I moved to Toledo 8 years ago (so weird to say that). Before that, I had barely left my lil ole hometown in Adams County, Pennsylvania. It took such a long time for me to adopt saying “pop” and not “soda”. I remember being told I had an accent when I moved here! I remember the very day that I packed up my Honda Accord and drove over 400 miles away from everything familiar to me.
Within the 4 walls of our very first home together, I cried so many tears to my husband. I begged to move back home- I had given up enough of myself to Toledo, so why couldn’t he move us back “home” and adapt to my community? Why did *I* have to say pop?! But, for our family, that never happened.
I’d be lying if I said that up until recently, I still felt like Toledo was my temporary home. So much so, that I still held onto a key to my parent’s house and kept my Sheetz gas rewards card on my phone. I refused to give in to Toledo. I refused to call Toledo “home”. This wasn’t “home” this was just a mode of transportation to get me to where I needed to be, to then go back “home”.
So what changed? I’ll give you a few of the tidbits and tips that have helped me to relax and acclimate myself to Toledo. I have become more comfortable and rarely refer to that small town as “home”, instead calling it “where I grew up”.
If you’re a believer, find your church.
It was incredibly important to me to find a church home that I could call mine and luckily, I enjoyed my husband’s church enough to get plugged in and serve, connect with other people and learn more about how to pursue God’s plan for me. Even if that meant that it included Toledo (insert eyeroll).
Otherwise, find a social club or community you can join!
I’d be lying if I said that Toledo Moms didn’t help me to feel at home. I am so thankful for this community and for the people I have met through it and because of Toledo Moms! Find your passion and start googling! Where can you get plugged in and really immerse yourself in making friends and connecting?
Start talking to people on your trips out of your home.
I would often notice if people had a Penn State sweatshirt (We Are!) and would ask them where they are from, and eventually find out why they moved to Toledo. It was nice to know that in my previous neighborhood, there was person, who I never met though, that had a similar commute as I did. I would follow that silver Honda CR-V with it’s Penn State sticker and think “can we be friends?”
I would also talk to the grocery store clerks and people in the library. It was just nice to get to know people I didn’t. It was comforting to me to know that even though I didn’t grow up here, the people were still just as kind as where I grew up (see what I mean?).
Find little reminders of ‘back home’.
I live within minutes of MacQueen’s Orchard! How wonderful was it for me to experience their Apple Butter Festival (as well as the one in Grand Rapids!). Where I grew up, every year, I would attend the National Apple Harvest Festival. I’d see the Apple Queen and Princess and walk through the pavilions and look at the school aged children’s award winning art. Between the home made chips and leather vendors, you’d find incredible apple treats. I just loved it! It was so heart warming to be able to find something similar here in Ohio!
These are just a few tips I have and I truly hope they help you in your journey to make Toledo (or where ever!) your home. I am also incredibly blessed to work for a non-profit that is located in the heartbeat of Toledo, so I am exposed to the art, the food and the incredible passion that comes with wanting to see Toledo thrive! This has by far helped Toledo become called “home” for me!
It is my sincere prayer that as you have read this, that if you feel lonely, that you find your community and you find ways to become more comfortable with calling where ever you are “home”. And if you don’t feel like you have a community, just know that you are part of ours and we love having you! <3