Around June 2019, I moved in with my boyfriend (now fiance). He owned a small two-bedroom, 1 ½ bathroom house in a small city near Chicago. Fast forward to June 2020: because of the pandemic, he was permanently laid off from job and I was furloughed. The last thing we were expecting was to have to move to a new state during a global pandemic. I wrote a piece about my moving experience for Visit Oshkosh, a local tourism group, however, I wanted to go into more detail about my move. Read about my experience moving to the state of Wisconsin during a global pandemic.
How it Started
When my boyfriend was laid off, he posted on Facebook asking for help looking for a new job. His job is niche-specific; it’s one of those jobs where you can’t really do anywhere since not every company requires this skill set or position. Fortunately, his aunt had some connections at Mercury Marine, an outboard motor supply company. After a couple of interviews, he received an offer to start at the end of June. The problem was that Mercury was about 120 miles and located in the state of Wisconsin, which meant we would need to move. I was talking with my supervisor about returning to work at the same company after furlough in August. Even though I was moving away, they agreed to let me keep working for them from Wisconsin.
Finding a Place to Live
Our highest priority was finding a new place to live. While my boyfriend owned the house we lived in, we didn’t have the time to buy something, so we opted to find a place to rent for a year, just to get settled in the area until we had more time to find a house. Let me tell you, it’s hard to find a place to rent in a town you don’t actually live in. After searching on Google and contacting some landlords, we found an apartment complex that was accepting new tenants. We also hired a moving company to help us move everything from Illinois to Wisconsin. However, we had to travel to Illinois every weekend to prep our house to be ready to sell to a new owner. We were able to sell our house in November 2020 and made a profit from it.
Becoming Wisconsin Residents
I was used to switching everything over from a different state when I moved to Illinois back in 2017. We had to get new drivers licenses and switch our license plates to Wisconsin. Each of us had to find a new doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. I’m still in the process of finding a veterinarian for my two cats. A few months ago, we also switched our bank accounts to a local credit union. It’s a time consuming process to switch everything over. In a few months, we’ll have to start the process all over again when we move from our apartment.
Each state has different guidelines when it comes to preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. When we lived in Illinois, they were one of the few states that had a step-by-step program for combating the virus: always wearing a mask inside, no large public gathering indoors, outdoor seating for events had to be spread out, etc. Around the time we were moving to Wisconsin, the state of Wisconsin was choosing to do was “just a recommendation” rather than mandatory. As of March 2021, the state-wide restrictions of wearing a mask have been lifted, HOWEVER, each city and business has decided to keep restrictions for masks and social distancing.
How it’s Going
As I’m writing this, we’ve lived in Wisconsin for about 9 months. My fiance proposed back in December. Wedding planning is currently on hold until a) the pandemic is over and b) we buy a house (more on that below). I’ve been writing for some great organizations (Visit Oshkosh and Nosh Fox Valley) in addition to returning to my 9-5 job. Now that we’re established in Wisconsin, our next challenge has been trying to buy a house. It’s a great market for sellers, but not for buyers. We’ve put in four offers so far, and no luck. Hopefully, the market evens out before the time comes we need to renew our apartment lease so we can move into a place we can truly call “home.” Send us thoughts/prayers/good vibes for finding a home soon!