14 votes

I’m moving across the country in a few days

I’m moving from the Midwest to California on Tuesday to start graduate school (I’ve been in an post-baccalaureate research position for the last two years). I’ve been so busy packing and making sure I see friends that I think it hasn’t truly hit me yet. I’ve lived around Chicago my whole life, even during college, so I suppose I’m a bit nervous about the change of location and being so far from friends and family. I’m incredibly excited of course to begin this new phase, but nervous nonetheless.

Have any of you all ever had big moves in the past? Any advice for settling in a new locale?

14 comments

  1. Icarus
    Link
    Good luck! I have moved frequently over the past 8 years. From Virginia -> North Carolina -> Washington -> Tennessee -> California. Unfortunately, I don't have any real good advice for settling...

    Good luck!

    I have moved frequently over the past 8 years. From Virginia -> North Carolina -> Washington -> Tennessee -> California. Unfortunately, I don't have any real good advice for settling into a new locale since I am not terribly social. You may spend more time with your cohort since you are in graduate school and with that, learning and exploring with others who are also new to the area. My community sends out a magazine that lists all the events and things going around, plus places to see and go to in the area that I have found helpful. MeetUp can also be a helpful tool if you are social and have hobbies.

    California is a great state with its own fair share of problems. If there is something that you may need, like N95 masks or an air purifier (due to the wildfire season), go ahead and get those things in advance because you will not be able to get them when you are in the midst of it all. Also, if you are unfamiliar with earthquake safety, brush up on that so you know what to do when one happens. Where I grew up, we had tornado drills so my information on what to do during an earthquake was a bit outdated.

    5 votes
  2. [2]
    nacho
    Link
    I moved 9 timezones away on my own with only a suitcase of things when I started college. I've moved back and forth across the Atlantic several times. There isn't really much of a difference when...

    I moved 9 timezones away on my own with only a suitcase of things when I started college. I've moved back and forth across the Atlantic several times.

    There isn't really much of a difference when you move far from when you move an hour of two away. Modern technology lets you skype with parents/relatives/friends over dinner or whatever. Take advantage. That wasn't there before.

    Do things. When you don't have a social network somewhere, go do activities in your free time to get one.

    Don't be afraid to say you've just moved far from home. People will step up and will be proud to help out and show off their hometown and make sure you won't be on your own.

    Be open-minded! See new things, try new things, do new things, eat new things!

    4 votes
    1. gpl
      Link Parent
      It’s actually extremely comforting to be reminded that people are generally proud of their hometown and willing to make people feel included. Obviously it’s something I recognize is true because I...

      It’s actually extremely comforting to be reminded that people are generally proud of their hometown and willing to make people feel included. Obviously it’s something I recognize is true because I recognize it where I am from, but it’s definitely something that warrants pointing out. It’s very easy to get in one’s own head about being somewhere new.

      2 votes
  3. [2]
    joplin
    Link
    Good luck and welcome! I also moved from Chicago to California 15 years ago. I grew up in Michigan and was in Chicago for about 10 years. FWIW, I love it here. I'm in SoCal. Will you be in...

    Good luck and welcome! I also moved from Chicago to California 15 years ago. I grew up in Michigan and was in Chicago for about 10 years. FWIW, I love it here. I'm in SoCal. Will you be in Southern California, Northern, Central, or elsewhere?

    My advice would be get used to sunsets over the water instead of sunrises! A coworker from NY had his boyfriend out one time. They spent the night partying, and at 6AM decided to go to the water to watch the sunrise. It wasn't until they got there that they remembered, "Oh yeah, it's in the other direction here!" 🙂

    As others have said, stay in touch with those who matter to you. (And I'd say cut out those who are causing you harm or grief.)

    It's unfortunate you have to do this during a pandemic because there's so much to see when you can get out. If you like wine, definitely go to one of the wine countries when you're able (Napa/Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, etc.). If you like nature, definitely visit some of the state and national parks (Mojave, the RedWoods, Joshua Tree, etc.). If you like the arts, definitely get out to see some live art (The SF Ballet, The LA Phil, LACMA, etc.). If you like science and tech, there's the Imaginarium, the California Science Center, lectures at CalTech, JPL, Stanford, etc. If you like watching sports, there's all sorts of teams (baseball, football, basketball, etc.). If you like participating in them, there's rock climbing, boating, skiing, hiking, etc. You will not be bored here.

