New job; new husband; new school; divorce; bereavement – whatever the reason and whatever your stage of life, moving to an unknown area is daunting.
Before I moved three hundred miles from my previous home, I’d read load of articles about integrating into a new community and in summary this was the advice:
- Make friends with mums at school
- Get involved in community activities
- Chat to neighbours
- Invite work colleagues for a drink
- Join some clubs
Obviously it’s not practical to do all those things at once but it looked like a good action plan for the first few months.
As a novelist, I don’t have the advantage of integrating with work colleagues; I just have a brain full of imaginary friends. On the positive side, new contacts make for an increase in book sales.
I attend church regularly but still, I was very apprehensive as the new girl on my first day. The vicar spotted me immediately and came over to say hello. After the service he introduced me to several people, all of whom were welcoming and friendly. By the time I went home on that first Sunday, I had been invited to get involved in all sorts of activities.
To be fair, I wriggled out of the cake-making and flower arranging. My relationship with baking is tenuous and having mild OCD, I can only arrange flowers if they’re uniform in colour and size and can stand in oasis in a neat row. However I’m now a fully paid up member of the local Mothers’ Union as well as helping with the parent and toddler group!
I’ve visited the library and discovered clubs and activities in or around the town. I’m walking the fells regularly and rarely do I complete a walk without meeting someone to chat to and I often see the same faces.
So if you move away from everything that’s familiar, be positive, there’s a whole world waiting to be discovered and if you put a bit of effort in, the rewards are there. I now have lots of new friends and acquaintances who delight in giving me their ideas for stories and asking if they can be in my next novel; thereby proving that human nature is the same wherever you live!!
The nicest thing so far I think was walking into town and hearing someone call out: ‘Hello Julie!’ from the other side of the road. I’m not a local yet but I’m getting there …
Oh and the writing, well I’ve completed one children’s short story and have started background research for a new Victorian mystery so WTS!
Thank you for reading.