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the brief (and slighty geeky) summary of my location

My current home is the city of Rockville, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.  I moved to Rockville from Philadelphia, where I lived for over twelve years.  For about ten of those years I lived in downtown Philly which the locals call "Center City".  While my official, permanent residency in Philadelphia started in December 1997, I was "in" Philadelphia for nearly a year before that starting in January 1997 (see the full story below).

Before I attempt to explain that, here is the brief run-down of where I have lived since birth, in reverse chronological order:

    Mar. 2010 - Present -- Rockville, MD
    Dec. 1997 - Mar. 2010 -- Philadelphia, PA
    Oct. 1996 - Nov. 1997 -- Pittsburgh, PA 
    Mar. 1996 - Oct. 1996 -- North East, PA (my own place) 
    Jun. 1995 - Mar. 1996 -- North East, PA (with parents) 
    Sep. 1994 - Jun. 1995 -- Meadville, PA 
    May 1993 - Sep. 1994 -- North East, PA (with parents) 
    Aug. 1988 - May 1993 -- Valparaiso, IN (college) 
    July 1970 - Aug. 1988 -- North East, PA

Being the Microsoft Office Master (read: geek) that I am, I had to analyze my living location history using a PivotTable and I came up with the following statistics:

Location % of Life
North East, PA 50.5%
Philadelphia, PA 29.3%
Valparaiso, IN 8.9%
Rockville, MD 5.5%
Pittsburgh, PA 2.8%
Meadville, PA 1.8%
Fulton, OH 1.2%
updated: 2012-07

What follows below is a more detailed chronological account of where I have lived and how I came to be there.

july 1970 to august 1988

I was born and raised in a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania called North East.  Yes, that IS the name of the town, and NO, it's not anywhere near Scranton (can you tell I've been asked that many times before?).  North East, PA is a small town on the Pennsylvania/New York border right on Lake Erie.

My hometown has about 7,500 residents and is primarily an agricultural town.  My town is known for the thousands of acres of grapes that grow in the area, as well as the numerous wineries.  Welch's primary processing plant is located in my home town, though unfortunately, we don't get any credit on the jars and bottles.

I went to North East High School, where our mascot was the North East Grape Pickers (I'm NOT joking).  And trust me.... I've heard ALL the picker jokes already.  I graduated from NEHS in June of 1988. 

august 1988 to may 1993

After spending the summer of 1988 at home, I was off to Valparaiso, IN, to attend college at Valparaiso University in August of 1988.

Valparaiso, IN is a town of about 25,000 people in northwestern Indiana.  It is about one hour west of South Bend (where those evil Notre Dame people go), and 1.5 hours southeast of Chicago.  Thanks to its proximity to Chicago, Valparaiso is one of the few parts of Indiana that is on Central time.

I spent the next five years (yes, that's five not four) of my life in Valparaiso.  I of course returned home for vacations and breaks like any good college boy does, but I hated the long drive - over 425 miles - especially when crossing the corn fields of Indiana and Ohio.  Let's face it, after Cleveland heading west there ain't much to look at.

My freshman year I wasn't allowed to have a car on campus, so I had to rely on other people for rides home.  Starting in my sophomore year, I had my own car on campus which allowed me the freedom to make my own travel plans, as well as haul lots of my stuff back and forth.

Although Valparaiso is rather close to Chicago, I never really made it up there much.  I was often very busy on campus with music and fraternity activities.  The few times that I did make it to Chicago I had a lot of fun.

may 1993 to september 1994

After graduating from Valparaiso University in May of 1993, I spent the summer in a VERY small town in the middle of Ohio called Fulton, which was about 40 minutes north of Columbus, OH.

I spent my summer there working at Lutheran Memorial Camp.  You can read the story of how I ended up there - which is quite interesting in an of itself.

When the summer of 1993 was completed, I moved back into my parents' home in North East while I attempted to find a job.  It sucked having to live with my parents, but after LMC I had no money saved and no job.  I made the best of it while I was there.  At one point I had three part-time jobs.

Summer of 1994 came along, and it was back to Lutheran Memorial Camp in Ohio for a second season.

september 1994 to october 1996

After summer 1994, I moved to Meadville, PA for a job.  I moved in with a fellow counselor from Lutheran Memorial Camp who had helped me get the job.  Meadville is about 40 minutes south of Erie, and is basically a college town in the middle of nowhere.  I was only about an hour away from home, so it was very easy to move my stuff, as well as make visits home whenever I wanted to.

I spent the next nine months of my life in Meadville, and it was nine of the worst months I've ever had.  The city of Meadville was close to nothing, I had no friends there, my apartment was a cheap hell-hole, and I hated my job.

June of 1995 found me back home living with my parents in North East.  I was once again broke and jobless.  I had applied to work at LMC for a third summer, but I was turned down.  I ended up working for a temp agency and taking whatever assignments I could get.  By mid-summer, I landed a full-time temp job.

Eventually the temp job turned into a permanent job, and by March of 1996 I had enough money to get a place of my own.  My parents own several apartments in North East, and I took basically the first one that became available once I had enough money.

