Growing a new community in a new town. How to do this in a fun, easy, and frugal way.

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My family and I are new in town…again!  This is the third time since I married and started a family that we have moved and started over in less than 5 years.  I had to lie down for a whole day recently I was so pooped out emotionally and physically.

Ah, but this time is special.  We bought this home and my husband manages the gas station less than a mile away.  We are here to stay for a long time.

Soooo, that means it’s time to roll up the sleeves, get on the apron, fire up the bar b q and start making friends and growing roots deep in this community.  I’ve been alone without my community, close friends, church for way too long.  I’ve been staying home raising the little boys and homemaking, reading, studying, writing, blogging, and living a sort of isolated existence.  I have plenty of friends and an old community but hours and hours away in all directions.  No fun.  Not to mention that everybody is so damn busy these days.  No one has time and no one I know is a homemaker with a flexible schedule.

Point in case, I recently was to throw a housewarming and those that I started to invite were too busy, already had plans, and then the rest was too far.  These were good friends, family…I feel like they are all moving on to their community and neighbors.  I allowed myself a night of being irritated and feeling sorry for myself and then I decided to move on too.  I got the message, “focus on building a new community and making new friends here in your new town.”

So, I did!  I woke up refreshed after some angry and empowering dreams and I invited a handful of neighbors to a bar b q on Saturday.  You always invite far more than you can handle because only half of them will show up.  It turned out great.  A neighbor on the corner and I are bonding quickly.  She is the mother of the local sheriff in the town next door, literally.  She came over early and we both donned our aprons and went to work preparing and grilling fabulous food for the neighbors that did show up.  I was pleased with the ladies that arrived, one bringing a chocolate cake and another bringing my favorite deviled eggs.  I was surprised by the couple next door so notorious for being shy and introverted that showed up later.  We all had a good time eating and sharing stories, listening to old music and having cake.  And that “shy” young couple asked to attend the Farmers Market with us on Saturdays.

By the end of the night, I knew my neighbors better and I had two new recruits for Church and a new good friend and fellow bar b quer chef.  The next day I attended my new Church with my new pose.  I had the two neighbors and a grandma from my new homeschooling group.

I prayed that this would be the Church.  It came highly recommended from my realtor (which was ironic because she’s Mormon and not Christian).  There is nothing more frustrating than shopping around for a Church.   We weren’t disappointed.  The boys loved their new Sunday school and we enjoyed the praise and worship (I cried while I sang which is always a good thing when I’m moved by the music), the sermon was very good, very pertinent to my thoughts as of lately.  We even received a mug as a welcome gift and I do love my coffee.  I’m thinking this may work out well.

Since that weekend I have attended Church twice with one neighbor and there are 4 of us that are going to the Saturday morning Farmer Market weekly.

Having potlucks or bar b q’s and everyone chipping in is a very inexpensive way to entertain.  I use real dishes and eating ware, cloth napkins, and I make bouquets from all our flowers and rose bushes.  I play music and light candles.  And of course, the house is very clean and tidy.  It isn’t necessary to have 50 different dishes.  A few main dishes such as salad, meat, and a bean or potato dish.  Appetizers can be just crudites and dip and a fresh selection of sliced fruit.  Another fabulous idea is a loaf of french bread with baked garlic.  Instead of alcohol serve homemade ice tea and ice water with lemon slices. This saves a lot of money, however, if you want to serve at least some alcohol you can get a nice wine from the Grocery Outlet.  One or two bottles on the table make a nice presentation and when it runs out, it runs out.

And there you have it, you’ve created a charming atmosphere, there is good food and refreshing drink, and your delightful personality.

Having group outings to the Farmers Market or Church is another fun way to bond with neighbors and you might be surprised to find that they are just as eager to have new friendships and community as you are.

I’ve made many friends in the month that we have been here.  They range from 20 something to 80 something and I am really enjoying them all.  Church is something we all look forward to now, the Farmers Market makes me feel European, and the homeschooling group I joined has given me so much great information on community activities for children and the whole family.  They have whole summer calendars of reduced cost fun such as dollar kiddie movies at the theater, concerts in the park, and cheap tickets to an indoor play arena.

Churches or Spiritual Centers and Temples, groups, Outdoor Markets, local festivals, local small theaters, sports teams, homeschool groups…these are wonderful ways to meet people, make friends, and feel some community.    And it doesn’t have to cost much.

 

 

 

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