The general rule I follow is that you have to give yourself 6 months in a new city for it to
When we moved here, I was depressed. I went from perfect weather every day to 20 degrees, from having a large and wonderful community to knowing only a couple of people in the area. I was also 18 weeks pregnant and freaking out about getting that 20-week anatomy scan because I couldn’t get one scheduled until I had my first appointment with my new provider. Throw in some pregnancy hormones and a freakout about where to go for my care and it’s a recipe for a disaster.
During those first couple of months, I hibernated. I spent a lot of time fixing up our home, getting things settled, researching/reading about everything baby related, and trying to meet new people. Nick and I would go to museums on the weekends and try new places to eat. As the weather slowly warmed up and we slowly got to know the city better, I started feeling more at home.
It has been a gradual process. For a while, I would still refer to Hawaii as home. A friend visited me the first weekend in May, and after she left I wrote her a card thanking her for “visiting me here in Hawaii.” I didn’t even realize my mistake until she got the card and told me!
But one day, DC started to feel like home. I didn’t do anything special. It’s not like putting all of the pictures on the walls started making it feel like home. It just happened one day as I was walking home. I felt so thankful to be going home, to be coming to a place that felt like home.
There is also a huge difference between February in DC and June in DC. I love summer here so much, and I think that’s a huge reason why I am liking it a lot more now. There are so many free things to do – museums, concerts, outdoor movies – that you really don’t have to spend any money to enjoy yourself here. It *almost* makes up for how expensive everything else is.
I’m feeling a lot more settled. We have our library, our places to go on walks, our favorite places to get dinner and ice cream. Having those familiar, favorite places really helps a new city feel like home.
Now that it’s summer, we’ve also been getting out of the city to explore. I had no idea how many beautiful hiking trails and national parks were around us. Over the weekend, we went to Great Falls National Park on Saturday. I enjoy city living, but I need to be able to get into nature too.
And then we did a short, easy hike out to a waterfall on Sunday! It felt so good to spend so much time outside.
Over the past few months, I’ve been able to meet more people, which obviously helps a lot. And now Christy from Planes Trains and Running Shoes is back in DC! I can’t wait for our daughters to be able to do things together. Also, one of my best friends from Hawaii is currently moving only 2 hours from me! I can’t wait to see her.
Another rule I follow, that another military spouse told me, is that you can always find more good than bad wherever you live. There is SO much to do here and I want to take advantage of living here while I can.
I think that I will always miss Hawaii, my heart will always ache for the years I spent there. But that feeling will always be there no matter where I live. I have to remember that while nothing will compare to living on a tropical island, there is so much more variety of things to do here than there was in Hawaii. There are so many more options in terms of things to do, places to eat, and, obviously, places we can drive to. I love road trips and I love that we’re a lot closer to family and friends. My friends are slowly leaving the island, too, so even if I were still there, I would be watching everyone leave. I would not want to be there without those people. Thankfully, a lot of them are moving close-ish to me.
I also think that DC will be a great place to have a baby because there are so many resources available. Storytimes, programs at the museums, things like that – it seems like there is a lot more of that here than there was in Hawaii.
How do you make a new place feel like home? I will do another check-in at the 6 month mark!