The splendor of having my own place was soon ruined in July of 1996 when I lost my job.  Fortunately, I was renting from my parents, so rent was "forgiven" while I searched for another job.  And of course, it was back to temp work to make ends meet.

october 1996 to november 1997

At that point, I decided it was time to take the opportunity and get out of North East.  Not that I don't love my home town, but I knew that I would probably never find the type of job I wanted in the area, nor would I really be able to live the kind of life I wanted to live.

After some debate, I decided that I wanted to move to Columbus, OH.  I had many friends from LMC and Valparaiso in the area, as well as relatives in Columbus.  I liked the city a lot, and felt that it was far enough from home to be "far enough", but it wasn't so far that I couldn't make easy trips back if I needed to.

However, for as many resumes as I sent to Columbus, no one seemed to want me.  I had a few minor responses, but no real good leads.  (One of the interesting ironies here is that one of the companies in Columbus who turned me down eventually merged with my current employer.)

In early September 1996, on a whim and out of a bit of frustration, I sent seven resumes to Pittsburgh.  Before I had been fired, I had actually been applying for a position in Pittsburgh, so I figured what did I have to lose by trying another city.  Within three days of sending out those resumes I had three responses!  Those three responses turned into two interviews, which turned into one job.

By October 1996 I was off to live in Pittsburgh for my new job.  In Pittsburgh I lived in the neighborhood known as "Squirrel Hill".  I can't say that I saw many squirrels there, but there were more bagel shops and synagogues there than you could shake a stick at.

However, while I was 'officially' a resident of Pittsburgh, I spent very little time there.  Since I had very few connections to Pittsburgh, most of my time was spent traveling to customer sites to do training.

december 1997 to july 2007

In January of 1997 I was sent to Philadelphia, PA, for what was to be a five-week assignment.  Five weeks turned into seven weeks into nine weeks into months and months.  Initially I would spend five days in Philadelphia, and then the weekends in Pittsburgh.  However, I eventually started to spend every other weekend in Philadelphia, and only returned to Pittsburgh for two days every two weeks.  My housemate loved it - it was like he hardly had a roommate.  The running joke became that I had to leave at least one dirty dish in the sink so that he even knew I'd been there.

By late summer 1997, the conversations had started with my company about me moving to Philadelphia permanently.  It was an idea I had toyed with, but was always reluctant to follow through with.  However, as I spent more and more time in Philadelphia and less and less time in Pittsburgh, it was becoming evident that there wasn't much reason for me to be in Pittsburgh anymore.  I had more friends in Philadelphia, and all my social activities and such were also in Philadelphia.

So I started to look for a place to live in October.  By early November I had found a place in Center City, and over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday that year, I had picked up, moved, and became a permanent resident of Philadelphia.  Thanksgiving was rather late that year, so I considered December 1st to be the "official" starting date of my  residency in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a great city.  It was the biggest place I have ever lived, and for a small-town boy like me, it was quite the culture shock when I first started spending time here.  It took me a while to get adjusted to things, but I don't think I've lost that "small-town upbringing".

august 2007 to march 2010

After living in my Center City Philadelphia apartment for nearly ten years, and going through eight different roommates (that's another story in and of itself), I moved in with my partner/boyfriend David into a new place during the summer of 2007.  We had agreed early on in the relationship that if and when we moved in together that we would get "neutral territory" for an apartment.  We looked at several places, and eventually settled on an apartment in the building in which he had been currently living.  It wasn't the first choice for either of us, but it was the one place we could actually agree on without too much trouble.  My location was not downtown anymore, and I missed that apartment greatly, but it was time to move on.

In March 2009, David moved to Rockville, MD, just outside of Washington, DC for a job.  I spent the next year living on my own in Philadelphia in our "old apartment" while David settled in to a new place that would eventually be "ours" when I got to Maryland.  We commuted back and forth almost every weekend to visit each other.  I was supposed to move down to Rockville within six months - enough time to settle up things in Philadelphia and find a job in Maryland.  Due to a variety of circumstances, it took me a lot longer.

march 2010 to present

In February 2010 I finally found a job in Rockville and started the moving process.  It was a difficult decision to leave Philadelphia.  Over the course the previous year while on my own I had struggled many times with the idea of leaving everything I knew and had built for myself in Philadelphia and make the move to Rockville.

Over the course of February and March I made numerous trips back and forth, and in mid-March I finally did the official "moving van" thing and moved 99% of my stuff to Rockville.  I left a few provisions behind so that I would be able to return in April to finish cleaning, and so that I would have a place to stay for my final concert with the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus.

Rockville is pretty much your standard suburb-of-a-major-city with strip malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, and apartment complexes a-plenty - not exactly as exciting as living in downtown Philadelphia, but we both live pretty close to where we work, so it's very convenient.  Washington, DC is easy to get to both by train or by car.

We're still doing the apartment thing, but hopefully within the next few years, we'll finally be able to afford a house.  Stay tuned!