In continuation with our summer series, here are three more ways to get to know your community.
- Historical sites – It took two years of living in Birmingham for me to finally visit the Civil Rights Institute and three to visit 16th Street Baptist Church. Once I did, I understood the city on a much deeper level. I had two separate Birminghams in my mind: the blurb in a history textbook where terrible things happened a long time ago and the vibrant mid-size city where I was trying to find community and a sense of home. But loving a place, much like loving people, means getting to know their past, even when it is messy and broken and we’d rather not think about it. Know your city’s history and you earn that sense of belonging. Accept its flaws as well as its shining towers.
- Go places alone – I didn’t have much choice in the matter when I moved to Birmingham because I didn’t know a soul. But that simply opened doors for interesting conversations with strangers I never would have engaged otherwise. The same was definitely true about my time in DC. When you are with friends and family, you never notice things and other people the same way as when you are pioneering as a lone ranger. Don’t be afraid of what anyone else thinks of you. The few strangers who have commented on my party-of-one status have only expressed the wish that they were brave enough to go places alone themselves!
- Join a group – Whether it’s a meet-up group, class, a religious organization or a fellowship of common interests, signing up and staying faithful is a game-changer for moving to a new city. These may be new lifelong friends. Or they may be the people who introduce you to new lifelong friends you would never have met otherwise. Or they may be just a short-term way to pass the time with someone of a common interest. Whatever the outcome, it’s worth a small membership fee and the time invested to see the city in ways you never would have access to on your own.
How did you get to know your city? Comment below or reply on Twitter to @Jenna_DeWitt.