Relocating Lessons

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Relocating for a new job can be exciting, exhausting, stressful, and fun. If your move is anything like mine, it’s been a whirlwind: in a matter of weeks, you’ve scoped out all the best neighborhoods, signed on the perfect house, done all of the packing and unpacking, and made about 10 trips to your new local Target (I could have sworn I bought high efficiency detergent for my new washer!). You’ve made those last-minute shopping trips, done those little decorating projects, and had your first day at work. But settling in after a move takes more than a few meticulously arranged bookshelves.

Trust me, I understand – it can be tempting to spend all of your time holed away in your fabulous new home watching Netflix – especially if you don’t know anyone or where anything is. But, to keep those moving blues away, it’s important to get out and explore your new community! If you’re proactive, you’ll volunteer, join a club, church, or gym, take a class, throw a house-warming party, or head to the park. But there are also smaller ways you can adjust to your new locale:

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood. \Not only is it nice to familiarize yourself with the houses around the block, but you might discover some hidden gems! Just today, I found out that my little subdivision has forested access to the MKT Trail – who knew?!

  • Check out the local news. Tune your radio to Fox News or NPR on the way to work, read the newspaper while drinking your morning coffee, or follow local publishers on Facebook. Knowing more about what’s going on in your city makes it feel more like YOUR city!

  • Go to the library. Even if reading isn’t your favorite pastime, libraries have all kinds of activities and resources for new residents. Don’t just check out some books – check out the local bulletin boards, too! It’s chock-full of ads for trivia nights, upcoming performances, and local mom & pop shopping discounts!

  • Strike up a conversation – with your morning-time barista, the fella who helps bag your groceries, the person who waits on your table. These people are locals –– they know the best places to eat, drink, and hang out. Plus, they’ll brighten up your day! In a 2014 study published in "Social Psychological and Personality Science," researchers Gillian Sandstrom and Elizabeth Dunn of The University of British Columbia found that transforming a potentially impersonal exchange (such as buying a cup of coffee) into a genuine social interaction boosts your mood. That’s science, folks.

I’ve been here in Columbia, MO for a week now. And let me tell you, there has been plenty of Netflix. But there’s also been NPR, the Daniel Boone Regional Library book sale, some trail traipsing, and a sporadic conversation with the gents setting up my WiFi. And I can honestly say, COMO is starting to feel like home.