Friday, 4 September 2015

Settle Down // How to feel more at home in a new town

Moving house is such a huge task, exciting of course but also a touch nerve wracking; getting all your things packed/ unpacked and organised, choosing and arranging furniture, decorating, cleaning and DIY ing, not to mention some what expensive. Now combine all of this with moving into unknown territory, a village or town you've never even visited, knowing not a blinking soul... Fun times, am I right?

Well, there are some wonderfully helpful ways to focus on the amazing new change in the bright positive light it deserves, whilst getting to know your new stomping ground and eventually settling in to your new home and town. I have found, over the last couple of months, that these tricks are really allowing me to enjoy the process without that old familiar worry taking up too much of my time!

Get on your bike and ride! Seriously, the best way to explore your neighbourhood is to head on out. Whether you are lucky enough to be in a bicycle safe area or take the road on foot, discovering all of those hidden treasures will build your confidence and familiarity with your new place. Weather depending, we go on evening strolls around the corn fields and hop on our bikes to the next village over, just to get an idea of the lay of the land and have found many more gorgeous spots than we would have been able, in the car!

Nest build. Making a house into a home takes time and patience but doesn't necessarily have to cost the earth. Simple things such as rearranging a book shelf or organising your wardrobe can be super therapeutic, clearing out old crap and making room for the items you love can help to bring your living space together. I found that treating myself to some flowers or a new scented candle, it's all in the details, gave our apartment that much needed cosy feeling and I am finally starting to see things settle.

Community service. Getting to know your neighbours is a long lost etiquette in some dwellings, but I have made it my mission to strike up conversations with everybody I can, even if it's just a friendly passing by the post box! You genuinely never know what interesting people you live near and could spark a friendship simply by introducing yourself. I have found this especially helpful for my language skills. Just by pushing myself to speak Dutch with my next doorsies has boosted my confidence ten fold!

Friends + pizza = good times! Pizza night with pals is a treat worthy of any occasion, I mean pizza! But when moving to a brand shiny new area, it is essential to keep contact with family and friends and to have that piece of home right there amongst all the new. Inviting people over, cooking for them or heck, why not test out the take aways (important, no?), and making some new memories and good vibes could be just the ticket for settling in. Did I mention pizza?

Urban Legend. Another thing I have been enjoying, since the move, is learning about my new area's history. Looking into it's origins, the stories handed down generations, facts and formations of the land, and of course, noting all of the village festivities celebrating these curious historical events! Heading to your local library could present you with all manner of local folk lore, googling original maps could show you how the land has transformed over time and even speaking with the local know it all (or bar man!) could result in brilliant tales and some insider info!

Hidden gems! This ties in with exploring on foot and researching your area, but seeking out the nearby attractions is essential for anyone hoping to really truly get to know their area. We spend so much time looking over the fence, planning expensive trips to far off lands, when many of us forget to check the doorstep for all manner of wonders. On my list is visiting all the local towns by bicycle, the cities by train and the national park on foot. I hope to hunt down the museums and art galleries, the fabric and yarn shops, the best spots in the city for a little retail therapy and a coffee and discover a new favourite book shop... Exciting times.

Now, not to sound too mumsy, but there are, of course, some more rather pressing matters to research before you go gallivanting, such as checking out your local public transport routes, see what your nearest shops have to offer, keep in contact with family and mates (skype works wonders for those further afield) and sourcing essentials for your hobbies (cinema, haberdashery, vintage shop).

Just remember, it's a working progress! This is my daily mantra, one step at a time!

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