Originally published – July 29, 2013
About a year ago, our family packed up and moved to the Windy City. All we had really ever known was life in Oklahoma, mostly Oklahoma City, a little Tulsa Time and some smaller towns. As you grow up in Oklahoma, you are instilled with this sense that Oklahoma is the best place to live. People are friendly, there’s a sense of community, there are churches on every corner and religion is taken seriously. People there love God and Guns being an Oklahoman. I would imagine most places make kids feel this way. Except maybe about the Guns.
Plus, Oklahoma City is in the middle of the country. I remember looking at a map as a kid and thinking, how lucky am I to get to live right in the middle of the best country?
So, don’t get me wrong. Oklahoma is good. Good cost of living, good housing market, good unemployment rate. I applaud the MAPS project that has really turned OKC into a destination spot for Oklahomans. And of course there is the Thunder.
But Oklahoma is not all there is. Just like wherever you live right now is not all there is. The world is a big place. I’m the first to admit, I was scared to take a chance and move away. But, it’s the best thing we ever did.
So, if you are contemplating a move, taking a leap and exploring, here are some things I’ve learned over the last year. Some one once told me, “You have to live somewhere, why not live somewhere amazing?”
|Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin’ town.|
6. Study the area
Lucky for you, there is this thing called the internet. You can find anything on there. Including information about where you might be moving. Use greatschools.org to check scores for the area. Google maps can give you a layout, show you local businesses, and even show you what your new city looks like with street view. Visit the chamber website for community information. Some may even send you a free packet of coupons and information. Then use Zillow.com, Redfin.com or Trulia.com to start looking for your house. Lastly, plan a trip. If at all possible, you and the family need to see where you might live. Which leads me to the next tip….
5. Involve the family
Though you may be the cause of the move due to a new job or something, chances are this affects a lot more people than just you. Think about what things the kids would enjoy. What about your spouse, what will make this place appealing to the whole family? Why is this the next step in all of your lives? A wise man told me, involve everyone, or when you arrive, you will have a very unhappy family.
4. Enroll the children in their activities
In all the change, the moving, the packing, the unpacking, the finding of new doctors and dentists and restaurants and stores, you must give your children a sense of normalcy. What did the children do back home? Soccer? Ballet? Dance? Gymnastics? Baseball? Piano? Chess club? Cheer?
You’d better find out how to replace it and replace it quick. This is where the kids will make friends and start feeling at home. This is how they transition, forget about the stress of losing all the knew, and start meeting new people. An old friend told me this one and it was so true. Thanks Chad!
3. Find the community events
Remember that chamber website? Well, go and look at the events section. What is your new city, town or even neighborhood known for? Are there concerts in the park? Family fun days? Taste of the City? You moved here for a better life and new experiences, so find these things and go.
2. Explore what’s different
Additionally, moving somewhere new comes with exploring someplace new. And not just the neighborhood or city. Sure, depending on where you moved, you may have a whole new world open up. For instance, we moved to the outskirts of Chicago. We could spend the rest of our lives visiting new pockets in the city, discovering new festivals, restaurants, grocery stores and antique shops. Chicago holds amazing history and diversity. And we will continue to explore forever. But what about those weekend getaways? Back in Oklahoma, we would drive to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio Tulsa, Wichita or Branson. But with a new home base comes new road trip opportunities like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. So, what’s around your new home? You may have a brand new part of the country to explore.
1. Meet the neighbors
This is our number one. We were so lucky to have a great family we knew already so close to us. But what happened next blew our minds. People came by with cakes and muffins, wine and candles, welcoming us to the neighborhood. The kids made friends and we found ourselves with an endless supply of cookouts, impromptu play dates, house parties and fun. Without a doubt, the best thing you can do is meet your neighbors. It was so easy, in our case, because so many came to us. But if you don’t have the same experience, go to them. Knock on the door and introduce yourself. Ask for advice on good places to eat or shop. And then throw an open house party. I guarantee making friends is the fastest way to settle in your new home. What’s up my Park Ridge People! I know you think my blogging is funny, but I’m still giving you a shout out!
|Park Ridge, IL|