Don’t Be an Outsider: 6 Tips on How to Make your New Neighborhood Feel Like Home


You did it!  You bought a new house in a new town, maybe even a new country!  Congratulations! We know that isn’t easy or stress-less.  We also know that you know how to set up your house to make it feel more like a home. The beds are made, sort of. The essentials – like the coffee pot – are on the kitchen counter. You still have boxes that you will get to in time. It is a slow and steady project that will eventually make your new house feel like it is yours. But what about the other things you need to really make your new neighborhood feel like home – those intangible things, moments, or people that make every day a little happier than the last? Well, for that, we can help! Here are some tips to get you settled into your neighborhood and get your new neighborhood settled in you, so to speak.

Be a tourist without leaving. No doubt you researched your new town when you were house shopping. But, it was probably more precursory than in-depth. That is where you need to go now, deeper. Look at your new area through the eyes of a tourist.  Where is the grocery store, post office, police station, library, schools, pharmacy, museums, theatres, and coffee shop? Take a tour and soak in the sights.

Meet people. Reach out to your neighbors. We can’t stress this enough. These folks are the ones you may depend on.  Knowing them helps you feel safer and part of the web of your new community. They know the schools, the garbage men, where to get the best food and places to avoid! People are busy, so try to get outside, take a walk and see if you find anyone outside who you can meet. If you live in a busy city, town or development, make it a goal to shake one new hand a day. Pretty soon you will know all your neighbors. Once you know one, meet more by throwing a small get together and have them bring something. Keep is small, casual and relaxed and enjoy making new friends!

But wait, HOW do you speak to them? Well, if you are lucky enough to live in a new country where most people speak a language foreign to you, you are in the best position to learn and your neighbors are the best folks who can help you practice the native language and guide you in the right direction. Whether you know a few words or must research greetings online before venturing out to speak to another human being, do it! Don’t be shy. Being surrounded by a new language is the best way to feel more at home in your new home!

Also, if your company offers language training, don’t hesitate to attend classes consistently. Language lessons make all the difference and get you settled faster as well. Just be patient and hang in there! It gets easier, we promise.

Next, find more people If you have children, they come in handy in a move. They force you to reach out and meet people. You must get them settled in their new school(s). So, while you are at it (and if you feel like it), find out about joining the school’s parent-teacher association or sign your children up for their favorite school activities, groups, clubs or sport teams. This will help your children in their quest to find new friends and help them take their minds off missing their old ones. You may even make a few friends of your own.

If you have met your neighbors but want to mingle with people who have the same interests as you, head to your nearest computer and peruse the many social media sites that enable you to connect with people in your new town. Find your town’s page on Facebook.com.  Use Meetup.com  to join groups ranging from cooking clubs to language clubs. Use InstaMeet.com, a site created by Instagrammers who get together in real life to take pictures and videos.  Or try Nextdoor.com , a site that describes itself as a place you can find nearly everything from “a last-minute babysitter, learning about an upcoming block party, or hearing about a rash of car break-ins.”

And if the computer sites don’t work, tap into what you love. Perhaps you want to volunteer, join a club or a gym. Take come classes on any subject.  Sit on your porch or balcony or walk the dog more often. You are bound to find more people.

Find the normal When life is disrupted by a move, daily schedules are important. This is good for kids and adults alike. So, stick to regular bedtimes and mealtimes. Keep exercising at the same time as well. If you usually wake early to enjoy a cup of coffee, keep doing that. Find the normal to balance out the unknown and messy.

Give it time Feeling comfortable in your new space takes time— months for the little things and years for deep friendships. Find the patience as you learn about your new community, neighbors, and new language. And before you know it, you will have a new normal and be feeling a lot more at home.

By Ilona Knudson

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