Seven years ago we picked up and moved from Los Angeles (approximate) to Austin (approximate). We knew a bit about the area, having visited twice, and we had friends in town with a large extended family who embraced us and took us and became surrogate grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins for our children. This network laid enough foundation for us that was easy to get established in our new town. Not so easy, however, is moving somewhere completely unfamiliar with no one on the ground to orient you.
The family of a good college friend just moved to Birmingham, AL, for job reasons. She knows no one in the area and hasn't been in town long enough to find her way around. There are compensations that come with moving to a new place sight unseen: the ability to reinvent yourself (if that's what you want to do), the satisfaction of realizing that you can survive and thrive in an unfamiliar environment, the joy of having a nice big house in an area where homes are much cheaper than where you used to live (my friend moved from California; 'nuff said).
Still, self-reliance is a mixed bag. Being the strong one all the time grows wearisome. And that is why we have friends on the internet to give us the scoop. If you know anything about Birmingham, if you live in Birmingham, if you love Birmingham, help a sister out. Tell all.
Also, if you've moved to a new place sight unseen, share your tips for coping and thriving.
1 hour ago