Adjusting After a Move
Exploring Your New Neighborhood
Don't underestimate how im-portant the little things are to making you feel at home. The sooner your day-to-day life is in order, the sooner you will feel settled.
When people move to a new location, they often don't spend time exploring stores they use frequently for their errands. They often just use the stores that are closest to their house. For instance, they will go to the supermarket nearby and assume that is where they will shop. They will develop their photos at the local drug store without comparing quality.
You need to feel secure in your day-to-day life before you can feel settled in a new place. It's so important to trust your hair stylist, as well as your grocery store, and know the best place to have your photos developed. It might seem unimportant or a waste of time to check out several supermarkets or have your photos developed at different places. But it's very important and a good use of time. In fact, it's a critical step to helping you feel at home. Think about how much time you devote to your errands. Use the following list to decide what is important to you:
Grocery-shopping: What is important to you in a grocery store? The produce? The selection of nonfood items? The availability of money-saving large sizes? Check out several grocery stores to see which one best suits your needs. Don't just go to the one closest to your house and assume you'll feel at home there.
Photo developing: There are many different places to have your photos processed, from the corner drug store to the mall to an expert photo lab. Consider issues like convenience as well as your particular needs when it comes to having your photographs developed. How choosy are you about your prints? Do you usually get two for one prints? Is one-hour developing the most important consideration, or is the lowest price key for you?
Haircut: This is a tricky one. The person who cuts your hair is a very important person in your life. It's important to like him or her and like the way he or she cuts your hair. Ask your neighbors, co-workers, or even a stranger in the line at the video store (whose hair style you admire) where they get their hair cut and what they like about their stylist. If you don't have anyone to ask yet, visit several shops and chat with some stylists. You can find out if they listen to what you want and are open to new clients.
Clothes shopping: If you moved to a city with the same department stores as where you used to live, then you have a good place to start. Otherwise, spend some time browsing the local mall. Go when you don't need to buy anything in particular so you won't get frustrated. Evaluate the store's styles, brands, and prices. Figure out where you feel the most comfortable. Then, when you need something, go right to that store.
Dry cleaner's: Do you do a lot of dry cleaning or just the occasional sport coat? Is a very fast turnaround time important to you? What about extended hours? Do you often need mending or altering done? Again, you can start by asking your neighbors their preferences. It gives you something to talk about, and they are usually happy to help out. The first time you use a place, only give them one or two items. If you are not happy with their work, you can go elsewhere.
Parks: If you have kids, it's critical to have a few parks that you really enjoy going to. It's a great way to meet people, and it will help your children feel at home. Make it a family adventure. Pack a picnic lunch, bring your favorite old blanket, and make an afternoon out of it. Try out several different parks until you find one that you and your children really enjoy.
Specialty items: Did you have a favorite bakery where you used to live? Or a boutique where you could buy cosmetics? Or a sporting-goods store? Again, this is a time to explore. Look through the phone book; then take an afternoon and check out several different places. It's fun to browse when you don't need to buy anything in particular.
The Spice Rack
Exploring new restaurants together can be fun. Get dressed up when you go out and really make it feel like a date!
Sit back and take a minute to think about what activities you most enjoyed where you used to live. Did you enjoy trying different restaurants, playing golf, or listening to live music in coffeehouses? Dive right in and do those same things immediately!
Now think about where the two of you received most of your social support. Did you mostly spend time with friends from work or people in your church, temple, or synagogue? Did you have a group of friends to go bowling with or have a weekly poker game? After you identify two or three activities that were important to you, try to replicate them as quickly as possible.
Make an effort to acquaint yourself with a new person from work each day. If you can't find a bowling team to join, start one! If you like to read books, join a book club. If you were a member of a church or religious organization before, get involved! It's very simple. You will meet people you have things in common with if you put yourself in the right situation. Don't be shy. Your effort will really pay off to help you settle in as quickly as possible.
More on: Marriage and Divorce
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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