Thursday, August 18, 2011

We Won't Live in Cleveland

Two days ago B was pre-offered a different job (as in, they contacted him to see if he would be willing to apply/interview/work there). He turned them down for the time being, which I think is a good decision. However, making this decision has caused me a great deal of anxiety.

The new job would probably pay somewhat less, although the cost of living would also be less (and since B makes plenty of money already, this isn't really an important factor one way or the other). The job responsibilities would probably be the same.

The real downside to this new job was its location: Cleveland. I have never been to Cleveland (or to Ohio, or even to anywhere in the US between New Mexico and New York), but it seems like a hellhole, with really high (violent) crime rates, a poor, disadvantaged citizenry (for example, half of children live with a single parent, most below the poverty line), a dwindling population, and a shrinking economy. Because Cleveland is poor and crumbling, the usual advantages of a city would not be nearly as much in evidence. I imagine that the people who live there are largely either uneducated ghetto dwellers or smug, provincial suburbanites, neither of which would be a population I could fit in with. Also, the weather seems like it would be really bad, with horrible cold snowiness for half the year (I hate the cold). I don't want to live there.

Singapore, on the other hand, has nice warm weather all the time; great food; lots of cultural/amusement opportunities; basically no crime; a really excellent education system; a booming economy; and a very diverse and sophisticated population.

What gives me anxiety about rejecting Cleveland as a potential job location, though, is that at least it's in the United States. Singapore is just so far away from our families (17 hour flight to California); the flight from Cleveland to San Francisco is only about 4 hours. It would be so much easier for little R to know her relatives, and for me to visit them when I felt like it. Visiting from Singapore is a pretty major operation, even for an experienced traveler like myself, since it costs over $1000/person, takes almost a full day, and requires adjusting to opposite time (when it's day here, it's night there).

I don't want to live in Singapore forever, especially as my parents get older and need more help from me. Also, I want little R to grow up as an American (not as an expat child), so by the time she is school-aged, I would want to return to the States. I was worried that turning down Cleveland meant that we were dooming ourselves to living in Singapore indefinitely (of course, this is irrational: B can always change jobs if necessary).

But since both of us very much dislike the idea of Cleveland (and would only move there with the intention of moving yet again as soon as possible), it doesn't make sense to pursue that job. (And moving internationally twice within a year is really unappealing.) Goodbye to Cleveland for the time being! I hope it's the right decision.

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