One of the hardest things about leaving Atlanta was moving away from the friendships we had cultivated over the past thirteen years. I know that establishing new relationships will be instrumental in truly feeling settled in our new town. I’ve decided to journal about our transition and interactions with others to see where our connections come from and how long it takes to develop solid relationships.
The past two weeks I’ve talked about our interactions with people in our neighborhood and our search for a new church. This week I’ll talk about everything that falls outside of those two categories. This includes the kids’ schools, Adam’s work, and wherever I encounter people in my daily activities (mostly the YMCA).
Adam started work on Monday and I’m staying with him for a few days to explore the area and get some kid-free time. I have been researching library programs and saw that a local library had a Creative Writing Group meeting today. I thought it might be good to go and meet other writers. I tried to talk myself out of going multiple times. You don’t write fiction. You don’t have any work to share. They will think you don’t belong. I decided to “do it scared.” Show up and see what happens. There was a coordinator, three regulars, a visitor (a relative of a regular), and me. It was nice to hear what others have written.
We introduced ourselves, people read what they had brought to share, we talked about the Writer’s Market guides, and then did two timed writing prompts. I was internally freaking out as I had to think up a story (or part of one) on the spot and then share it with the group. I didn’t get very far with the first one but it was a good challenge. I did a little better with the second one. And I’ve thought about trying fiction in the past so this is a good opportunity to delve into it a little more. They meet monthly. I think I’d like to go again. I guess we’ll see if it works out. Tomorrow a different library has a Spanish conversation group. We’ll see whether I talk myself out of going to that. More challenge and stretching of my comfort zone. But why not try, right? The worst that happens is I speak Spanish poorly.
I didn’t go to the Spanish conversation group. We had dinner with Adam’s co-worker and his wife instead. We did later run into another co-worker who is originally from Venezuela and I was cajoled into speaking a little Spanish. It’s a weekly meeting so I may try to go a different week. I received an email from the writing group coordinator letting me know the date of the next meeting. I will try to go.
It has begun. I saw a photo on social media of friends hanging out together. Obviously I am too far away to participate but it causes me to yearn for connection all the same. It’s one of the reasons I’m anxious to get into our new house and settle some. I want opportunities to make friends. I know I need to be patient. I could always try texting or calling someone I know to chat I suppose.
We closed on our house yesterday. Today I went to the YMCA for the first time. I was too late for a class but got a basic layout for the fitness center and lifted some weights. I did not attempt conversation with anyone. Maybe when I take a class I can start conversations and maybe get to know a regular or two. If we are at the gym at the same time, maybe they are also generally available during the day. We’ll see. I did friend request our realtor on social media.
E1, my old friend, texted yesterday to see how we were getting settled and we made plans to hang out. (We both lived in Atlanta for five years. They moved away when Kaitlyn was two. Her family has lived in Asheville for the past several years.) We met at a library that was doing rock painting (with Sharpies) and all four kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy that. We went to lunch afterward and then were close enough to our house that I invited them over to see it and play. The kids loosened up some and seemed to have a fun time playing. E1 and I hardly saw them which seemed like it meant they were having a good time.
I gave E1 a tour and then we chatted. They were here a couple of hours. G1 (the older child) asked to play again soon. She also asked if we were a family that could do sleepovers. Apparently, they only have one other family that they know well enough. They would definitely make the cut for us. I was so thrilled that the kids all seemed to enjoy playing together. I think mine were happy to see someone their age again. It makes me hopeful that they will find some friends at school relatively quickly.
We went to the gym as a family on Saturday. Everyone seemed to enjoy their time there. It’s going to be challenging for me to put myself out there at the Y because I am going to have to talk to people. Maybe when I take a class finally I will say something to a neighbor. It’s hard to try to talk to someone when I’m doing a solo routine. Or maybe that’s just my personality and preference – put in the earbuds and get to it.
Yesterday E1 texted me to say they’ve been praying for a friend for G1. I’ve been praying the same for my kids. It seems like God’s answering both prayers at the same time. I learned that E1 works part-time at a preschool so she’ll be busy for part of the school day but it doesn’t mean we won’t be able to get together during the week. I guess we’ll see what the school year brings.
