Three Month Whirldwind - DanaChirps

Has it really been over 3 months since I wrote a blog post? That’s easily the longest I’ve gone without hitting “publish.” Weird, but explainable…

After Brett and I moved back to the states from Bermuda late last fall, we moved into his condo in downtown Portsmouth, NH. It’s a grey, beer-drinking town with a funky art scene that I’m pretty sure boasts more plaid shirts per capital than anywhere else in the world. The restaurants there are top notch and you can literally walk to Maine or drive a traffic-free 20 minutes to Massachusetts. Brett had renovated his condo just before we moved to Bermuda so it was fun to finally get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

But there were several reasons why we ultimately decided to move out of Portsmouth. Although we were completely fine with the amount of living space, Brett’s condo didn’t have the storage space that we both wanted. I was working as a writer in Amesbury, MA, about a 30 minute drive each way. Brett flew and continues to fly in and out of Bedford, MA. Even with logistics aside, I felt “trapped” in Portsmouth and too far away from the city life that makes my soul come alive. And the independent woman in me (cue the Z-snap) loathed living in a place that was Brett’s - his town, his condo, his friends, etc. It’s hard to not feel like a guest in your own home/town with that set up. That’s not to say that he didn’t do everything he could to make me feel like it was “ours” - because he did and I love him for that. I just happen to be deeply passionate about living in a place I can make my own, that we can make our own.

We started looking for new places early on, initially out of curiosity. Thankfully, Brett’s best friend since forever is a (wonderful) local realtor and was happy to show us options. At first this process stressed me out beyond belief because I was already forced to leave Bermuda and move somewhere that wasn’t my top choice (though, it’s far from my bottom pick), I had never bought a home before and was terrified of the idea of planting roots (regardless of location), and I didn’t know the area well enough to know if I was formulating smart opinions. However, looking back, even as hard as it was, I am glad we did this because it helped me get to know the different towns quickly. As soon as I saw Newburyport, I loved it. (For the Richmonders reading this, imagine Monument Ave + The Fan but with a nautical New England vibe.)

Last March, Brett had dropped me off at an appointment and he went to tour a condo in Newburyport to kill time. When he came back to pick me up, he blurted out, “I found our place!” I told him to call the realtor to see if I can go see it since we were in the area. She didn’t answer. So he called his best friend (our realtor), who connected with the realtor representing the condo. It’s after hours. There were already four offers. So in true New England real estate fashion, we offered well above the asking price (so did the others) but sweetened the pot by offering a move-in date that we knew would appeal to the owners. And we got it. Yes, we put an offer on a house before I had laid eyes on it. I know, I know. Such a classic Dana move. But I trusted that Brett would never take the chance on being wrong with something as big as buying a home.

So we moved into our condo early July. It’s 2/2 and about three times the size of our condo in Portsmouth (which we rented out). We have been doing house projects ever since. So much painting. Pealing paint. Painting paint. Hiring painters to paint. So many coats of paint. Sanding. Patching. Ordering furniture. Sending furniture back. Hanging things on walls. There is a sense of urgency because it’s impossible to do stuff during winter and because living in a place that feels incomplete drives.me.batshit.crazy. We’re THIS close to having the place be presentable enough to have people over.

Although we are in the midst of approximately 12,000 house projects, it feels so good to live here. We have plenty of space, plenty of storage. We both love living in Newburyport. We are two blocks from the water and appreciate how it’s such a focal point in this town. The downtown is smaller than Portsmouth’s, but Newburyport is more open. There are tons of parks, trails, and paths which we take advantage of regularly. We are a five minute drive from the beach, Plum Island. There is a train in town that takes you to North Station in Boston. If we wanted to drive into the city, we can easily do so, too.

I have the space to do the things I love. The space to walk and explore. The space to think and write and paint. For the first time since moving back to the states, I finally feel like I can breathe.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Year 31 - Dana Chirps

below is a glimpse of year 31 

below is a glimpse of year 31 

Another trip around the sun, and another year in the books! Year 31 was surreal. It's funny to look back each year and reflect. Never would I have or could I have predicted the events that occurred. Here are my highlights, in no particular order:

