Like all unlikely things, it had an innocent start

Columnist Jen Koski will make a major move, life change.

Jen's World - Jennifer Koski column sig
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Jay and I did something rather spontaneous a few weeks ago.

I mean, sure, this tends to be my M.O. Like the time I signed up for a half-marathon in New York City, and then realized I’d have to run 13 miles. Or the time I bought tickets to a U2 concert in Kansas City less than 24 hours before the show.

Whereas Jay is more thoughtful about his decisions, my motto is usually, “That sounds fun! Let’s do that!” Jump first. Process later.

And — like with the U2 tickets — I can usually do a good job of convincing my husband to leap, too. Which is kind of what happened a few weeks ago. But bigger.

Let me back up a little bit. This last July, I spent a weekend in Bemidji. While I was there, I popped in to the real estate office next to my hotel. There, I told an agent named Melissa that my husband and I have played with the idea of moving to the area someday. In a couple of years, maybe. We love where we live, I told her. Rochester is home. But we feel the draw to be closer to family — so keep us in mind.


Fast forward to September. I’m in our dining room when I get a text. It’s Melissa. “Could you come up to Bemidji tomorrow? There’s a house I think you’d love.” She attached the listing. And she was right: It was a charmer. But still.

“We can’t make it tomorrow,” I typed back. “But thanks for thinking of us!” And that was that.

Except it wasn’t. Melissa said she could show us the house by video, if we’d like. We figured it couldn’t hurt, and signed up for a showing the next day.

Well, reader-friends, that house was about perfect. Single-level living on 4 acres in the middle of the woods, big windows, beautiful fireplace, a dedicated office. Plus: Five hours closer to my parents; nearly three hours closer to Jay’s mom.

When we showed interest, Melissa dropped the caveat: “They’re only accepting offers today,” she said. We’d have to make a decision. Fast.

So I jumped. And this time, Jay didn’t need any convincing to join me. We made a fairly conservative offer, and told Melissa we wouldn’t engage in a bidding war: “If we don’t get it, it wasn’t meant to be.”

So imagine my surprise when I received her “Congratulations!” text the next afternoon. I stared at it for a good 30 seconds, then walked up the stairs to find Jay. I tapped his shoulder. Held the phone out for him to see.

And that is how, in three days’ time, we went from, “Thanks for thinking of us!” to “We just bought a house 300 miles away that we’ve never been in.”


I still don’t think we’ve fully realized what we’ve done. But sometimes, in the very few quiet moments we’ve spent since then (because when you buy a house for a move that you didn’t realize you were making, there’s A LOT of stuff to do), I find myself reeling a bit. Jay and I have lived in Rochester for 25 years. We’ve raised our family here. We love the deep and wide community we’ve built here. “Why would we ever leave it?” I think. “What have we done?!”

It’s been three weeks of balancing those thoughts with being excited for the adventure ahead. Three weeks of saying, “I can’t believe we get to live in that house.” And three weeks of saying: “We can always come back, right?”

Three weeks of looking at pictures of our new house and saying, “It's so cool! What a dream!” And a good 30 minutes of me crying and saying to my husband, “What if I don’t love it like I love Rochester?”

Three weeks of coming to terms with having to give up this column. Because, it turns out, it’s not ideal to be a local columnist who lives 300 miles away.

So, yes, reader-friends. We are nearing the end of Jen’s World. But more about that later. Because I’m not quite ready to process that one yet.

Jennifer Koski is associate editor at Rochester Magazine. Her column appears Tuesdays. Send comments to .

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