Moving to a new place often means giving up a lot of your comforts, and potentially, a lot of yourself. That can be hard. It is only natural to want to feel like you belong somewhere. Yes, you should absolutely embrace the experience and learn new things. But there are many ways you can bring some of yourself into your new environment while also embracing your new reality. Several years ago, I moved from New York City to the Netherlands. I moved away from everything I knew. Over these past few years, I’ve picked up a few tricks to make my new home truly feel like home.
Food Is My Way of Connecting With People
I love sharing food with people. Maybe it’s because I come from a very Russian-Belarussian Jewish home, but food, particularly baked goods, is the way I show love to people. Whenever I have extra time or can’t focus, I focus my energy on baking. I’ll try a new recipe or bake something I’m good at making. Instead of eating all of those baked goods myself or with my partner Kevin, I hand some out to my neighbors. I’ll also send Kevin to work with a plate of baked goods like cookies or a cake.
I’ve always been a fan of eating with groups of people, especially since I’m a family of 15 kids. My friends often come over for a home-cooked meal at my home or I/we go over to their house for a meal. I usually get quite stressed when cooking for a large group of people. But when I see them eating and their faces light up, my heart sings. They also say the way to a man’s heart is through their stomach haha.
Connect With People That Remind You of Home
As I mentioned before, my heritage is Russian-Belarussian Jewish. I have several ways of connecting with that part of me. Once in a while, I go to the Jewish “community center” or as it’s actually called: Chabad. The people there are so kind and accepting of new people. And the best part of all, they never try to push religion on me. They respect that I am culturally Jewish, not religiously. Kevin is not Jewish but is so supportive of me.
Whenever I hear someone speaking Russian, my ears perk up. I love practicing my Russian and connecting with people in that way. When I speak Russian, it feels like I’m home. I am also so impressed that Kevin is trying to learn Russian. He even has nearly a year streak on Duolingo. Talk about dedication! Russian is a very difficult language.
Your Daily Life Should Be Right for You
When I lived in NYC, I was always on the go and never felt relaxed. But I’m originally from Wisconsin, a much more relaxed place. When I moved to the Netherlands, I was finally able to get back to that relaxed lifestyle. I’m able to enjoy my soy latte and read a book. I’m able to cycle around town to do my errands. I used to cycle a lot in the spring and summer in Wisconsin. Now I cycle all year around.
I’ve always had a travel bug. I traveled often when I lived in the states, now I travel even more. Traveling makes me happy and makes me feel like me. Luckily for me, Kevin is very much like that as well and loves to travel.
You Should Be You
Your life should be right for you. Just because you move away from where you grew up, that doesn’t mean you have to give up all of yourself. You don’t have to give up what makes you feel comfortable and happy. You don’t have to give up your routines. Whatever makes you feel most like you, find a way to incorporate that into your new life as well. There are many more things I do to feel at home in my new place. The possibilities are endless.
What are some things you do to make your new home feel truly like home?