RELOCATION: Holidays away from home

After relocation, the first holidays away from home will be the most challenging.  Both awkward and isolating, they are filled with the reminder that, “You are no longer in Kansas, Dorothy.” (Wizard of OZ movie reference)

Our first year in London was all fun and games.  In early summer, we explored and learned all about our new home.  But that first holiday, I wondered, how am I going to do this?

By November, we were pretty well established into routines.  We had daily and weekly activities that kept us full up on groceries and busy.  But what about Thanksgiving???

As an American in London, it was a bit awkward.  Celebrating holiday that was the led us to disconnecting from Britian?  On a non- “Bank Holiday”?  It was a Thursday.

The biggest hurdle though was that the lack of family and dear friends.  We were literally isolated while trying to do something normal.


American Thanksgiving in London

After 36 years of American Thanksgivings though, I couldn’t help myself but to plan yet another one, so I got to it. For non-Americans ~ Thanksgivings is surrounded by harvest foods (pumpkin pies, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey and such), watching the Macy’s day parade and football on TV and mostly spending it with friends and family.

Since only one of the three would be available (this was a few year back), I concentrated on the food and adapted it all to my very small refrigerator, stove and oven.

We invited locals and other expats to join us.  It was fun to explain what Thanksgiving was.  We talked about the foods that make up the meal.  We enjoyed a few chickens since turkeys were not available until Christmas, and I think I made a pumpkin pie from scratch, like starting from a pie pumpkin.

Without Thanksgiving football & parades we decided to go for walk in Kensington Park and played table games. It was nice to take advantage of the temperate London weather.  It was 42 degrees and blowing back in Minnesota.

Everything shifted into something a bit new.

Remembering to keep living!

One of the toughest things in Relocation is to keep living.  There is continual change and adapting going on.  The holidays highlight this additional challenge like a blinding spotlight.

Holidays are surprising.  Since the holidays only come once a year and most relocation assignments are less than 3 years, there is no consistency, no daily practice how to do it.

However, like with most topics on ReloMoms, this post is about getting around being Stuck.

Because everything is new the planning starts a few months early.   This allows the event becomes an adventure with participants on both side of the pond and figuring out how to get this done away from normal.

Involve the friends and family back home.  Get recipes and maybe have holiday care packages sent from there to incorporate into your day!  This also alleviates the day of calls from home full of tears, “We miss you so much.  WHEN are you coming back? It’s not right without you.”

These calls do not help. However….

By involving them, they become part of your holiday even from a distance.  The questions become, “How did the sweet potatoes come out?  Did you play the game? How did your new friend like the ______?”

At your new home, involve the new friends you have made.  They also have local holidays, customs and foods.  Perhaps they could bring cornbread dressing to your holiday event.  Great!  Add it in, and experience something new.

Something NEW

Ultimately, holidays will all change.  They always have, even when you were home from year to year.  It’s just not recognizable because it happens to all of you at the same time.

People come and go.  Foods change, and the days morph in to something bigger and more full than they were in the years past.

The most valuable to do is to embrace where you are and the life you get to lead today.  And when you want to change it, you will make new decisions that will lead life in a different direction.

But today, Celebrate and LIVE.

Explore your new town next:  RELOCATION: What the Locals Do

RELOCATION: Building a Personal Support System

(c) Aleksandrl | Dreamstime.comBuilding a personal support system after relocation is KEY to adapting, creating a sense of community and finding your place.  It provides the connections, information and daily expectations.

Personal Support System Defined: a community based network of family, friends, acquaintances and known partners (mechanics/contractors/medical/teachers/etc.) that provide regular or known assistance, knowledge and encouragement.

This takes how long??

Building it as needed?  12 to 18 months.   That’s quite while.

The dry cleaner is asked about local Indian restaurants.  The PTA Membership chair leads the family through Gifted and Talented testing.  The neighbor’s kid watches the dog for that weekend trip to Florida.  It gets done but SLOWLY.

AGAIN, I’m Exhausted??  After relocating across country, finding housing, unpacking,  and trying to learn the local processes…you are spent.  You don’t have 18 months of energy.

NETWORKING!!! Not Excited? It may seem like a lot of work after the last few months, but you have already started.  But with a system, this necessary system can be created in 6 months or less.

So let’s take a look at the process.

