Monday, October 10, 2011

The six-week rule

When I went to school nine hours away from home, a weekend trip home was not feasible. But I was at a state school where a large majority of the students could make weekend trips home. And there were weekends when it felt like the dorm was empty, and I really struggled that first semester.

But since I didn't have a choice, I made the best of it and found people that did stay around on the weekends. I had to dig in and really make it my community. I found great friends and really loved my time in college.

As I've moved to new places since then, I've imposed a rule on myself to force myself to invest in a new place. For the first six weeks or so, I can't go home or leave town and escape. It forces me to find community and really be present in a new place.

But I also realize that I reach a point where I need to see familiar faces and have a conversation face-to-face with someone that already knows me.

In Georgia, a weekend trip home was easy, and in Virginia, my best friend was just a couple of hours away. And here, I have friends less than two hours away.

I had forgotten that I needed that refresher of seeing familiar people until I visited with some friends last weekend. After almost two months in a new place, I needed a real hug and a conversation deeper than the small talk when meeting new people.

Things are going well here, and this weekend I had a couple of things going on with new friends. I found myself less frustrated by the getting to know you stage after getting that weekend away. (Though I will confess I am tired of telling people I am not a student.) And there are two potential churches, so I'm feeling better on that front as well.

And this coming weekend is Homecoming, which is a HUGE deal around here. I'm looking forward to seeing friends I haven't seen in a long time, and enjoying the fun parts of Homecoming without having to do the work.

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