The average Briton will move house eight times during their lifetime. I’ve moved eight times in the last twelve years across three different countries so I feel qualified to talk about the difficulties of major relocation.
Whether you are moving countries or just to a new town, city or road there are all sorts of new starts that you will have to make.
Probably the easiest changes are the practical ones. Finding the right house and everything that goes with setting up a new home might take some time but it is relatively straightforward. There are many organisations who provide related services such as finding houses, schools or packing and removals. Alternatively, with some organised planning and research you can manage a move yourself.
Far more difficult is settling yourself and your family into a new life and building new relationships. Settling into new schools is not only hard for children, parents can find it difficult to. Many of us don’t realise how enmeshed we are into the playground community. The school gate is where I have met many new friends after each move and the support offered in terms of helping each other with school pickups and playdates is really hard to replace. It’s been almost two years since our last move and I finally feel like a proper part of the school community.
The information superhighway had led to the development of local information sites for almost everywhere. These ranges from mums groups on Facebook to well-developed websites detailing services in a particular location. Where areas have large expat or migrant communities there are usually websites dedicated to helping people find the information they need, such as the best local doctors or restaurants. All these resources are invaluable in speeding up the settling in process.
On top of new schools and jobs all other favourite activities have to be started from scratch again too. Be it Brownies, swimming lessons, ballet, rugby etc. you have either the stress of meeting new people or the opportunity to make new friends depending on how you look at it.
Having made so many major moves the thing I have learned is to open to any new relationships that come your way. The nature of moving away from your friends and families, permanent or temporarily, means that the new relationships you make will quickly fill the void. I’ve spent many Christmas days with people I’ve only known for a few months because it was too far to go home for the holidays. By being open you may find a valuable friendship with someone you never expected but on the flipside you will probably also embark on friendships that whilst initially great die a natural death over time.
Moving is stressful, no-one can argue with that, but it’s also the chance for a new adventures and new people so when you pack your boxes throw in a bottle of wine to share with your new friends.