I inadvertently took a brief blogging hiatus as I prepared for this move. Whoopsy doopsy. Sorry about that. I’ve never lived anywhere other than Syracuse, so getting prepared to go and then getting settled took some time. But I’m officially a resident of Charlotte now! Since I’ve never moved before, the only experiences I really had to compare it to was going to camp, heading abroad to London, and doing an internship outside of New York City. In all of those instances, I cried when I arrived and cried when I had to leave. So far, the adjustment period for this move has been going pretty smoothly. I won’t lie, I’ve had a few moments where I just have to let it out and cry, but I kind of figure that’s to be expected. I’ve never lived away from my family, and now Chris and I are doing long distance.
While there are some challenging parts of living in an entirely new city (having to use my nav system for EVERYTHING, having to find new doctors, trying to make friends, etc.) there are also tons of positives, including plenty of things to do and MUCH better weather.
While I’m certainly no relocation expert yet, here are a few things I’ve done to make my adjustment period easier. If you’re about to move or have just moved, they might be helpful:
- Unpack as much as possible as quickly as you can: Moving is hectic, to say the least. I’ve been spending my evenings trying to get furniture and getting my room in order. But I found that as soon as I started to unpack and got things organized, my new space felt much more like home. Instead of climbing over clothes and other random crap to get to my bed, I’m able to settle in and chill out once the day is done.
- Bring some familiar items: I basically took no furniture with me, so I’m starting over again on that front, but having a few key items with you in a new place helps to signal to your brain that this is your home now (even if it still looks relatively unfamiliar). I brought a bunch of pictures, a lamp I love, and my favorite blanket. To me, these things make the place feel familiar, even if everything else is totally new.
- Plan stuff to do (but not too much): When you’re adjusting to someplace new, you want to give yourself time to relax and take it all in. At the same time, leaving all of your nights and weekends totally open is a mistake. You have plenty of time to feel unsettled and nervous about the new living situation. Even if you don’t know anyone yet, make a plan to go check out the local coffee shop or head to Target. Having some task to accomplish keeps your mind busy and keeps you focused.
- Fill up your fridge: Okay, I know this one sounds weird, but just trust. Moving throws off your routine enough as is, you don’t want to have to start relying on fast food to get by as you try to get settled. If there are foods you love and meals that you eat every day, get to the grocery store and stock up. You’ll still have to allow yourself time to adjust to a new place, but at least you’re eating well and getting back into a routine slowly but surely.
- Make connections: When you move someplace new, you can’t be afraid to work every connection you have. Get set up on blind friend dates, e-mail distant relatives, nothing is weird or off limits. I’ve connected with friends of friends or people I knew in high school, and it’s helped to make me feel proactive about the adjustment. Instead of sitting in my room waiting for life to feel normal, I’m working to build that normal life for myself. Most people are more than happy to connect, so start asking your friends and family members if they know anyone in your city that you should meet.
Lastly, just give it time. I’ve only been here a few days, and know that it’ll take a lot longer to get settled. I’ve also realized that’s perfectly normal. When I have a bout of homesickness or start to get stressed about the unfamiliarity of it all, I remember that it’s totally fine to be a little overwhelmed. There’s no deadline about how long it should take you to get adjusted. It varies from person to person. There’s nothing wrong with freaking out, feeling nervous, or crying, as long as you get it together and stay positive eventually. After awhile, the things that seemed most unfamiliar will feel like home.