    4 votes
    1. gpl
      Link Parent
      Hi! I’ll be in what I guess is considered Northern California, near Sacramento. So a short drive to both the Bay but also to places like Tahoe. In a weird way it’s the little things like adjusting...

      Hi! I’ll be in what I guess is considered Northern California, near Sacramento. So a short drive to both the Bay but also to places like Tahoe.

      In a weird way it’s the little things like adjusting to the sunset being over the water I’m most nervous about! It’s those small, intuitive things I think that make a place home and for a while I won’t have any of those. Honestly I wish I could transplant Chicago to California and be done with it.

      Thanks a ton for the suggestions though, I do want to make the most of it and take advantage of all of those attractions. I’m just hoping the pandemic doesn’t get too much in the way of things.

      1 vote
  4. [3]
    suspended
    (edited )
    Link
    My wife and I left all of our life-long friends and family to raise our children in Maine. That was seven years ago. What has gotten us through most of the tough lonely times was staying in touch...

    My wife and I left all of our life-long friends and family to raise our children in Maine. That was seven years ago. What has gotten us through most of the tough lonely times was staying in touch with everyone through email, phone calls, video calls, text messages, etc.

    Meeting people and retaining their friendship has been tough here. Mostly, because most of the rural Mainers are brainwashed Trump supporters and my wife and I are progressives. We aren't giving up and will travel an hour or two just to have some good conversations.

    EDIT: strikethrough

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Are you far from the coast? My family visits coastal Main most years and while it's definitely more pro-Trump than the cities I've lived in, it doesn't feel too alien.

      Are you far from the coast? My family visits coastal Main most years and while it's definitely more pro-Trump than the cities I've lived in, it doesn't feel too alien.

      3 votes
      1. suspended
        Link Parent
        I'm pretty far from the coast. About a two hour drive.

        I'm pretty far from the coast. About a two hour drive.

        3 votes
  5. ianw
    Link
    I moved from New England (where I grew up) to Colorado right after I graduated undergrad. The two biggest things that helped me meet people and feel welcome in the new area were coworkers and...

    I moved from New England (where I grew up) to Colorado right after I graduated undergrad. The two biggest things that helped me meet people and feel welcome in the new area were coworkers and hobbies. I ride bikes, and joined a group ride soon after moving out here. That gave me something to do with people, as well as helping to make friends and connections.

    3 votes
  6. ohyran
    Link
    Make new friends - don't see it as a betrayal to your old (sounds silly but it can feel like that sometimes) and don't look for friends that fill your old group of friends roles within your circle...

    Make new friends - don't see it as a betrayal to your old (sounds silly but it can feel like that sometimes) and don't look for friends that fill your old group of friends roles within your circle otherwise it can get weird at times.

    Make a tradition with your old friends or your closest old friend, like writing actual letters once a month to each other. Something that makes the longing and loss feel more... "romantic" I guess?

    3 votes
  7. [2]
    skybrian
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    If you don’t mind being more specific, what part of California?

    If you don’t mind being more specific, what part of California?

    3 votes
    1. gpl
      Link Parent
      Near Sacramento, if that doesn’t give the school away ;)

      Near Sacramento, if that doesn’t give the school away ;)

      1 vote
  8. BonsaiDojo
    Link
    Good luck on your move! My wife and I recently moved away from all our friends and family. It's going great so far.

    Good luck on your move! My wife and I recently moved away from all our friends and family. It's going great so far.

    3 votes
  9. Adys
    Link
    Find some meetup groups once you've moved, try new things. Board games are an easy one to make friends at, but really whatever hobbies you enjoy. Book or film clubs, hiking, etc. This will help...

    Find some meetup groups once you've moved, try new things. Board games are an easy one to make friends at, but really whatever hobbies you enjoy. Book or film clubs, hiking, etc.

    This will help rebuild your local social circle.

    I've moved a solid 9 times over 12 years, often between countries. It's a big change so make the best of it, take in all the new things, try new restaurants and bars, don't just find a comfort zone.

    And obviously it sucks you have to do this during a pandemic, especially in the US of all places.

    2 votes