  • Went to a Bruins game at TD Garden. I had seen them play in other rinks, but it was my first time to see them play on their home turf. The atmosphere was awesome.
  • Moved to another country. This was a major bucket list item of mine. I'm not surprised that I moved to another country, but I never would have guessed it was going to be Bermuda! And I never would have anticipated that it would happen when it did.
  • I lived Bermuda. This bullet point could be it's own blog post, but I'll highlight some of the bigger events and things I got to participate in while living there! I can look back on my experience there knowing that I did not sit back and let that experience pass me by. I took full advantage of getting to live in such a spectacular place.
  • Used a pedal-bike as primary mode of transportation. I pedaled all over the eastern side of Bermuda. I hated grocery day, because I was lugging the extra weight of food in my backpack up those crazy hills. But there was something special about pedal-biking home late at night with Brett. With very few cars on the road, hardly any street lights, and the tree frogs singing their hearts out - it felt like we were the only two people on the island. I look back and feel proud to have experienced and adapted to that lifestyle change, even if I don't miss depending on a pedal-bike. 
  • Went to Punta Cana. This was a work trip, but I had time to have some fun. I'm thankful I got to go to another country (on someone else's dime!) and experience it, but I don't have any desire to go back.
  • I learned to drive a scooter, sorta. So motorized scooters, aka "bikes," are the main mode of transportation in Bermuda. I zipped around on various bikes of various sizes, and I'm pleased to say I survived. lol.
  • Attended the Good Friday Festival. This is a big event in Bermuda. And I'm SO glad I went because that was the first day I made friends on the island - and they ended up being some of the most wonderful people I've ever met. (Shout out to Bios peeps and Kickboxing peeps!)
  • Hosted friends and family in Bermuda! I pretty much singlehandedly increased Bermuda tourism with all of my visitors. It was such a treat to have them come visit, and was so much fun showing them around the island!
  • Hosted my parents in Bermuda! They get their own bullet point. It was my dad's very first trip out of the states, and it was a BIG deal. This ended up being one of my favorite weekends, ever, as in, in my whole life. I can't even begin to describe the joy I felt when I watched my parents see Horseshoe Bay for the first time. 
  • Connected with friends who were visiting. Oh my gosh, was this fun! Blast from the past type of reunions went down when my friend Meredith was visiting, and then when my friend Jaime was on the island. Nothing quite like rekindling a childhood friendship.
  • Made the MOST INCREDIBLE FRIENDS while living in Bermuda. I know I've said this like 100 times on this blog, and I'll probably say it 50000 more times, but it's true. The friendships I made on the island were unlike anything else I've ever experienced. I miss them so much, and am so appreciative of how welcoming they were. I don't know if I've ever been so quickly embraced before. 
  • Attended America's Cup. THIS was one of the best times this past year, and we were so lucky to get to experience it! 
  • Saw tall ships!
  • Went to a Cub's game.
  • Went to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit with my mom. 
  • Took a tour of Bermuda from the sky. Such a spectacular way to see the island.
  • Represented the East side while attending Cup Match!
  • Went to Non-Mariners on a catamaran cruise.
  • Saw the glow-worms. (It's a Bermuda thing, and I totally geek out over this!)
  • Took tons of photos with my Nikon. Taking more photos with that camera was a goal of mine, so I'm glad to have accomplished this!
  • Swam in caves. 
  • Heard the tinkling at Seaglass Beach.
  • The last weekend we were in Bermuda. So during the last weekend in Bermuda, Brett and I did enjoyed all our favorite things "one last time." This ended up being one of my favorite times while we lived there because we literally did EVERYTHING over the course of a couple days. Loved every second.
  • Flew private with Brett as the pilot! 
  • Visited Charlottesville with Brett. I lived there for a year, and Brett lived there for 3-4 years. We just missed each other. Although Charlottesville is not where I'd EVER want to live again, it was really fun to go back there with Brett and reminisce and visit places we both liked.
  • Moved back to the states, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I can't quite say this was a "highlight," but it was significant. Portsmouth wasn't the first place on my list, but I'm definitely glad we didn't end up near the last place on my list! Living up here is extremely different than the lifestyle I had in Bermuda and South Florida. But it's getting better, and I think it will continue to do so. But I'll always be a sunshine girl.
  • Wedding dress shopping for Mamie in Georgetown! 
  • Going to a UNH hockey game with my parents. 
  • Having Nana for Christmas. I loved that she decided to spend Christmas at my parent's house in VA. It was so much fun having her, and showing her some of our Christmas traditions.
  • Completed my first round of Whole30!
  • Made my own friends in Portsmouth. This is so important to me. I love and adore Brett's friends, but for the sake of nuturing my independent spirit, I knew I needed to make my own ASAP. I joined an amazing gym (Mission Portsmouth), and completed a challenge in January that essentially involved me taking 40ish classes in 3 weeks. I became tight with a few of the girls who also did this challenge. It feels so good to have girlfriends to chat with and to hang out with.
  • Went to my first Patriots game. It was insanely cold, but what a cool experience. Patriots fans are pretty hysterical, and we sat next to some wildly entertaining ones!
  • Went skiing for the first time! This is the only redeeming thing about winter. Brett took me on a "warmer" day (40 or so degrees), and I started off with a lesson. I had a pretty lame instructor. I had envisioned a 19 year old hottie that uses the word "gnarly" regularly, and ended up with a woman with the personality of a stapler. Luckily, it was only a 60 minute lesson. When it was done, Brett took me up on the chairlift, and I had a BLAST. He was a really good instructor, too. I hope I can get good enough to hold my own on wussy hills soon.

