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December 8, 2015 / Christian M.

Being New is Hard: Thoughts on Relocating

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That six million dollars would really come in handy too….

It’s been 4.5 months since I relocated to Nebraska. My handful of faithful followers may be wondering how things are going. Well…being new is hard!

Someone told me:

“Being new makes you tired. Very tired. You start to wonder if you’re getting old, but you’re not. You’re just new.”

So true! I was not prepared for the emotional and physical exhaustion of just being new. Granted, everyone’s experience is different. I think mine was compounded by the fact that a) this is my first major move ever, b) I moved here alone, and c) I immediately started a job that required a lot of outreach and interacting with people. Some aspects of the job take a toll too because as an introvert social interaction is physically and emotionally taxing to me. For example within the first four months, I exhibited at 7 conferences, gave about 5 presentations/webinars, and set up numerous meetings with people at the University and in local organizations to introduce myself. Looking back…maybe it was a bit much…just maybe…

In all honesty, these first few months I have spent a lot of my time off work binge-watching Netflix. I refuse to feel bad about it either. Gotta recharge that social battery somehow. But it hasn’t been all solitary confinement. So what’s a new (introvert) girl to do when acclimating to a new city far from home? Well here are some tips from my experience:

 1. Give it time…however much time it takes. I had to come to the realization that it takes some time to make new friends and to feel “at home” in a new place. This means that yes I will feel lonely and homesick. But it’s not the end of the world. Besides it’s been less than 5 months. Also, I have learned not to compare myself to others. I know other people who have moved and seemed to adjust really quickly. Sometimes I wonder why can’t I be that way. But everyone handles change differently, and if it takes me a little longer to adjust, so be it. Besides it’s been less than 5 months (I have to keep reminding myself I haven’t been here that long).

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A walk along the riverfront…ok, I did this alone, but still counts as going out and doing stuff…

2. Go out and do stuff…stuff that involves interacting with other people. Such a novel idea right? Trust me, I have not been holed up in my apartment 24/7 (as comforting as that sounds). I have returned to figure skating and found a local figure skating club. I hired a new private coach, and we’re working on getting me ready to pass some skating tests in February (fingers crossed). I even started teaching youth Learn To Skate classes through the club. I also enjoy yoga and ballet, and found local yoga and dance studios, but I haven’t been consistent. I’m thinking about trying belly dancing again if I can find a place for that. I have also gone to some events like BarCamp Omaha, TEDX Omaha, and I attended a poetry slam one evening and volunteered as a judge. As much as I am a homebody, I really do feel better sometimes after I go out to events and activities.

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We had some snow last week…

3. Have a travel budget for when you need to get away. I am in the largest city in Nebraska…but it’s still smaller than the DC Metro area that I’m used to. So sometimes I want to get away. Either to experience a larger city, or to visit family. My first priority has been to visit family. I went to Asheville, NC for Thanksgiving, and I’ll be back in the DC area for Christmas/New Year’s. I’m starting to think about where I want to travel next year though. Maybe somewhere outside the US borders….

 

4. Find someone that you can be honest with about how you feel. And when they say, “you can tell me the truth,” take them up on it. When you’re new, people are always asking you questions. “Are you settling in?” “Did you finish unpacking?” “How are you liking the city?” “What new places have you discovered?” Often this comes from new co-workers who want to make sure that you are happy, and that you’re not about to jump on the next plane out of there and not come back. They really mean well. But sometimes I’m not exactly happy, and no I don’t exactly love Omaha (yet). I don’t feel comfortable sharing my negative feelings with everyone because I don’t want to look like a Debbie Downer, or I don’t want to offend someone who is Midwest native and loves Omaha (i.e. most of my coworkers at the library), or I’m just a private person who does not wear all my emotions on my sleeve. But I have come across some folks who are transplants like me from larger cities and we have been able to commiserate about what we miss. My honest feelings about Omaha at the moment: I don’t hate it. And that’s good enough for now. Check back with me in 8 months.

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Fortune cookies from the apartment property managers…very sneaky…

5. Remember this is not forever. At least for me it’s not. I have met a few folks who moved to Nebraska recently because of their spouse’s job or family. They will be here indefinitely although it’s not their first choice. I will pray for them. For me, that’s not the case. I told my boss when I interviewed that I only see myself being here 2-3 years, getting some very valuable work experience, and then moving on. That’s what I’m thinking today…who knows how I will feel in a couple of years. I might be so in love with Omaha I never want to leave …..yeah, okay… But while I’m here I do want to embrace the experience. The Midwest is different…and has its own unique quirks. I definitely want to enjoy my time here. So while I’m making my list of places to travel outside the state, I’m also making my list of cultural and community events to experience inside the state as well.

 

So that’s how things are going so far. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe I actually moved out here. I was so adamant that I was never leaving the DMV area or at least never leaving the East Coast. Haha, God had other plans for me. But I have no regrets, and it only gets better from here….right?

(I should edit to add that I am LOVING my job. It’s just the relocation that’s taking some getting used to.)


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