In my life I have moved many times. Actual moves to different towns, not just different houses in the same town. Most moves were when I was younger and were out of my control. I had nearly a dozen primary schools.
As an adult, I moved to Townsville with my then BF, who is now hubby.
We moved house in Townsville, then moved to Brisbane.
We then moved to Grafton.
Then to Moree.
Then back to Grafton.
Then currently to Canberra.
Moving is tough. And I mean beyond the logistics of new schools, packing, unpacking, cleaning, new jobs, finding a hair dresser, a favourite coffee shop, a good bakery, a doctor, a dentist and getting lost (remember how geographically deficient I am (https://kassjangel.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/geographically-embarrassed/)
Making social networks is one of the hardest things about moving.
Sure, you have more exposure to possible social networks if your kids are in school, you play a sport/ have an outside interest, or if you work.
But many people struggle with being brave and diving in.
This latest move is well documented (https://kassjangel.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/when-life-shakes-you-loose/”) and really, against our will. We had no intention of leaving Grafton, until, well, we had to.
However, I attacked the move itself and the post move period with a will. I fully intended to make this move work, because in the end, that is what is best for my family. With a successful move, we could settle in, start again, put down real roots for the first time in 15 years and move forward.
I am a known social phobe. I don’t like people. I especially am uncomfortable with people I don’t know. Sometimes I am MORE uncomfortable when I do know someone but I don’t like them. I expend a lot of energy being sociable and then need solitude, quiet time to recharge my batteries.
Which is hilarious because I am a nurse. Pour me a wine or two and then ask me how that works in my head!
Don’t get me wrong, I like my friends, obviously. However, even with my friends I feel like a social dyslexic, never quite being sure what is being low maintenance, what is being stalkerish, how much is not enough attention, what if I am being pushy……?
You see, I am kind of a boots and all kind of girl. If I am going to have a relationship, I have a proper goddamned relationship. Not a half arsed, only when you need me kind of thing. That confuses and distresses me!
So, we moved. We already had dear friends here, a couple with 2 lovely twin boys (who happen to be our god sons). But, not wanting to be stalking them, I undertook meeting new people with a feverish passion, bordering on desperation.
Chance encounters with new mums of kids at Master 7s new school. A friendly coffee invite by a new colleague. Chasing down the mum of the new BFF of Master 4 in day care. They were all in my sights.
I carried post-it notes in my bag (business cards might have been creepy), so I could scrawl a phone number down and offer it. I figured if I handed out 10, and got a coffee date with 1, that is good odds.
It became like a gym routine – game face on, cheery smile and a wave applied, warm handshake when offered, be brave and make the first move.
And that is what I did. I stepped out of my own shadow, and was BRAVE. Very brave. Braver than most people would think that I need to be. Every offer I put out there was a chance for rejection. Every post-it note, every offer of a coffee, or pimping my kids out for a play date, was a chance for a kick in the teeth.
You know what though. It never eventuated. The kick in the teeth.
Even when the offer was not taken up by someone, it was done nicely. Most of the time though, a coffee date was born, and I took that opportunity.
One woman hunted me down and approached me, and I recognised my tactics in her actions. Her son and my Master 7 had become fast friends in Term 1, and she spotted me in the shops car park and pounced. I was given a business card (maybe I should have printed them out after all!) and I tentatively texted her a week later, and a friendship was born. It turns out that the best thing I ever did was be brave. Otherwise I would have missed out.
I have 3 friends down here. Women I regularly try to catch up with. More acquaintances and some of these will develop, I am sure.
It is now August, month number eight after the move.
You cannot judge the success of a move within the first 12 months I believe. Not even the first 18 months maybe. But I think this one is working out ok.