One of our members was kind enough to share her story. She explained to me that the house move itself was hard but actually she hadn't really thought too much about the next bit - the settling in bit. Her experience has been interesting and she's been kind enough to share her story. For the purpose of this story we've changed her name, just because we wouldn't want her new village neighbours to take umbrage and her initial concerns moving to a new place. We are hoping Susie will share her journey with us again as we'd love to know how the settling in process continues!
After 100 house inspections, over 600 miles, dragging 2 small children out on a Saturday and Sunday 8-8 for an endurance test in the car, missing out on 11 offers made, finally a house was chosen and offer accepted, we were moving.
It is easy to see how, in all the excitement about moving out of London, the chase for the dream house and physical move consumes you. The expectations you have are high. Pretty house…tick, big garden….tick, best School….tick, dog…..tick.
How your neighbours and community will perceive you, the London newcomer, is far from your thoughts. This is the mistake we made.
Surely they will accept you with open arms, knock the door and introduce themselves, bring round a basket of home baked cookies and invite you for a welcome drink, all these things we thought the lucky few moving to country villages could expect. Community integration has been the hardest nut to crack and 18 months in, we are still working on it.
Be prepared for the few who refuse to mix with Londoners who are ‘invading’ the countryside, who expect us to batten down our hatches and shut the world out, be demanding and have excessive numbers of cars. Do not expect smiling faces and open arms and tread carefully, you may notice the pursed lip response when you advise your local post mistress-come shop keeper-come Church warden, you have just moved in from London.
The best advise is to be patient and tread carefully. By simply moving your family into a beautiful small country village, this does not automatically give you the right to neighbours’ acceptance.
Some people are very quick to judge, and as we found, we were judged in the first week of arriving. Turning up with our Audis and Land Rovers and parking in the ‘wrong places’, making large garden fires, repainting our own front door a different colour, this was, as we now find out, all wrong!
The action plan I took started with my church, however taking 2 screaming children to your local service does get you all of the wrong attention, but it does say ‘I’ve arrived.’ Getting to know your village is like working your way around the room at a party. There will be people who you very quickly learn are not for you, but by putting on your best party smile, you will soon meet someone you can connect with. Don’t be disheartened that you may only meet one initially, invariably this one person will have other connections in the village they can introduce you to and so the friendships begin.
It is very hard going and being on your best behaviour, trying your hardest to be accepted can be exhausting and I found the minute I relaxed a little and was not so anxious about ‘fitting in’ I began to meet some wonderful people and I have such a positive outlook for future friendships. Perhaps we will have the dream location, dream house and dream neighbours after all………
With love from