    1. Participating & meeting people
    2. Keeping track of people
    3. Extending invitations
    4. Building relationships
    5. All types

Starting with Fun:

You have had enough work, it’s time for a bit of fun?  What do you like to do?  Cook, run, bunco, write, take photos, play the piano or help others?

This is the time where you explore your community with abandon.  Being new to town has a number of advantages.  With no time schedule or obligations, this open time presents endless opportunities to explore and find what you love, or might love to do.

Check out my blog post RELOCATION: Search and find what you LOVE! for search ideas and groups to start with.

All those people: 

Everywhere you go  you will meet new people, at school,  yoga or even playing the piano at the local nursing home.  Strike up a conversation and keep a journal.  A little notebook and pen that will fit easily in a pocket or a purse is all you need to keep track of your new people.

Even though most will not be a “BEST Friend”, remembering their names and something about them will be a blessing to them.  This will bring a smile increase your connection, and in the end, make you feel known and appreciated too.

In the beginning, this is especially important for your sanity.

How about coffee?

Extending an invitation can be a bit intimidating.  None of us like to be rejected, however, it’s most likely not rejection.  It’s only a busy life you are competing with.

My Daughter-in-Law relocated 1873 miles across country last year.  She and the family had only been in Atlanta for 2 years and now found themselves in Salt Lake City.  Even though she was somewhat practiced at creating her network, she again found it difficult to get a yes to any invitation.  Coffee, play dates or meet at the park?  Frankly, it took a while.

She kept asking though.  They participated in some of the HOA events and even became a room mom at school.  This was so outside of her comfort zone, being more of an introvert, however, she kept asking and participating knowing this is where her support system was going to come from.  Once she got to know these ladies on this level, she started to hear yes for activities outside of these groups.

(c) Aleksandrl | Dreamstime.com

It takes time:

Relationships are built by time and shared experiences.  That is why my Daughter-in-Law decided to start where she was already.  She was there at drop off and pick up. She was going to the HOA pool with the kids. Everywhere my daughter-in-law went, she an effort to meet as many moms in a similar life stage as she could.

Everyone is not a “bestie”, but everyone has the potential to be a connection to the community.  By spending time then you know what type of friend they are.

Connections found:

As you already know by this point, there are different types of friends.  Those you see at school drop-off and have a quick conversation, those you can cry on their shoulders and even those you can travel with.https://www.shastanelson.com/friendships-dont-just-happen/Every friend does not fill every box.  In the book, Friendships don’t just happen by Shasta Nelson, she talks about the different Circles of Connectedness.

  • Connect Friends
  • Common Friends
  • Confirmed Friends
  • Community Friends
  • Committed Friends

Shasta talks about life after relocation and divorce.  She talks about walking by a group of laughing women lunching on a patio, like Sex in the City, and desperately wanting to go over and ask, “Will you be my friend too!!”

With focus and planning though, you will be deep in the community in less than 6 months.  Keep track of that little notebook.  And as they say,

“wash, rinse and repeat”

Efficiently building a Personal Support System is key to the relocation process because having this in place gets the whole family gets back to living.  It takes time and repetition, but will settle the family while finding new things to explore.  Keep you head up!  Life will become normal.


Next week look for  RELOCATION: Maslow’s hierarchy and you ~ moving up to self-actualization and meeting your needs after helping everyone else.

If you need more explanation OR you have moved and don’t know where to start email us at  questions@relomoms.com as well as join the email list.  We love to help!!

Have a great week and see you next week.

RELOCATION: Discovering who YOU are!


“REALLY?  Who am I?  Seems like a vague question in the face of moving companies, realtors, new schools and house hunts.
I don’t have time for that.
What does “Who am I?“,  have to do with relocation?”

And I agree, it seems like a hippy ,frivolous time waster.  However,  knowing who you are, is essential to both relocation planning and execution.

“Every minute you spend planning,
saves 10 minutes of execution”
~ Brian Tracy ~

Knowing yourself is actually the path to creating and effective plan and efficient relocation.

The main reason you want to know as much as possible about yourself, is that during the first few months, you will answer more relocation generated questions than you have in the last 5 years.  It is exhausting, but defining who you are is like holding all the answers to a test.

WHAT ARE YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS?

Typically, pain brings front and center what we need.  I am so hungry I NEED to eat now.  I am so mad at ______, I NEED to tell him what jerk he is.  But what unmet emotional needs drive that pain.