Once we have a working fridge and are more settled, I’d like to invite A2 (our realtor) and her husband to dinner to get to know them a little better. We’ll see if they can potentially become real friends.
I went to my first class at the Y yesterday (pilates – very popular). I chatted a little with one woman who says she comes every week. She was very friendly. It made me think about friending retirees as their schedule might be more similar to mine.
We met E1 and the girls at a pool yesterday. The kids had a great time. We were there for three hours. I got a little sunburned. E1 introduced me to a friend of hers whose daughter goes to the same school my kids will attend. They both said South Asheville is fairly small and before long I’ll see the same people a lot. I guess we’ll see.
I took another class at the gym – barre. It had fewer people than the pilates class. I chatted some with a regular. I will have to pick a class to do regularly eventually. I’ll try an 8:30 or two once the kids are in school. A fun chore for me – trying out classes.
I went to a Power Yoga class today. It had about eight people in it. I talked to the instructor a bit. I think it would be easy to learn everyone in the class if needed. No one seemed overly friendly though.
We went to the gym this morning. I had thought about taking the barre class but there were other errands I wanted to run so we went earlyish and I ran on the treadmill. When I arrived back at the kids’ room to pick them up they were working on bead projects so I left again to try to give them time to finish. I visited the front desk to find out about their Fitgo Bingo game that’s starting next week. I don’t remember my intro line but I struck up a conversation with a woman named R1 who was working. I said I like to take classes and she said they intimidated her. I told her we could be awkward in a class together. I learned she has an 8yo and a 6yo. She was a SAHM before she started working at the Y. If I see her again, I will say hi and give her a card with my info in case she’s interested in hanging out or getting the kids together. It may turn into nothing but it could also be something. Only time will tell.
We spent a little time this evening with E1 and the girls at their pool. The kids seemed to have a good time. I’m glad they are getting some social time before school starts.
We went to get J’s hair cut. A woman in there with her two granddaughters started talking to us. When she found out we were new in town, she asked what brought us here. She asked if we’d found a church yet and suggested the big church in the area (the second recommendation for it this week). The guy next to her said he worked at Eaton and asked Adam’s name. He said the desk he’d ordered for him had come in cracked. I’d already heard that story from Adam. That experience made me feel more like I’m in a small town.
When I got to the gym this morning I talked to R1 and gave her my contact info. She said she’d introduce her kids to mine in the kid zone when hers arrived. Jackson said he met the kids when I picked them up. She sent me a message on Facebook this afternoon saying we should do something together with the kids in September. Sounds good to me. Jackson seemed excited to have new people to potentially play with. G1 and A1 were also in kids club because E1 and I took a barre class along with one of her friends. In the afternoon we went to the pool with E1, her kids, and another friend with kids. The kids had a blast at the pool. I would have been fine having a low key afternoon (I think all of the socializing is draining me) but I knew the kids would love it and it’s always nice to be invited to things. I will have to make pockets of quiet time to recharge as we continue to meet new people.
I took the power yoga class at the gym again yesterday. There was a substitute instructor who I very much enjoyed. I introduced myself to one person who turned out to be new to the class. She was with a friend but they weren’t set up near each other. I had noticed at another class two friends weren’t near each other. I guess room situation preference? Anyway, I tried the PiYo class today. It was challenging and fun. I talked to the woman next to me but didn’t get her name. I did see R1 again and talked to her a little bit. She mentioned trying a cycle class next week. Maybe I can get her to let me know when and we could do it together. We’ll see. I worry that I will come on too strong but I know it takes lots of intentional time to form a friendship. Maybe there’s a balance?
I went to the gym to run. I saw R1 on the way in and figured I’d chat on the way out. We did. We didn’t really chat about anything in particular. I don’t really want to distract her from her job. Maybe if we get to have a playdate.
I had my second creative writing group yesterday. The kids did well at entertaining themselves. I received positive feedback about my work. It’s interesting that the writing styles are so different. I think it’s really going to be a good outlet for me. Maybe we will eventually become more friendly/social.
Do you remember how you became acquainted with your current friends? Please share your stories for encouragement and inspiration!