I'm sitting in my home office here in Edinburgh with a tower of packed boxes just visible in the corner of my eye. Those boxes: they're kind of freaking me out. They're a reminder that once again, I'm moving to a new city (a new country even, though one that's closer to home than my current surrounds). Yes, we've officially started to pack up for our move next month. We're heading to Toronto. Which is great, but terrible too.
Moving to a new place is just a scary, scary thing. I'm excited about the city; I'm looking forward to decking out a new set of digs. But with the possibilities and the potential comes so much unknown -- so many hows, so many what ifs. Moving to a new city is stressful, no doubt about it. All the packing and the good-byes? This part's no fun. And even once we're there, being in a new place offers its own fresh set of challenges. Yes, it'll be awhile yet before I'm happily settled down.
Still, I've made enough moves now that I'm getting better about what to expect; I've lived in cities I've loved and cities I've initially hated, and learned it's possible to make a home in the most unlikely of places. So I'm trying to take deep breaths, take things one step at a time, not get myself too worked up into an anxious tizzy. Sure, when you suddenly find yourself in a strange place far, far, from home, it can take awhile to get used to your new environment. Armed with reasonable expectations and a few tips though, settling in can be a whole lot more manageable…
1 Make your move. Get as organized as possible with your move. Create a moving checklist -- and make good use of it. Once you're in your new digs, don't dawdle with the unpacking and settling in either. Little things like having your clothes in the closet, putting up photos of family and friends, getting telephone, cable and the all-important broadband connected will make a huge difference in helping you feel like you're starting to nest in the new surrounds.
2 Out and about. While getting your new pad squared away is important, don't forget to spend some time outside your little abode as well. Yeah, you'll want to do a little reconnoitering just to figure out the basics like where to do your grocery shopping, or which thrift shops offer the best chance for scouring that perfect whatever for your digs. But exploring for its own sake is a worthy endeavor too; the first couple of months in a new city are a fabulous time to play tourist. So get yourself a good map of the city, read up on different neighborhoods, then put on some comfy walking shoes (yeah, you can hop in the car if you must, but personally, I'm of the opinion that traveling by foot is a far better way to get a lay of the land). Now hit the streets!