You might remember a blog several months ago about how not to move, including many of the careless mistakes I made when packing to move 850 miles from where we lived. The injuries were not fun. Well, the second part of the story is just as important.
When moving to a new place of residence, especially if you’re moving from one small community to another, keep in mind that some things never change. Simply put, you don’t complain if you find a few dandelions in your new yard. (We didn’t find a single one.)
- Attitude is everything. When meeting new people, keep an open mind and never speak a harsh word about the way things are done in your new community to anyone in that community. I realize this should be simple logic, but you’d be surprised how many newcomers I saw move to our former community who never had a good word to say about the shopping, the churches, the utilities. Before they knew it, all their claims came true because they had isolated themselves from any prospective friends. When we moved here, I was already in love with the beauty of the area. I believe people here are naturally friendly, but it didn’t hurt when I expressed my love for the place. All I have to do is ask someone for advice and they will not only give it to me, they will draw a map for me to get to the place I need to be.
- Family comes first. In a small town, especially like the one we moved to a few months ago, children don’t always move far away for work because they love their hometown. I can see why. Sisters and brothers and cousins and mothers and fathers make up the fabric of the town–everyone literally does know everyone else, and sometimes they’ve known them for fifty years or more. This comes in very handy when you need someone to help you with something around the house, or to mow the yard, etc. Our neighbor mowed our yard for us for free, just to help us out when we first arrived. My husband asked his nurse who was the best person to hook up our washer and dryer. She knew, even though she lives over 20 miles away. We called him, he came, and he’s in such demand that I now know to put myself on a waiting list. I don’t complain, because not only is he the best, but his wife is the sister of the former owner of our new house. He knows his stuff.
- Be friendly with close neighbors. I’ve found that our neighbors here in this country setting outside of town are kind and good-hearted, and two sisters live across the road from each other, while the son of the former owner of this house lives next to us. Yep, that’s the way small towns operate, and the “vibe” I get here is a good one. Even if it weren’t, I wouldn’t go around complaining about the weather or the hard water. Fact is, I love the weather, and we can work around the hard water. What matters is having a friendly place to live. Trite but true, you make friends by being friendly.
- Try not to tick off the natives. Yes, I know, it’s almost a repeat of #3, and maybe even #2 and #1, but I know a lot of people who would have welcomed this reminder. If someone is sharp with you and offends you–granted, a rarity here–don’t complain about it. Let it ride. Because in most cases, that person will be related to the very person you complain to. Not a good way to introduce yourself, and word will spread.
- Take part in community gatherings. Mel and I are planning to attend our first donkey basketball game next Monday night. We attended two Christmas parties in December, and though both of us are naturally shy, we pushed ourselves to make acquaintances. When they see you out and about–and everyone knew we were coming before we got here–they know you are interested in being a part of the community. The people at the town’s only grocery store know where my car is when they carry out my groceries–yes, they do THAT here, too. No wonder I’m in love with the place.
- Don’t expect your new house to work the exact same way your old one did. We lived in our former house for twenty years, and were accustomed to its foibles–every house has them. I’m presently waiting for our heating/air/plumber to show up to fix the heating system I probably broke because it is a radiant type heater and I’ve never had one of those before. So I’ve been working around the house with space heaters wearing as many warm clothes as I can get on. The other night, in the middle of the night, I made the mistake of running hot water into the nearest sink to get some moisture in the air, but I was wearing my earplugs, was half asleep, and didn’t hear when water began to spill over the top. The release duct in the sink was apparently plugged (most likely because of the hard water). I used every towel in the house to mop up the mess, but it wasn’t until the next morning that I found water dripping from the overhead light globe beneath the bathroom into the entryway, and the vinyl paint dripping and bubbling. Big point here–read all the directions about the appliances in your house, and have a talk with the former owners, if possible. Learn all you can about the house before you break it like I did.
I realize I’ve just given you some common sense suggestions, but I could have used a reminder or two before I broke the heating system and flooded the house. Now it’s time for me to start learning how to make friends in this new place. From experience, I know it will probably take 20 years to be considered part of the community, but you have to start somewhere. Internet makes it too easy to become a hermit. Fear of saying or doing the wrong thing in a new environment can turn natural shyness into near neurosis. But that’s for a later date.