First a quick recap of the earlier moves.
There was a move from Melbourne to Canberra. We had a one-year-old son, no way of meeting people and I was very lonely. Eleven months later we moved back to Melbourne but only for only 14 months. I knew with our move to Adelaide it was up to me to meet people, not wait for them to find me.
Later moves were easier – Adelaide-Melbourne, Melbourne-Adelaide, Adelaide-Canberra. Both our children were at school and I was back working. This meant I had opportunities for meeting people.
One last move – children grown and no longer at home, now retired and without the work environment as an established network. It is possibly our last move.
Being retired, I was back in the position of our first move – no job giving a built-in way for meeting people, no children at school to meet up with parents. Again I had to make the effort to meet people.
Well, maybe not quite the same. We had a reason for moving to Benalla – the Gliding Club. That helped my husband. He knew some of the people and had a way of meeting others. But I was not a pilot.
We had bought our new home in a short court (well, titled ‘Place’). Just seven houses. But before we knew what was happening, we had met most of the neighbours. It was just before Christmas. A group of the neighbours got together for a Christmas dinner at one of the restaurants. We were invited. We met more neighbours in the street at the end of the court.
I found out about “Rhyme Time” at the library. They needed a volunteer for a few months. From there I became involved in “Mother Goose”, an activity encouraging interaction between parent and child developed in Canada. This is no longer run in Benalla, but a similar program is run by Tomorrow Today, called PEEP developed in the UK.
New opportunities opened up. I spent part of the summer season helping in the Gliding Club Office. My husband and I spent a couple of years helping with Meals on Wheels. Then we found a new area for volunteering – with BPACC. I still usher there one or two times a week.
The biggest change was finding out about U3A. So many opportunities for learning new things and meeting people! I have found new friends, and friends of friends. I am always busy, either attending classes, preparing for classes, or preparing classes that I convene.
What have I learnt about being new in town? That it is up to me to find what is going on. That it is up to me to make the effort to join in what I have found.