Hi, I’m new here.
We stick out like sore thumbs.
It might be the Colorado plates, or the dog, or that we walk around everywhere (usually with said dog), but this town is small enough that it’s obvious we are new.
There are no sidewalks.
There are no bike lanes.
The grocery stores leave much to be desired, but that’s another blog entry in itself. We feel like we live away from everything, on the edge of town (if you even want to call it a town). The second we pulled up to our apartment, Josh and I both wanted to leave. The first day moving in, everything out of our mouth was a complaint.
The truth is: we were spoiled in Fort Collins. We moved from California to a smaller city that is on numerous top 10 lists for best places to live. And now, we’re in Kent, a place that probably has never made it on a top 10 list in its 100+ year existence.
And then on Sunday, we went to church. They were sending a missions team off to the Dominican Republic, and as we were praying for them, the pastor read from the book of Joshua.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Every once in a while, God punches you in the gut right when you need it.
So, we made a decision. We gave ourselves a week to make introductions with Kent, shake hands with the city, get over the culture shock of the Midwestern countryside, and try to find a routine. We worked to make our apartment more like a haven and a home (yet still missing a couch). I unfollowed the Coloradoan on Twitter, deleted all Fort Collins related accounts on Instagram, and started following Kent and Ohio accounts like ohioexplored.
And we went outside. A lot.
We went to Downtown Kent, discovered the best Chai latte this side of the Mississippi (Lavender Chai!) at Tree City Coffee, which we have been to at least 3 times now.
Found numerous epic parks (none within walking distance of where we live, but we won’t complain because the views make up for it).
Discovered Kent’s involvement in the Underground Railroad.
And in doing so, we have started to adjust to life outside of Colorado. I’m by no means a master, and I may still be a bit homesick for bike lanes and the Poudre river, but my tricks have helped and the Cuyahoga is growing on me.
So, for the movers and strangers like us, here’s some tips to shake off homesickness and adapt to your new surroundings:
Like I said, the first day we moved in, we were complaining. We came to Kent and arrived at our apartment a back way, so we didn’t go through the town at all. Don’t allow yourself to form an opinion of your new home based on a first impression. For every complaint, say one good thing. I don’t like that there are no sidewalks in my neighborhood, but we live right next to a bog!
Be a tourist.
Use Google and local guides to introduce yourself to your city. Find out where to go for coffee, groceries, etc. but remember that you are still exploring and your habits may change. The roads you’re taking now may be ones that you will never drive down in 2 months.
Most likely, you might not know anyone where you are moving, so on your first day (while you’re sweaty carrying boxes), make an effort to say hi to your new neighbors. They can be a great resource for information, and who knows, you might even have something in common.
Your new home will be different from where you came from. Sometimes very much so. It’s okay. It may be hard at first to avoid comparing the old town to the new one but try. Comparison leads to discontent.
Get involved in the community. Join a church, book club, sports team, etc. Find a way to get connected and feel like a part of your new town. You might find that people here aren’t so different than anywhere else.