Moving from Los Angeles to Kentucky may seem like a downgrade in the excitement zone, but let me tell you, I have not had so much built up anticipation and newness in years. Leaving Los Angeles and saying good bye to friends felt daunting, and spending weeks en route wondering how I’d fit in to my new city was borderline torture. I apologize now to anyone I saw for being so distracted during that time period.
Anyway, now that I’m here and my boxes are unpacked, it’s not bad at all. In fact it’s pretty nice. The best part is that I don’t know how nice it might be.
So, I’m on a new adventure. The goal is to make the most of this opportunity by seeing what all Lexington has to offer and how I can make an impact here. The key, like anything else, is to keep moving. My checklist of how to get going in my new surroundings is gradually getting checked off and the more I do, the more motivated I am to do more.
Things to do in a new city:
1. Unpack EVERYTHING and set up your home so that it reflects you. Coming home should be the one thing that feels vaguely familiar and comforting. Fill the cabinets with your essentials, burn candles with familiar scents, set up your bathroom so that it fits your routine.
2. Discover your area and neighborhood by foot. This may be the most important one for me. Roads aren’t familiar until I can remember running on them. The best way to learn your way and observe what all is around you is by venturing out outside your vehicle. Biking and running are great way to find those cute parks or unexpectedly beautiful areas. I have to admit, I was a bit spoiled with the views in California and took full advantage of this tactic. My foot prints are all over LA, but I’m excited to leave them on horse country too.
3. Find a job that let’s you live how you need to. Schedule, salary, attitude, and location are super important. Sometimes, if you don’t get these right you can miss out on experiencing your city altogether. This has not been checked off yet, but it could be soon.
4. Find a cool hang out. My sister was nice enough to show me a very cool and very nearby coffee house, which I intend to make my own.
5. Volunteer! I can’t tell you how great this is for meeting people, especially if you’re working in a field you’re passionate about. I got lucky with this one and volunteered for a race run by maybe the most enthusiastic person ever for getting people rooted into Lexington. Next week we’re meeting at my coffee shop to discuss my role in the race and to make me some friends.
6. Host a party, have friends over, cook dinner for someone. This is all coming up tomorrow. I can’t wait for my first out-of-town visitors, game night, and home cooked meal! This way when we talk I can say, “oh remember when we all played catch phrase at my place?” or my friends can picture what I’m talking about when I talk about my home.
7. Learn the roads. I always feel like a native when I can give directions around a city. Currently, I have a long way to go on this one.
8. Find routines, even if they’re small. I like running in the mornings, making my bed, biking on Saturdays, strength training in afternoons, sipping tea to start and finish my day. Being steady prepares you for surroundings that aren’t.
9. Localize the contents of your wallet. Library cards, club cards, and local business cards add to sense of belonging. As of Tuesday I am a card carrying Great Harvest Bread Co. frequent bread buyer and a Lexington Athletic Club (trial) member.
10. Go hear live music. Every city has it’s own brand of this, and it’s such an intimate way to get to know the personality of your new hometown. This is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
I’ll stop there, because these are the only ones I know for sure. I think the key element here is the attitude you approach the challenge with. Making a point to love what you’re doing where you are will make a new city your own.
“When you’re in something, you gotta give it everything you have, or else… What are you doing?”
-Lisa in How Do You Know?