My biggest challenge with moving has been finding community. It seems with a small town it is harder because many people here have grown up together and share that depth of friendship that only comes with having shared years of your life together. I have decided I need a plan. Here are some places I have met people…
It is one of the many community gazebos in the apartment complex. This one is just outside our apartment. I found that if we went out there I could read a book (or be on the internet since our connection reaches out there) while the kids rode bikes, played in the fountain, or threw different sports balls down the sidewalk. To my pleasant surprise, we were soon joined by other neighbors, their children, and their dogs. We have created a little community of 3 or 4 families and 3 or 4 more who sometimes drop by. We have yet to do a BBQ as the grill is not working, but intend to do a lazy evening roasing hot dogs or something easy and chatting while the kids play in the xeroscape:
Not an ideal play space, but we’re making it work.
Church – church shopping is something I dread. We went to several and seem to have settled into one. It is not ideal either as there are almost no other children for my kids to interact with. Usually my children are the only ones at Sunday School. I’m hoping the number of children will grow (I have been told some families are out of town), but I’m accepting that I may need to go back to church shopping if there aren’t more kids. Having said that, I enjoy the company of the people at church. Most are well past their parenting phases and into grand-parenting or even great-grand-parenting. This seems to be something I will have to learn to embrace as the town is a place many come to retire. It even uses the retirement community here as a big part of its promotional video.
School – I have volunteer at each of the kids’ schools. I have gotten to know a few teachers by doing this, but it has not been a place to make friends. The PTA at the kindergarten was very welcoming, but they meet the same night as Cub Scouts so I have only made it to 3 of their meetings which are very efficiently run and people leave right afterwards. For the Elementary, we have lived here for 5 months and I have not heard of a single meeting. I walked into the group setting up the book sale on campus and helped there, but never heard from them again. I have met a few parents by inviting their kids over to play or staying with my child at a birthday party when most parents just drop them off. It appears to me that most women with children my kids’ ages are working. I think that will make meeting them even more of a challenge.
The women are connected in the local community as well as at the state level. They are intelligent and welcoming. Unfortunately for me, they are past the parenting of young children phase of life, their meetings are in the evening when I have my kids (hubby works evenings right now), and I am only able to attend their monthly lunch (which I have missed the last 2 months due to the kids having school events).
Where else should I look for friends? I know I have forgotten something.