Updated: Feb 1, 2020
As we begin planning for a move one thing we always wondered is to have a handy list of tips to survive first few days in that new place. Google is every one's best friend but still we all end up creating a list that suits our needs. We all do the same things over and over again and this wheel reinvention continues for each of us. There's no stop to this process, but sometimes it takes a good amount of stress and hard effort to feel at ease in a new city.
So in this article, I am going to write about how we handled this. Austin is still evolving from a small town Texas culture to a large metropolitan city. So it was relatively easy for us as I got an opportunity to visit this city prior to moving with my family. Like many of us, I started searching for neighborhoods, apartments, houses schools, grocery stores, doctors and hospitals and route to Airport ( I admit my profession required to me travel across US and it was one criteria up in my list ).
Ofcourse Google being our ultimate go to search tool, I pinned down my office location and focussed on search diameter of 5 miles.
For me elementary and middle school were top in the priority list. With little bit of online search (great schools and niche) and from online reviews we narrowed down to Spicewood Elementary School in RRISD which also feeds into Canyon Vista Middle School. Both are great schools and it satisfied our expectations.
Once the schools were sorted, there was not much left to choose from apartments or neighborhoods. It is a bit of hit and miss and sometimes less is more as they say. We rented a house near balcones golf course area (zip 78750). This neighborhood is full of oak trees, 18 hole golf course, mix of old and new houses, bit of hilly terrain and very good connectivity to downtown Austin, Airport, North Austin and RoundRock area. 183 N, Research Blvd, Spicewood springs Rd and Andersonmill Rd feeds this neighborhood and I never felt distance to anywhere being an issue or even hassle ( coming from NJ, this was very welcoming ). Hey ! location sorted. (We later found out that many of our Bengali friends live in the northwest Austin along 183 N, Cedar Park, Avery Ranch, Round Rock area).
We moved to Austin in late of 2016. Being at a new place means missing our family or friends at our previous place of residence. For few months we were on our own. This would have continued longer haven't we found out about CTBA , Austin's Bengali Association from one of our community members at my son's music school. One day Me and my wife were sitting at the music school along with other parents, waiting for the class to get over. Next to us, this member was sitting also waiting for the class to end. She heard us talking about how to find a Bengali community in Austin. She picked up that conversation and kindly asked if we were Bengali and new to Austin? That was a time saver. We were very lucky, the introductory conversation was very helpful in getting us connected to the community via its Facebook group and this website. We will always be grateful to her for her timely help.
Being late December, we came to know about Saraswati Puja 2017. The then cultural committee was looking for kids for various programs. We asked committee members if our son can participate in kids drama one evening and by next morning we were asked to take our son for participation. We were totally surprised by this super fast turn around and very importantly we being new to Austin couldn't have thought a better introduction to Austin. We were overwhelmed since this was almost impossible in NJ / NYC area. By end of Saraswati Puja of 2017, we have made many new friends.
Its been a few years and time has just flown by. We absolutely enjoy our time here.