from bikini to parka: we’re officially moving to…


In less than three months we’ll be leaving gorgeous Kailua, Hawaii and heading east to New York state’s second-largest city.  Well, technically we’ll be moving to the ‘burbs of Buffalo, a smaller town in Western New York, like Fredonia or Dunkirk.

the duggans in fabulous hawaii, we fist pump for hawaii!

Matthew, my hubs, is getting out of the USMC in September (it’s his EAS, his contract is up and he’s not reenlisting).  So we’ll be leaving this beauitful tropical island and trading in my bikini for a parka as we head to the great white north.  Matthew’s wardrobe probably won’t change much, he grew up in New York (Long Island) and he’s pretty into the whole cooler temp thing.

Why WNY?  I have family there!  With tons of family support, our transition will be much easier to manage than just venturing out on our own.  The good folks in my bloodline are being so generous as to hook us up with a place to stay, temporary transportation options, help securing jobs, and above all else: emotional support during a huge change for us!  I’m so lucky to be loved by the people I’m related to, right?

me and my cousin nick, who lives in wny and we'll be staying with! this pic is from a trip to wny in 2008

here i am, visiting my cousin's old house in silver creek, ny. i do okay in winter when i VISIT. we'll see how living goes!

I know, I know… some people may dare say that WNY is far from glamorous.  And some may point out that the economy in that neck of the woods is considered less than savory right now.  But, with a little nepotism on our side and the specific types of work we’re seeking: things are actually looking great for the Duggans.

According to – Buffalo, NY is in the top 25 of best cities in the US for nursing jobs, coming in at #17 (; ironically Honolulu, the city I haven’t been able to find a job in, is listed as #10 on this list. Ha!  Seventeen is literally my lucky number (we even got married on the 17th because of such) so I’ll take it.   Last year Buffalo’s numbers looked even better… but unemployment in the area is up in general, making all the stats drop down a bit.

Regardless of what the statisticians have to say: after some quick poking around, talking to fam and the like, I think I should be able to find work once we get there.  I’m in the process of transferring my license to NY state already.

As far as Matthew goes, looks like my cousin should be able to help him get some pretty good work too.  I won’t go into crazy details, but there are tentative plans and hopes going on.  The concept feels good and seems very bright.

Cost of living there is about as opposite as it can get for us.   We’d love to stay in Hawaii for a million reasons: friends, weather, outdoor activities, and scenery just being the top few.   But without the military, we’re not sure how that could/would work on a financial level.  Clearly millions of people make it happen every day, so it’s obviously possible.  But the lifestyle change would be tough for us.  It’s very very expensive to live out here; without commissary access, military housing, an income, healthcare, etc, it feels really daunting and would be a huge lifestyle change for us.   And well, it’s also been hard being so far away from family.  The idea of living close to loved ones is such a comforting one.  And I’m ready to work, I’m chomping at the bit!  My other nursing friends will testify that the job market here is a tough one.

i'm a cute nurse... i need a J-O-B!

Money talk is boring.  Yawn.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, the good stuff: winter clothes!

I’m wicked excited to flex my winter wardrobe.  My layering game is going to be off the chain.   Hats, scarves, sweaters, jackets, coats… oh my, I’m practically tittering at the notion.

scarves and stuff, yeah!

i need about shifty-five of these

And SEASONS! *gasp*  I’ve never had seasons.  I’ve worn shorts on Christmas my whole life.  I’ve gone from bikini climate to bikini climate.  Which means a couple things:

  • winter is this fascinating idea to me, something that happens in Home Alone and the Mighty Ducks trilogy.  I can’t believe I get it for reals!
  • whilst exciting – is also TERRIFYING.  I feel like I’m going to freeze into a popsicle and never see a summer day again in my life. waaaah.
Now, to my credit, when visiting in cold weather and snowy situations I’ve done fine and enjoyed myself.  I love me some skiing.  And sliding down a snowy hill on my ass a la sledding.  That sure is fun!
I just know that living through it has to be a super different thing altogether.  A thing I’m ready and willing to try out though. I need to learn how to shovel and wtf to do when my car has ice and stuff on it.  And there’s something about snowchains or something for your car, right? I have to learn all that stuff.  And… it’s like a trial, I’m kinda pumped to test my heartiness, ya know?  See if I can hack it or what.

i look pretty BA, right? i can do winter!

We’re already pumped thinking about the outdoorsy options there.  Getting into some winter sports, trying out crazy stuff like ice fishing (once Lake Erie freezes over, it’s on!).   My family is all into hunting and we’ll be able to eat truly organic meat!  (Some time I’ll have to make a blog on my views about hunting being far preferred to factory farming in regards to meat consumption, ya know? It’s way better for the animals, for us, all around).

So that’s the deal.
Hawaii —->  Buffalo

i heart hawaii

buffalo in the winter

Wish us luck!!

8 responses

  1. Much luck and very best wishes on your new life adventure! That’s what life is all about……exploring NEW places and things TOGETHER! Thrilled for you! xoxo…..pamela allen (jamie’s mom)

    • thank you so much, we’re super excited too! and now you have a reason to come to buffalo and visit. and well, it’s cheaper to fly to florida from new york, so i think we’ll be home more too =)


  2. There’s really nothing like a good 180 degree change. I feel like it always seems to brighten the senses and lets you think about the truly important stuff. Like layers! Kidding, like you and Matthews life together which has been kind of on perpetual hold and your future that you’ve worked so hard for. I’m really excited for you and it makes me itch a little for some change in my life. Hmmmmm. Like a roadtrip to Buffalo maybe? LOL

    • jenny yes, come visit!!! that would be fun. you can be my winter tutor, right? we are so glad to finally get to just be us and actually start a little life, plant some roots, that whole thing. thanks for your excitement, it’s such a fun time right now!

  3. I’m happy things are looking good for you guys!

    Just my $.02 re: driving, chains, etc.: just get a set of snow tires (preferably studded if you can swing it) and swap them onto your car for the winter months.

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