It’s funny how the little things matter so much more when you can no longer lay your hands on them. Mayonnaise was mayonnaise to me until I looked with dismay at the grocery display and found no Hellman’s. Of course, when I finally got my breathing back to normal and the room stopped spinning, I noticed that the Best mayonnaise jar looked awfully similar to the Hellman’s jar I had been familiar with. “Ok, but it better be the same!” It was.
I still can’t buy White Lilly Flour where I live. It was a staple in my home in Georgia. ‘Cause I made all those biscuits and pie crusts, you know. Well, I made one or two of each. But it was the principle of the matter really. A Southern cook has to have White Lilly Flour in her pantry. So for years I would lug a bag home in my suitcase each time I visited my mom in Georgia.
Moving carries with it stresses other than packing up, trucking it across the country and unpacking. There are little hiccups all along the way, both in the transition and in the settling in, that you really can’t fully anticipate. Well, you can’t anticipate the specifics.
But I encourage you to anticipate the unforseeble, all the same.
Consider this fair warning: You will encounter surprises.
The good news is that while some of those surprises may seem unpleasant and undesirable, many will in fact be sweet and delightful. If, however, you are so thrown off guard by the unpleasant and undesirable you just may miss and underappreciate the sweet, delightful and wonderful.
So here are a few things you might just need to open your eyes to…before you ever even make the move:
- They won’t do everything in your new town the same way they did it in your last town…especially if “your last town” was your beloved “home town.” Anticipate…and accept.
- You will not find a clone of your old church…anywhere. No. Where. Notta. So…anticipate and accept.
- You will have to wait in long lines to get things all registered and hooked up and settled…at the DMV, the library, the water department, the cable store, your child’s new school, etc. It will feel like everyone is being rude to you. They really aren’t. But it will feel that way, especially if you’re wearing your emotions on your sleeve and comparing everything to how it was back in “your last town.” So you might want to rethink that approach.
- You will not find some of your beloved brands at your new grocery store. Of course, breathe deep and look again. Some just have different names in various regions of the country, but the labels usually look familiar.
- Likewise, you will not be able to eat just like you ate in “your last town” if you’ve moved to a new region. There are no Krispy Kremes in Arizona, few Chilli’s in Washington, no Krystals in Texas and no Whataburgers in Georgia. If you’re moving from New England to the Pacific coast you might have to switch from Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks and vice versa. But your dietary changes won’t be limited to restaurants. Few people know how to cook pork barbecue in the West, and Easterners are still working on perfecting briskets and Mexican food. And if you’re a Southerner looking for Brunswick stew anywhere outside of Dixie, forget about it. The rest of the country doesn’t even know what it is. And it’s a real shame. A real shame.
- Some things actually work better in your new town than they did in your last town…or even your hometown. I love the fact that the elementary school across the street from me lets the children gather and play freely in the spacious, gated playground behind the school for 30 minutes before lining up to go to their classes each morning. In our last town they had to sit on the floor in the gymnasium from the moment their buses arrived until the bell rang. Trust me, this is better.
- There’s a church for you in your new town. It may take visiting several before you find the right fit, but it’s there. And while it won’t be like your last church, it’s a good church. It needs you in order to be complete. It may not have everything you’d like for a church to offer your family, but you have something to offer that they haven’t had yet.
- Long lines are great places to meet people, especially people just like you who are new in town and needing friends, too.
- There’s a whole big world of new and different things out there for you to try. You might find a better brand of bread, a yummier ice cream, a fresher tortilla, a local coffee. Be willing to try new restaurants, new foods, local favorites. A farmer’s market is a great place to find out exactly what is grown locally. Who knew we actually have tasty peaches here in Arizona? And while the Mexican food is different here from what we had in Texas, it’s yummy. Note; There’s a difference between being willing to try something and willing to actually like something new. Be willing and even eager to like it!
- You just may meet your best friends in your new town. They may become lifelong pals, like family even.
- You and your family may have opportunities in your new home that you wouldn’t have had anywhere else. Just before Abby was born we moved to a town where I had the opportunity to take lessons in smocking, something I haven’t been able to do since. But that’s when I needed the lessons…and dozens of handmade, smocked dresses resulted.
- You will actually grow to like some things better than you did whever you came from. I know that seems impossible at first, but it’s true. I love, love, love the climate where we live in Arizona. I also love the ethnic mix of the people who make up our town. I love living among military folks. And I love the sunrises and the sunsets. Shoot, I even love the desert landscape. I didn’t love any of those things at first, but I do now.
Susan Reeves says
My husband is retired from the Air Force. Just after we moved from Japan to Fort Meade, Maryland, I dropped by the Army Exchange on the way home from work. I met a retired Army fellow while waiting in line to checkout. When I got home I told Joe about the man and how long he served, how long he had been married and how many children and grandchildren he had. Joe asked how I had learned all that in the short time I had waited in line. I told him “I am Southern. We don’t meet strangers.” I have found that if you are open and available, you can learn much and make friends quickly. I am enjoying your posts on moving!