Buying a new home in a new community is exciting and stressful, and the stress continues well beyond the closing. There is that...sigh...move to deal with and a doctor, dentist, vet, and grocery store to find. Research shows that it takes about 2 years for people to really settle into their new community.
Here at Newcomers Welcome Service, we often see that stress while delivering Welcome Packets to new residents. The reaction can be quite touching. Here is a great story from earlier this year.
We received a call from a woman whose husband had been transferred from Texas to Ann Arbor with only a two week notice. They hastily rented a temporary apartment via the internet, threw everything into boxes, saw their items loaded onto the moving van, and then jumped into their car to drive here.
Mom, Dad, three kids, and a dog were crammed into a two bedroom apartment, living in a jumble of boxes and without internet service. I told her that we would get a "Welcome Lady" out to see her and bring a packet as soon as we could. But, because she was obviously distraught, I asked what I could help her with right then. She said she didn't know how to get from her apartment to a grocery store. I mapped the route from her apartment to Busch's and read her the directions.
I asked what other immediate challenges she was facing. She said she had boxes and boxes of clothes that her kids had outgrown that she hadn't had time to donate before she left. They were sitting in the apartment and taking up way too much space. She wanted to know where she could donate them. I mapped directions to Children's Orchard, told her she could take the clothes there, sell what the store could use, and donate the rest to the Salvation Army right from the store.
The poor woman burst into tears, said the move had been horrendous, and thanked me for the help. So much gratitude for the small things I had done made me realize it is way too easy to take my network of family and friends for granted. I wished I was sitting with her so that I could have given her a hug, but I let her know we would get her Welcome Packet to her right away.
A few weeks later she called back and thanked me again for the help and the Welcome Packet. Their Realtor had helped them find a house, the kids were enrolled in school, and they had used many of the gift certificates in the Welcome Packet to get some shopping done. Her family had gotten out and seen the sights around the area and she said everyone was starting to feel more comfortable.
It was one of those moments that reminded me why I love what I do.