When you relocate it generally takes two years before your new city feels like home. With some effort you can shorten that time, but you cannot get the time below one year. One year is the minimum, sorry.
It must take a year because you need to see all four seasons first. It's a fact. Even if you move to California, where it seems like there's one season, maybe two, you still need one lap around spring, summer, fall and winter.
I've relocated many times and have figured out how to accelerate the time it takes to feel at home. These four tips will get you there by your one year anniversary.
Tip 1: Learn the names of nearby rivers, lakes, bays and bridges.
Only people who are from an area, or have lived there for a long time, know the names of the water ways. When you hear them speak, they will tell you about some well-established restaurant, or favorite park, that is on a river or a bay. The way these names roll off their tongues lets you know they are connected to their city. Any new resident can rattle off street names, but whoever can locate city landmarks by referencing nearby bodies of water is awesome. You wish they were your cousin. Or they remind you of a cousin back home. Having a "cousin" feeling is an accelerator. Before you move, learn the waterways, and bridges across them, and your first year, that first trip through the seasons, will feel a bit cozier.
Tip 2: Facing your TV, know which way is north.
Always know which way is north. Because once you know north, you know south, east and west! This can reduce by 50% the times you feel disoriented, a frequent experience of a newcomer. It's a fact. On the first day you are in your new abode, starting with facing the TV in the living room, figure out which way is north, and point. Extend your whole arm, and say out loud, "That way is north." It's better to say it to someone in the room, but even if you are alone, do it. Then repeat this procedure standing at the kitchen sink and laying down in your bed. Do NOT skip locations, even if you think you've got it down. You must repeat the steps in these three spots if you want to get the full 50% reduction in disoriented moments.
Tip 3: Learn the names of the prominent tress in the area.
Grandmas are known to talk about trees. They remember the crepe myrtle, or the mimosa, or the blue spruce in their yards, and know what trees are in their neighbor's yard. They will say, "The Joneses? Yes, they are the family in the house with the crab apple tree." If you are talking to someone and they mention a tree of some kind, note how you feel. That feeling is "home." You might have to go to the local botanical garden, or find some nature trail with signs designating the trees, but, you should do this in your first month. Trees go through the seasons wearing different outfits, and knowing these outfits enrich every year you are there. So, year two, will feel like year four, year four like year eight. This is a fact. Learn your trees.
Tip 4: When you make new friends, ask them about their parents.
When you were a kid, you knew the parents of your friends. Now, as a grown up, when you run into these long term friends, you ask about their parents, because it gives you a homey feeling. So, soon after you make new friends, ask about their parents. Where to they live? What do they do? How's their health? Then, with those new friends, every once in a while, ask how their parents are doing. If their parents come to visit, take an opportunity to meet them. Shake their hands. Asking your friends how their parents are doing is such a powerful accelerator, it cannot be quantified. A little can go a long way.
Of course, getting a favorite bar, a favorite restaurant, learning the streets, and county names, will help, too. It even helps to know the famous people that streets are named after. All this makes a new city feel like home. But the four tips above are in a league of their own.
Please tell me stories of how this works for you.