12 Tips To Make That New City Your City

I read recently about a woman who was raised in Houston, and knew that city like the back of her hand.  A job promotion moved her family to Dallas, and with a trusty GPS, she traveled around her new city with no problems.  However, after 2 years, she still didn’t really know Dallas — she was totally dependent on the technology.  One day she stopped at the corner gas station, bought a city map, and put the GPS in the glove box.  Within weeks, she was buzzing around the city, using short-cuts, and finding all kinds of small local shops.  She finally knew her “new” city and felt like she belonged.

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can settle us and give a sense of belonging in a new neighborhood.  Below I’ve listed 12 things that will help build a sturdy foundation and get anyone off to a great start once the moving truck has pulled away.

  1. Put the GPS away.  Use a map and really get to know the area. (Do keep the GPS in glove box…just in case.)
  2. Eat locally.  Visit small restaurants close to your neighborhood.  Get to know the waitresses by name — and tip well.
  3. Shop locally.  As much as possible, shop in your own neighborhood.   Have conversations with others shoppers as well as the store owners.  Chances are they are your neighbors.
  4. Find a church.  Churches offer community.  Churches offer small groups.  Churches offer encouragement.
  5. Volunteer.  Anywhere.   Just get involved.  This takes your mind off yourself, and gives to others in the process.  Remember, you may be going through a hard time, but someone else always has it worse.
  6. Meet your neighbors.  Take a small jar of jam or something tasty and include a card.  In the card express your delight to meet them, and sign your full name and phone number.  And ask for their contact information.  Now with both parties informed, it will be easy to invite each other over for that cook-out.
  7. Find the local library and the Visitors Center (if there is one) and learn all you can about your city.
  8. Don’t compare.  Locals get a bit weary of hearing, ‘but in my old city, we did it this way.’ Embrace the changes, the new city, and move forward.
  9. Go for a walk.  Learn the intimate details of your neighborhood.  You may even run into a few new neighbors.  Who knows?  A new walking buddy?
  10. Join the YMCA or the local gym or Bible Study  — or Weight Watchers.  It doesn’t matter.  Just join something!
  11. Think positive about your new city.  Find new things every day to be grateful for, and don’t dwell on the negatives.  Every city has both.
  12. Give it time.  It may take as long as a year for this new city to feel like home.
And bonus!
     13.  Don’t forget old friends back “home”.  Even though we need to be forward-looking, we don’t want to lose those cherished relationships.  On especially hard days, they can be a source of strength and support.

Relocating is hard.  But the sooner we take the challenge to become pro-active, the sooner this new place will become our place.

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