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Book tells of adjusting to life at a new address

Published Sep. 28, 2005

Funny thing happened to Leslie Levine while writing a book about how to return to normalcy after moving: She had to move.

Her work in progress, eventually titled Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home?: Simple Advice for Settling In After Your Move, was based on her experience moving to Rochester, N.Y., several years ago. Suddenly, her husband had a job offer, and she found herself figuring out how to live in a Chicago suburb.

So Levine, a writer and public relations consultant, had to put her own advice to work, particularly as it pertained to her children.

When her young daughter expressed "dissatisfaction" with the prospect of leaving her friends and school, Levine set her up with a moving journal to help her gain perspective on the experience, something she recommends for relocators of all ages before, during and after a move. She provided her daughter's friends with addressed postcards so they could keep in touch easily.

"It can be frightening to reach out," she said. "As adults, particularly as women, we seem to regress to junior high school level and feel like: Nobody likes me. Is it me? Am I wearing the wrong clothes?"

So she offers tips for sticking your neck out, in addition to curing such logistical headaches as finding your way around an unfamiliar town and locating doctors.

After about half a year here, the family is at home, she says.

"I learned so much from the people I interviewed for the book," she said.

"I learned not to be afraid. I learned that it's okay to take your time, that it's okay to say, "I hate it here,' even though you might love it the next hour."