I love doing this post every year, as it lets me reflect on how much can happen in 365 days. I'm excited to see what Year 32 holds, and can't wait to begin that journey tomorrow.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Beach Bunny to Snow Bunny - Dana Chirps

Those of you who follow me on social media already heard this big announcement... Brett and I have moved to downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire! The past couple of months have been quite a whirlwind of events filled with ups, downs, interviews, stress, excitement, and pure chaos! Finally, things are settling down, whoo hoo!

When I moved to Bermuda, I did a FAQ post, that was really popular and helpful. I figured I'd do one for this move, too!

Why did you leave Bermuda!? Leaving Bermuda was bittersweet. What prompted the move was a phenomenal job opportunity for Brett. We always knew that living in Bermuda would be a short term adventure, and estimated that we'd be there 6-18 months. We clocked in just short of a year. We both feel like we maximized our time on that spectacular island, so we left feeling like "we did it." But make no mistake, we have every intention of going back to visit. It's a cheap and short direct flight from Logan which makes it pretty convenient (and realistic) to do so.  

What will you miss the most about Bermuda? I think the things I'll miss the most are the three things that I love the most about Bermuda: the natural beauty, the friendships I made, and the simplicity. Oh, and the grilled octopus

What won't you miss about Bermuda? The cost of damn groceries, that's for sure! Having to pedal bike everywhere - I enjoyed doing it sometimes, but having to depend on it is an exhausting lifestyle... especially when you are going grocery shopping! The anxiety of wondering if the taxi you scheduled is going to show. 

What does Brett do? He's a pilot.

What will you be doing? Since moving to Bermuda, I've been doing (remote) contract marketing work. I have been so fortunate in this respect, as it would have been very difficult (and unlikely) for me to get work in Bermuda since I'm not Bermudian (more on that here). Now that I'm back in the states, I'm applying for full-time marketing positions with companies that excite me. It's sort of a weird time of year for a marketer to get work as most companies are in budget season, and not spending a dime until Q1 of 2018, so I'm aiming to be gainfully employed by the end of February. In the meantime, I'll continue to stay busy contractually. 

You know it's cold there, right? This one makes me roll my eyes. Yes, it's been a while since I've done the whole winter thing... with almost a year in Bermuda, and 4 years in South Florida prior to that. Anywhere that isn't SoFlo is cold (to me). Essentially, any temp under 70, is cold (to me). So the way I look at it, is no matter where we live, it's going to be cold... and at least New England has other cultural aspects that make up for it. 

What are you nervous about? I wouldn't say I'm nervous, but I am extremely ready to work for a company again. I miss the scope of projects that simply can't be done by just myself. I thrive in chaos, and am eager to be in the middle of it again!

Brett grew up in this area. So everything is "his." His town, his condo, his friends, his family (all live in the area), etc. However, some of these things are also advantages. His friends for the most part have been extremely welcoming, and embracing - I am so appreciative for that, too. I look forward to being at a point where I'm invited to things - with or without Brett's attendance. ;) And overall, my independent spirit is still determined to make my own friends, and make this place my own. 

One thing that has been challenging to adapt to is the darkness. Essentially, in South Florida you get an extra hour of light, and what a difference it makes! Thankfully our condo is bright and airy. 

What excites you the most about Portsmouth, New Hampshire? We live in a condo in downtown Portsmouth. Portsmouth is funky, artsy, historic, and has phenomenal restaurants, and shops. We are 15 minutes from the beach, 10 minutes to Kittery (Lululemon outlet, take all my money!!!), 25 minutes to Newburyport, under an hour to Boston, and an hour to Portland... so there's a ton of areas to explore. New places to photograph, experience, and write about!

My mom grew up in Boston, so I also have some family in New England which is really nice! 

The food (particularly, seafood) is some of the best in the country. 

Similar to South Florida, this area seems to be into active lifestyles, and fitness which is something I totally dig!

And although I'm moderately terrified, I can't wait to try skiing! Honestly, I'm more scared about disappointing Brett if I don't like it (it's his favorite thing to do), than I am about actually skiing. But I figure even if I hate skiing, we can always be sure to pick a place that has a bougie spa for me to indulge in instead!

Overall, 2018 is looking like it will be a year filled with celebrations, and new experiences. I'm pretty stoked. 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.