If we’ve learned anything by moving four times in four years, it’s the value of community (and good moving boxes). Our first move—from our parents’ houses to our own apartment when we got married—was easy. We lived half an hour away from our parents, in the same city as our university and young married friends, and half an hour from our church home. I worked the same job and my husband had a year left at the university.
When we talked about moving again, a year later, it was with excitement. In our new home in northern Alberta, we jumped right into community activities. At church we were soon helping with children’s liturgy and serving coffee; my husband joined Parish Council and sang with the choir; I compiled the bulletin, read during Mass, and played my violin in the choir. I took Sunshine to the moms and tots aquafit and we went to community jamborees and participated in school events. And then, at the end of the year, my husband’s contract wasn’t renewed and we faced a move again.
Our move back to central Alberta was both exciting and sad. We were going to be closer to family, which we had missed when we lived in northern Alberta, but neither of us had a job and we knew this was a temporary move. When I started working full-time at Starbucks, and my husband was substitute teaching during the day and working for H&R Block in the evenings, our work hours ruled out most social activities. Halfway through the year, we switched churches because the Mass times were better at the new church and we hadn’t made any friends at the previous church, despite staying for coffee after Mass each week. I made some work friends, but any camaraderie we shared in Starbucks ended when we locked up at night. It was a long, lonely year, broken only by the fact that we could visit his parents and my grandparents whenever we weren’t working (and we miss them now that we’re out here).
As we prepared to move to Victoria, we talked about how good it would be to have community once again. To know that we were staying somewhere longer than a year and could get involved in church and other activities once again. The biggest downside was that by going to the university that offered the most for both of us—a co-op program for my husband and a writing program for me—we were leaving behind our families. We would need a good community in our new home to make up for that.
If you have moved recently or frequently, how do you find friends and create community after your move?