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2020 Plan Vs. Reality

Moving to DSM During the Pandemic

January 5, 2021

“Plan vs. Reality” is my slogan for 2020, and I’m sure many other Iowans can relate. My “plan” was to enjoy my last summer as a Chicagoan and take advantage of all the summer concerts, street festivals and restaurant openings before I made the move back to Greater Des Moines (DSM) around the holidays after being away for more than a decade. The “reality” was an international pandemic and a completely new way of life full of uncertainty, isolation and endless questions.

I spent the bulk of quarantine with my boyfriend and family in DSM. While the majority of our time was spent working from home, making sourdough and watching “Tiger King” like the rest of our peers, we also began casually looking at real estate with a realtor who knew us best — my mother! The search process was eye opening. A 2,000-square-foot home in DSM cost the same as a one-bedroom condo in Chicago. What a steal! After a few failed inspections and multiple cancelled offers, we took a chance on a home in the same Waterbury neighborhood in which I grew up. The call that changed everything began with: “Kelly, you guys got that house!”

Moving into Our DSM Home

The wheels were officially set into motion. Inspection? Check. Closing date? Check. I was finally able to get excited about returning to DSM. By agreeing to longer closing terms, we spent the summer exploring as much of DSM as we could — so much has changed since I last called this city home in 2009!

This summer, I fell back in love with DSM. It was so amazing to be outdoors and take advantage of the bike trails or even walking in the neighborhood without being worried that I’d have to cross the street or wear my mask constantly like my friends were complaining about in Chicago. I was able to get some fresh air and stretch my legs safely!

On Zoom calls with my friends, they all commented on how jealous they were of the quiet I was experiencing. I could actually take work calls outside without being worried of constant sirens or honking horns disrupting my business calls. Despite the “quiet,” we were finding plenty of new restaurants to order from and areas to explore — Rita’s Cantina and Lua Brewery to name a few new local favorites.

In August, I packed up my one-bedroom apartment in Old Town Chicago and drove a U-Haul to DSM. We’ve spent the last three months balancing new homeowner responsibilities and working remotely. There have been plenty of long days filled with back-to-back Zoom meetings and juggling contractors for house projects, but I couldn’t be happier. We’re finally building a home!

As we look to close out what has undeniably been a year we’ll never forget, I’m thankful that all of this uncertainty and unknown has led me back to DSM. This friendly community has welcomed me back with open arms, and I’m looking forward to the holidays full of familiar traditions (Christmas Eve luminaries being my personal favorite) and the promise of new memories to be made. Cheers to 2021 and new possibilities in this wonderful city that I can officially call “home” once again.

Named the #5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and a Top 10 Best Place for Business and Careers, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a city where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods and shopping to parks and local attractions. Or, kick start your career by checking out the DSM USA Career Center. It has over 10,000 jobs listed!

Kelly Mackay

Kelly Mackay is the team lead for News America Marketing.