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For many years we lived in a wonderful suburb of Los Angeles. Motivated by thoughts of experiencing the "idyllic" life while we were still relatively young, my wife, two daughters and I moved to an island near Seattle about 3 1/2 years ago.

My wife loves it here (claims to not even be aware of whether it is raining or not!), one of my daughters (15) feels much the same. My other daughter (17) is ambivalent at best, and is hoping to go to college in So Cal.

I want out. While objectively I recognize the beauty, tranquility, and civility of this area, emotionally I always feel as if I have fallen asleep, only to awake and find myself in a dark, wet, foreign land.

I used to live in Portland, Oregon. Loved it. Eventually want to move back. Sure, there were things I complained about (no decent pizza, good luck finding much open after 9PM on weeknights or before noon on a weekend), but I loved the trees, Mt. Hood, fresh and cheap dungeness crab, places to walk and to bike, lots of cool little shops, and the overall friendliness.

My father lives in Manhattan, and could never live anywhere else. Oh, sure, he'll say that he'd like to move someplace "nicer", more tranquil, more scenic, etc., but take him more than 5 minutes walk from a decent deli and he couldn't handle it for long.

The moral- as you say, "be careful what you wish for". Before you move someplace, be sure you're moving there for what it has to offer, not for an idealized perception of what the area has to offer. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages (If you need to go to art museums or the theatre, don't leave New York for Portland).

Of course, if you're married with a family, there are always compromises, which you have to work out between yourselves. I won't even try to give you any advice on that front!

-synchronicity, pining (pun intended!) for the Pacific NW.
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