Friday, February 03, 2006

Moving Experiences

Preparing our household for our upcoming (two weeks from today) move has brought up tons of memories of moves from my own childhood. We moved when I was 1, 2, 5, 9, 12 and 16. Each move had its own set of circumstances, practically its own personality. However, there were some things each had in common.

Culture Shock: The biggest culture shock move was our move overseas when I was 16. But each relocation comes with its own culture shock. When I was five we moved from Balitimore to the Western Carolina mountains. We arrived in town a few days before our stuff, so we stayed in a motel. At the motel pool I met a girl, a bit older than I was, who warned me solmenly not to go into the deep end of the pool "cause it'd be over yer hay-id." I had no notion what part of my body my hay-id was, but I stayed away from the deep end all the same. In the morning, we went to breakfast at the local diner. My scrambled eggs came with a side dish of cream of wheat that I did not remember asking for. I put a spoonful into my mouth and discovered that this cream of wheat had a horrible, salty, soapy taste. I spit it into my napkin and tried to drown the awful taste with gulps of orange juice.

When we moved over the mountains to Tennessee four years later, it was fashion that was the problem. The girls in NC wore regular socks. Normal socks. White, cotton, cuffed above your ankle socks. In Tennessee, all the girls wore knee socks. The power girls on the playground pointed at my socks and giggled. I went home and told my mom I needed new socks. She did not see the urgency that I did. Unless your old socks were falling apart, you did not need to rush out and buy new ones. So I suffered the giggles and raised eyebrows until I got a respectible collection of knee socks and the weather got cold enough that we all wore long pants mostly anyway.

Tipping Point: The other thing I remember about moving was that there came a tipping point. A moment in time when you realized that you were living more in the new place than in the old. That your new friends became your real friends and your old friends became your old friends. When your new school became your real school and your old school became a memory, a place in your head instead of the place you wished you were. The older I was, the longer it took to get to the tipping point.

How long does it take when you are 41??

9 comments:

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Songbird said...

I'm guessing that the immersion process of being in a new job will help in some ways, but make it harder to feel connected in others.
At 5, I changed schools in the middle of kindergarten when my family moved. In my case it was shoes and not socks that caused teasing. A group of children backed me into a corner of the classroom taunting, "Baby Shoes! Baby Shoes!" They were those little leather Stride Rites with the cut-outs. What meanies!!

Emily said...

I have to say I found this most recent move to be one of the easiest I've ever made. One, I know enough now about how to become part of a community and two, Oklahomans are just so darned friendly. Also, socks and shoes don't matter so much anymore.

(But it was still hard. I was just starting to feel like I really lived in St. Louis.)

cheesehead said...

I moved here to be pastor of St. Stoic one week before I turned 41. Even though we were moving back to a place that we more or less were familiar with (we lived within the bounds of this rather small Presbytery for 14 years previously).

Now, 20 months later, I feel as if I am home. It took me the first three years to feel at home near Semi-Famous City. The whole California vibe was a tough nut for me to crack.

But that's just me!

see-through faith said...

tipping point - what a good term!

I don't know the answer, but wanted to say that when God's in the move it works out ok in time. Praying for grace during the move, and peace. It is traumatic, but doesn't have to be overly so.

Blessings in your new congregation!

Teri said...

when i moved to chicago for college, reaching the "tipping point" was nearly instantaneous for me. When I moved to Atlanta for seminary, I don't know that I ever reached it for real...when people asked where I was from, I would say "Chicago." Not my hometown, not where I currently live, no no..the town where I lived for four adventure-packed years. Only now that I live in Egypt do I feel like I really was connected in Atlanta. three years later! And only now that my mom has died, actually, do I feel like Yakima is my home. Strange.
On the other hand, people always tell me I'm "remarkably well adjusted" and that I seem to "handle transition well" so obviously I'm just making it all up. :-)
You'll be great...going to a new church always helps, I think. People want to get to know you, and you have ready made community! All you need to do after that is join a bookgroup or something of non-churchy-folk so you get what my pastor calls "heathen time." :-)

peripateticpolarbear said...

Wishing you early tipping points...

Apostle John said...

May God bless you on all of your moving experiences

Anonymous said...

Funny stories! In my opinion, it's easier to move when you are a grown up in many ways. There is an excellent Bible study for women as individuals or as a group that's called "After The Boxes Are Unpacked" by Susan Miller. There's a workbook and leader's guide and other resources to go with it. When I moved here 6 years ago, one of the churches was offering the study to any woman who was new to the community twice a year. My group had over 20, some had just half a dozen. It was fantastic in helping with the changes. It even includes stuff about helping your kids adjust, scriptures, etc. We have a weekly lunch group that continues to meet that started with that group.

The physical part of moving is a lot of work. I don't envy you in that at all.