Making a city your own

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Whenever I move to a new place, I like to set up a to-do list with key factors that usually make me feel like I’m taking control of the city and making it my own. It’s a wonderful feeling to have, to consider a place your home. And not being afraid of exploring it.

My first few days I usually to try out a bunch of different cafés and hangout spots for me to read and work in. I like to visit these places alone, to establish a sense of “I can make it on my own”. Which, as it turns out, is not so dramatic. Once I have found a place that has just the right and calm vibe, I tend to befriend the staff to ensure pleasant visits, more or less always.

The second thing I like to do is find mentors. You can have a mentor in any area of your life. I like to find someone that is very inspiring, and not so far away in their career path as compared to me. That way, we can discuss situations that arise (usually when I need to get subjective) and have someone to be my allied at events. I also enjoy finding mentors way out of my league. The women and men that are so out of my league that I can barely begin to understand what and how I can learn from them. But that is usually harder and demands a good network in order for you to find one. Having a mentor helps to create a sense of understanding for my new city, and a security network, aside from the workplace/school.

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Mentors give me energy and ideas to go for things I never thought I could! And they offer advice when I need it the most. With the help from my mentor Katarina, I ran a successful project for the charity Pepp and landed my job at IKEA.

The third thing is to never stop exploring. I avoid the touristy stuff, because I will usually end up doing those things sooner or later anyway. Instead I focus on finding the hidden stuff: where are the low-key locals at? That’s where I want to be. Out of the spotlight. I tend to take a new way when I go somewhere, so that I’m familiar with the streets and places.

Well.. Sometimes I don’t like doing it, it can feel uncomfortable. But those are the things that make me feel like it’s my city, when I understand it. When I have my favorite places hidden away from the crowd. And then suddenly, you’ve been away for a weekend somewhere, and returning to your new city feels like returning home.

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