Knowing your emotional needs affect how you make decisions.  By knowing you need to feed, you make decisions that lead to where you want to end up.

Our emotional needs drive every decision we make, good or bad.  The need to feed them leads us to strive for greatness, self-destruct or even become addicted.  Tony Robbins describes this in depth.

The 6 emotional needs” TED Talk by Tony Robbins, with over 20 Million views,  is one of the most insightful and easy to grasp presentations about why we do what we do.

I liked his quote, “We will do anything, positive or negative, to meet that emotional need.”

By listening to this TED Talk,  you will be able to identify your emotional needs,  and as a bonus, be able to identify these needs in others.

This exceptionally important when working with others.  During the relocation, there will be a team of people you are required to work with.  And even though, you are the client, time frames will be so tight that you will have to work with those presented to you.

By having the ability to see the emotional needs of others you will understand what you need to do or say to effectively communicate with those around you and ultimately minimize relocation frustration.

HOW DO YOU WORK WITH OTHERS?

To work with this new team even more effectively, take a moment to learn a little more about how you work with the world at large.

StrengthFinders 2.0 has one of the easiest assessments to take and understand out there.  It is an easy little book with 31 pages of instructions, 143 pages of theme information and a code.  This code gives you access to an only assessment which identifies your 5 core themes.

One of the best things about going through this simple process is that you begin to understand how many different variations there are even in your core family.  With 34 themes there are over 33 million different top 5 combinations possible.

For example, my top 5 themes are:
Strategic, Ideation, Futuristic, Positivity,  and Woo.

Of course my first thought was, “what is Woo?”

“Woo stands for winning over others.  You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you.  Strangers are rarely intimidating to you.  On the contrary, strangers can be energizing….”  StrengthFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath Page 169.

It’s true.  I love to work a room, meet new people and learn more about them and this world.

StregthFinders 2.0 also gives examples of how WOOs work in the world; how WOOs sound in conversation, what makes WOOs stand out, and how WOOs work with others WOOs.

This assessment takes less than 20 minutes.  By taking it, I learned how to  craft messages that my creative son could hear.  I learned how to engage my analytical husbands when I needed something done.  Knowing more about who I am helped dramatically in times of unusual stress and frustration. .

LEARNING ABOUT YOU AND NAVIGATING RELOCATION

Navigating your relocation will require you to ask questions of yourself, finding resources and finding answers.  Look to books, podcasts, TED Talks, sermons, blogs and classes that speak truth.

It is the patience that comes with knowing who you are, that will be the most effective tool as you walk through ALL of the relocation surprises.

Please leave a comment below and add any resources you have found that will help other ReloMoms.

#ReloMoms, #Relocation, #MovingToaNewCity, #CorporateRelocation, #StrengthFinders2.0, #TonyRobbins, #The6EmotionalNeeds, #TEDTalk, #NavigateRelocation, #RelocatingWithKids, #WhoAmI, #BrianTracy, #RelocationSurprises

 

 

RELOCATION: Search & find what you Love!


A Mom Scavenger HUNT!

Finding what we love after relocation is a lot like a scavenger hunt.  You have a list and a general location, but not much else.  Discovering what to search is key.

OLD SCHOOL GARAGE SALE-ING

Back in the 80s, Mom and I got to figure this one out through garage sale-ing after our move to Dallas from Atlanta.  In Atlanta, the Garage Sale paper would appear every week in our mailbox.  This community guide detailed items for sale and ALL of the garage sales that weekend.

Once in Dallas, we figured this would be a fun way to learn about how to get around. However, there were no Green Sheets.  In fact, there was no garage sale source anywhere.  Dallas was all about the newspapers, both major and community.  Even those didn’t include very much, so mostly we drove around  to find them.

WHERE SHOULD I SEARCH?

The primary source of information varies from community to community and from activity to activity.

In Minnesota, information primarily came through through the community education department in each school district.  There was always an abundance of activities for everyone from learning Spanish and reading to dogs in the library to senior trips to Europe.

Atlanta proved more difficult.  The school district had limited events and opportunities outside of the school day.  In this area, online searches for specific group or location searches were the key. For example, Atlanta area moms group or Lake Lanier events proved much more effective than searching for a central source.

And then in Dallas Fort Worth, I found a number of printed sources that would keep track of festivals, educational seminars and kids events.  Between Ft Worth Child, Suburban Parents and Texas Highways, I could find what I needed while exploring the greater area.

