I don’t know about you, but in our time with the Coast Guard we have moved quite a few times. Each move took us to a new town and a new state. It is a common misconception that because military families move so much, they don’t need time to settle in to a new place. Many people think that we can arrive in our new town and it is automatically like home. However, that is not the case. Just like anyone else who moves to a new area, we need the time to settle in, I have generally found that this can take six months to a year.
We have officially been in our new town for a year and I still feel in many ways we are still settling in. For me settling into our house and turning that into our home is the easy part. I can turn a new house into a home in a month, but, settling into a new area is much harder. I get lost easily and have been lost in every area we have been stationed in! Simply getting used to where the basic necessities are in a new town can be difficult. Luckily for us, those basics are all very near our house.
Finding our basic necessities is always the first step and doesn’t usually take much time. I mean it might be an issue if we couldn’t find the local grocery store quickly! The main struggle for us seems to be finding other things the area has to offer, like local restaurants, activities and attractions. After a year we still have those moments when people are talking about something fun and we’re surprised that it’s just a short drive up the road!
Now, I will admit I’m not great about exploring the hidden gems of an area right away myself, but, I do have a few pointers that may make it easier for the rest of you. First, check out your local library. Finding the library can be a lifesaver. They usually have local information and will be guaranteed to have some sort of children’s program, which is a great way to introduce your children to new people. Second, don’t be afraid to get lost. Hop in the car, put away the map and turn off your GPS; simply drive. Sometimes getting lost can be the best way to find those hidden gems your area has to offer. The last thing I can tell you is, use social media. It is rare that towns, attractions and even businesses are not on Facebook, or Twitter or both. Search them out and they will direct you to events happening right there in your new home.
As I said, really settling into a new place is hard and it can take time; most of the time we never really know how long we have in any given place. This can make it even harder for it to feel like home. However, you shouldn’t let it deter you from discovering everything your area has to offer!