I recently started a new part-time teaching job that has perfectly fit into my creative lifestyle, but It’s caused me to be a little remiss at adding to the blog. I’m catching up now, and thought it would be a good time to give an update about how the transition to a new town has gone.
It’s been an interesting transition; in a lot of ways I feel like we’ve been here a lot longer than three and a half months. We feel so settled. But I also think I haven’t emotionally processed everything about the transition or even fully wrapped my head around the fact that we’re out west after six years in the east. In hopes of sharing a little wisdom I gleaned along the way, here are 6 things I learned from moving cross country.
1. Give yourself time to learn the little things – Walmarts are the same everywhere, right? Um, no! When we first got here, we made one trip (or rather, a million trips) to Walmart to stock up on all the essentials. But I didn’t give myself the time or grace to learn new routines in something as simple as a new store. If I had it to do over, I’d build in time to walk down the aisles at a snail’s pace and crisscross the store multiple times to find what I’m looking for. Same thing with figuring out which UPS/FedEx/Post office is best to ship from (and where they’re all located), where the farmers markets are and if they’re any good, and where the local parks are. Something about our gps is out of whack in this new town and I couldn’t seem to find anything the first couple of weeks we were here, causing fits of frustration and confusion. But if I had just given myself the time and patience to have a learning curve, I would have done myself a huge favor.
2. Create a comfortable home base within the first few weeks – or within a few days, in our case. This is where I got it right. I hate living out of boxes, digging for silverware underneath piles of sheets, having a chaotic environment, and I had this apartment unpacked and curtains hung within the first few weeks. So necessary for this soul that craves order! The sooner we unpacked and settled in, the sooner we were able to relax in at least one of many new environments. I’m not saying all the pictures have to be hung exactly where you want them or the color schemes have to match, but having a place for the basics makes a world of difference.
3. Find a church/gym/club – We had a built-in connection when we moved here (in fact, it was a main factor in moving here) in that we are part of a church plant started by our friends from North Carolina. It has made a huge difference in how connected we’ve felt and helping us be part of an “inner circle” of sorts. Even if you don’t know many (or any) people in a new location, seek out churches, gyms, or other clubs to meet people and get connected.
4. Let go of expectations – Before we moved out here, I subconsciously anticipated finding the Wyoming equivalent of everything I had come to love in North Carolina. I figured small towns all over the country are composed of all the same components. I had been a part of a wonderful gym with great instructors, tons of classes, and very reasonable price, and there was just nothing to be found here quite like it. Same thing with the printer I used for my art business. And the school I loved so much. Not to mention the friendships I had formed. But God has given me each of those things back, they just look a little different than I had expected. Expectations breed disappointment, so better to let go and rest in what God has in store.
5. Create new routines – As a creature of habit, I shy away from mixing up my routines too much, but there have been some pretty great new routines that have become a part of my life here. I love that the streets here are wide and flat enough to bike on (you’ll understand how amazing this is when you move from the narrow precarious roads of the Appalachians) and there are mountain bike trails we rode on almost every evening during the summer. I’m also part of our church’s worship team here, which has been a fun opportunity to practice my rusty musical skills with a great group of people. My art business has brought with it some new routines, as has my school job. And it’s all been so different, but so good.
6. Give yourself time to grieve the old, but keep an eye out for God’s grace in the new – I don’t think I connected the dots that some of unexpected tears I had after we moved that I thought were related to minor frustrations may actually have been part of the stresses of transition and leaving behind a life I loved. But more than anything, God has been gracious and brought me to such a place of peace. He has given me little graces along the way that I never would have expected!