For many South Africans, George is a holiday dream destination for Decembers. The beaches, mountains and surrounding areas are reason enough for that!
But for other South Africans, George accounts for more than just the mountain, beaches and surrounding – it accounts for a place to be called home.
Moving from Cape Town to George on the 30th of December 2018, George was a place unknown and waiting to be discovered. As a Capetonian, having lived all of my 26 years in the Cape Town area, it was quite something to adapt to. I remember trying to memorize most of the street names in George, just to orientate myself. The first few months I drove around with Google Maps as my GPS, just to make sure I don’t get lost! Even though George is quite small, by not knowing it so well you can still get lost between all the little streets and corners. And not to mention all the one-ways in York street! How confusing!
Another thing that stood out is definitely all the Coffee shops. I made it my focus to try different ones every month! Nina’s, Ground Control, The Table, just to mention a few which delivered some great social dates!
Building a community took some time though. My husband and I became intentional in inviting people over for a braai. This quickly became our Monday evening tradition, and wherever we met people, we would invite them over for a braai for the following Monday evening. Even though we had quite a few evenings of braaiing on our own, we soon had weekly braai gatherings and people visiting. What a great way to connect with people and build relationships!
Within a year we were quite settled into George as our new home. We loved exploring the area, having less traffic and the idea that shops are around the corner. Nothing is far away from one another in George. Including people.
Moving to a new place can definitely be daunting but I definitely learned a few things from it:
- It is possible to adapt. Even though I grew up in the same area and lived there for 26 years, I worked through the challenges of change and was able to build a new home, together with my husband, & community group for myself.
- You need to invest. We had quite a great community network in Cape Town – solid friends, family, church and meeting people along the way. Leaving all of that behind was challenging and then also needing to want to meet new people in George, was tough. We, therefore, needed to put ourselves out there and connect. I joined a local hockey club, we slotted into our local church and met people from our workplaces as well. Getting involved in the community is the best way of meeting new people.
- Getting to know it all. There is so much to discover in George! Coming into a new place carries the benefit of wanting to explore though. Being in one place for long, it quickly becomes difficult to think of new & exciting things to do. But within George, no one can have that problem! We had weekends of exploring that which we enjoyed, even going to camp in places like Island Lake – 35 minutes away!
- Adapting differently. It was interesting to see how differently my husband and I would adapt to our new surroundings! He wanted to “arrive” as quickly as possible, while as I wanted to adapt at an easy pace, not wanting to miss anything. For sure this led to quite some conversations and clearing out misunderstandings. But it made me realise how differences in each person are actually such a good thing. We can learn how to do things better and grow along the way. We definitely need to see the opportunity within challenges.
I am sure there is perhaps quite a few other learning curves I went through. And perhaps you are thinking about your own challenges with moving if you ever had to.
But let us continue to strive to make the best out of each situation and be obedient in the things God is calling us into.
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