THE WEB ~

The secret is to know what to search in every place.  I suggest the following “just general enough” types of searches:

  • (City name) magazine, events, calendar, chamber of commerce
  • (State name) magazine, events, calendar
  • (City/County name) Garden/womens/MOPs/Newcomers/etc. Club, Group or Association
  • National Local Clubs – Rotary/Lions/Kiwanis/Sorority/Fraternaty/College/etc.
  • Meetups – Moms/Writers/Language practice/nurses/music/etc
  • Religious Studies – BSF/MOPS/Bible Study/Prayer groups
  • Moms day out – a infant/pre-school Southern thing
  • Local (type specific) shops – biker/English EXPATs/running clubs & groups
  • School district & school specific PTA/Gifted and Talented/Moms
  • All of the surrounding city Parks and Recreation Events/Magazine/Newsletter
  • Facebook for all the above

ENGAGE! ~ Yes you need to call,
possibly email,
or just show up
😉

Most of what you will find, does not require an RSVP.  Showing up at a local club (Rotary, Garden, PTA, etc.) or a of course something like a bike shop is pretty easy.  Ask some questions, get on the newsletter email list and start to connect.

If your favorite activity/sport/club isn’t listed, call around.  The local Chambers of Commerce will have people answering the phone that will give you information about their members, as well as the area they live in.

No one to call?  The public libraries have research desks, for You.  Call the research desk and ask.  Nothing is too mundane or crazy.

The bonus to showing up or calling, is that by visiting or calling you will meet people who want to talk to you.  Chances are they will be willing to answer future questions, too.

BUT, WHAT IF YOU CAN’T DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT??

Sometimes as moms, we just don’t know what we want.  After being so busy crafting lives for those around us…Frankly, we forget.
Click on the Next blog to learn more about YOU

Relocation: Discovering who YOU are!

#Meetup,#PTA,#ISD,#facebook,#relomoms,#BSF,#ParksandRec,#Rotary,#Lionsclub,#MOPS,#Kiwanas,

 

 

RELOCATION: Do what the “LOCALS” do

Not the tourist stuff…yet.

It is so easy to find and yet, the Arch in St. Louis, the Coca Cola museum in Atlanta or the Longhorns in Fort Worth… those are for the tourists, and your friends and family to when they visit.  This is about finding things to do in your new town.

You need to start where the real people are.  The people who will make up your everyday community.

Therefore, turn to the real people: your neighbors, your kids friend’s parents and work colleagues are at the local hangouts.  These are tried and true tested events, businesses and places they go to with their family and friends.  Comfortable and engaging, they are places and events where you can settle in, like you live here.

RELOCATION:
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

Since this depends on what YOU like to DO,  let’s start with MUSIC.

Music plays a big part in most people’s lives.  After years of living through bitter cold winters of Minnesota, my family loves being outside.  With months of indoor hibernation, we crave star lit evenings with a breeze and a band in the background.  Now in the south, we be outside most of the year.

IMAGINE your favorite Music space.  Perhaps a version of it is here too.

In searching the area you will find that most cities have music in abundance. From Bach to Boston, you will find Orchestras, jazz bands, bell choirs and tribute bands around everywhere.  Indoors or outdoors there is most likely something close by.  If the outdoors speaks to you and you cannot find a band, pack a picnic basket, choose a park, grab your blanket, chairs & a Bluetooth speaker.  Improvise & Enjoy!

RELOCATION:
FINDING WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO

Camping
Biking
Cooking
Theater
Comic Con
Canoeing
Finding Awesome Ice Cream

Because, much of what you enjoy will be available where you go, finding what you like to do will help you establish your normal. With the boxes still needing to be unpacked and living with a sense of unrest, doing what you love is an imperative.

It is in doing what you love in the midst of the chaos, that will bring a sense of peace.  Fun will seem like a luxury you have no time for.  But the pressure of settling EVERYTHING, is overwhelming and therefore needs to be tackled in chunks.  In between, creating that sense of fun for everyone cuts the pressure and strengthens those relationships.

So go ahead, take a moment to sign the kids up for soccer.  Wander off to a local festival for a few hours.  Explore the restaurants around and dedicate time to get to know where you are.  Afterwards, you will find the energy to unpack another box.

So How do you find these amazing things to do?  See our next blog

FINDING WHAT YOU LOVE

#relocation #relomoms #relocationfamilies