Moving means so many things. Packing. Boxes. Transit. House hunting. At times, visas. Pet logistics. Unpacking. Exploring. Conquering. Excitement. Learning. But in some ways, most of all, new friends.
Though skeptical at first, I can now confidently say that having kids really does make meeting people infinitely easier – it’s been great to have E as my little wing-lady! Of course, E and I have had our fair share of long, quiet days at home and plenty of mommy/daughter dates at the local coffee shops just to get out of the house and interact with other humans while passing the time over the last few months (sad, yeah, I’m totally aware, it’s really ok though), but here are a few of our favorite activities that have also led to meeting a few great friends since our arrival in London:
- Gymboree – Before we set foot on UK soil, I had already signed E up at the local Gymboree. Those first few weeks and months after a move (or having a baby – period!) can be particularly lonely, and seeing a somewhat familiar group of people on a weekly basis can do wonders for the spirit. While the classroom part of the program was interesting, we quickly learned that the open gyms provide a much better opportunity to play freely and talk with other moms/nannies and kids. Try to find a class that is followed by the Open Gym for your age level – you may discover that other moms/nannies from your class also extend their time to enjoy free play, and you’ll already have some familiar faces to connect with!
- Music Class/Rhyme Time – E had just started a Kindermusik class in Charleston before we moved and absolutely loved it, so when I heard that the church just around the corner provides a free, weekly Oldtime Nursery music session (this one is open to anyone and mostly attended by kids ages 0-4, I’d say) we jumped right in. It is an informal opportunity for kids to listen to many different instruments and sing old British and American songs, and from all of the activity in the room during the session, I think it’s safe to say kids of all ages enjoy it! This class is a “must-do” on our weekly calendar.
- Shopping – Just get stuck in Baby Gap during a rain storm, and you might be surprised at how many people you meet and phone numbers are exchanged! While I, admittedly, have not followed through with everyone we’ve met in BabyGap, I have come away from each “meeting” with new information and tips for our neighborhood – from the best toddler-only playground to the most child-friendly local libraries and top schools in the area – other moms are a great resource and more than happy to share their knowledge with just about anyone!
Of course, there are many other places to meet people – playgrounds, community clubs, rec centers, the list goes on and on. These are just a few of the first places we turned to (or stumbled upon!) following our move.
Have you moved (with or without kids)? If so, what were some of your favorite ways to meet people in your new location?