Two years ago, in the early hours of the morning, I drove into Idaho, and found myself in front of our new temporary home. What a way to do Halloween right? My heart was heavy.. and excited. I was so sad to have left my people back in Washington. But I was also so excited for our life here in the Treasure Valley area. I knew it was what we needed, and it was the right thing. Leaving a place that feels like home, a home I loved, and everyone made it hard.
I remember leaving our home in Washington with tears streaming down my cheeks. I think I cried for almost a solid hour as I drove. I wondered how it was going to be.. what the house that Randy had rented really looked like. I was worried our house wouldn’t sell.. or that it would take forever. (it did.. seven months.) I wondered how my kids would do.. moving in Middle School can be BRUTAL. And I wondered about friends.. gym.. my life. But life happens, and we do things that are hard.. and exciting.
I have moved to new areas several times.. and I finally decided to make a list of how to settle in to a new place.. quick-ish. This can be for a neighborhood, or a new city.
- I love to take a treat to my neighbors to get to know them, and introduce our family. I prefer to buy a fresh pineapple, (it is the gift of hospitality) and show up with a smile and introduce our family. I want them to know we are ready to be a part of the neighborhood. And most people love to get a fresh pineapple! When we showed up on Halloween I also took Ainslee trick-or-treating and introduced us as we went, it worked perfectly! And I made sure we had candy ready and lights on so we could participate.
- Find a church you can go to. When we moved to Indianapolis, years ago, we were invited to Church by EVERYONE. A waiter, people from school, neighbors, and mom’s at the local gym. Churches have a great sense of community, and they add a place for you.
- Get yourself, and your kids involved. Find the activities you were doing before you moved, and get them started right away. For me, that was finding music lessons for my kids, and a gym for me. It gave me my routine. And have your kids signed up for school before you arrive, it helps them to jump in and meet friends!
- Put yourself out there. I know it can be so hard. But as you meet people, exchange contact information, and be willing to take the first step to invite. Chances are they are interested, but life is happening, and they need you as much as you need them. Invite them to lunch, to go hike, shop, or any adventure.. even Costco with your kids. And if you are invited.. go!
- Throw a party, and invite everyone you have been meeting, particularly people who have kids, your kids ages. We there a pie night about two weeks after moving in. We love to have people over for pie before Thanksgiving, and figured we better keep doing it. And people actually came. It was such a great way to meet people, and low key.
- Be you. You will attract the people you want to be friends with.. and that will build you up.
- Unpack your house, and get it like home. I try to be mostly unpacked within the first week. Pictures are not always hung, but most boxes are gone, and we don’t feel like we just moved in.
It takes time.. I think after about 4-6 months I feel pretty settled. Moving with teenagers was definitely harder than moving with littles. I am so grateful for the community I have moved into. For the warm friendships, and for the people who have welcomed us, with wide open arms. I have found as we have moved around that often my neighbors become some of my closest friends. I love living with a sense of community. In our married life we have moved a lot.. In fact this is the 8th home we have owned in 18 years of marriage. We are always so grateful for people welcoming us into their lives.