to snow in Winter? What’s that like? Summer can get into the triple digits, but it’s not humid.
So all seemed positive, reassuring, do-able and even hopeful for a bright future.
But this was still my concern:
I have never experienced feeling “different” for being Asian in California. My high school yearbook probably had 8 pages of “Nguyen”s. From where I come from, there are more pho and boba places than Mc Donald’s and Starbucks. Yes, in every corner and even in the same plaza.
I googled “Is there racism in Idaho?” Did that help? Not really. Threads suggested that people in Boise are nice and open (that’s good) but that they also dislike Californians (double whammy womp womp….)
There was no way to really find out if any of my research was true until I see Boise in person. I flew there the first week of December. David had a work schedule change, so I stepped into Boise alone and spent two days by myself before he joined me. This actually served as an advantage for me to see how truly comfortable I would feel in this foreign place.
What I saw on my way out of the airport to my rental car…
At this point, I’m thinking what you’re thinking. That this is going to be my life:
Bracing myself, I drove to the first restaurant on my foodie list. Not only was Tango’s Empanadas delicious, but people were friendly, helpful and even endearing. No one looked at me weird. They were welcoming. This remained the trend for the places I explored (minus a bed bug panic incident, but that’s a whole different story…)
And Boise isn’t a potato farm at all. There are developed suburban areas with shopping centers and even a lovely downtown with plenty of restaurants and bars. The use of public space encourages people to enjoy the atmosphere.
The following picture is probably the “this is it” moment for me. I was just cruising around with no set destination in mind until I passed by a park and turned in serendipitously. I was in absolute awe. Clarity was by my side. I have driven my life on the fast lane in seemingly-endless hours of Bay Area and Los Angeles traffic for too long–everything was always boomboomboom, accomplish checklist, hustle to the next big thing, reach that status quo, and nothing gained was ever really enough to “make it.”
But here I was standing:
And suddenly, everything seemed so simple. Calm. Natural. Beautiful. Peaceful. I can take my time to breathe and actually feel myself breathing.
After that visit, David continued to fly to Boise every week to work and only come back on weekends. When he finally got the news on Valentine’s week that his relocation would be happening, he asked me to start a new chapter with him….
I said yes :).
We picked our house to rent, which both of us loved from the moment we stepped in.
At the end of April, the moving truck came and David left first.
I stayed behind to finish managing a big event for work. Not only has my company been supportive of my move, they are allowing me to work remotely out of state….with a raise and promotion. Words cannot express how grateful I am.
After everything wrapped up, David and I took my car to Boise and said our last “official” goodbye to San Jose on June 14. Ten hours later, we arrived!
A whole year of this “whether-we’ll-move-to-Idaho-question-mark” ordeal has passed. It’s been about a month since we’ve both lived here. Things go full circle. Remember my “this is it” moment at the park? We were at Ann Morrison Park for July 4th. This time, we were side by side. Gorgeous sunset views and fireworks surrounded us…even the chalk art on the pathway engraved “free to live, free to love.”
Boise…is OUR HOME!
We are home, together, under one roof, in the same city, every day, at last.