As soon as you arrive at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport either on a connection or on a short trip or to live here as a foreigner, the very first thing you would notice is the warm smiles of Georgians. Almost everyone that you meet along the way from here on out is friendly especially to a European like me who has lived in Amsterdam and dealt with the busy life in a small city, we can smell genuine friendliness and hospitality from miles away. After having moved to Atlanta seven months ago for work, my journey has been an interesting one. I truly love many things about people in Georgia, in particular the city of Atlanta while there are a few things that I still have not deciphered and wrapped my head around.
My first two weeks in Atlanta was rather rushed, tiring and challenging to say the least but it was also the most productive two weeks of my entire life. Moving to the States from Europe to work for an American company, I opted out of using their relocation benefits as it tied me down to the company. This meant that I had to take care of this trans-Atlantic move and in particular to a city where I did not know a single person on my own. Starting with finding a home, furnish the said home, buying toilet paper to oil, from bedding to towels, from television to mobile phones .I had two weeks to get myself situated before I started my corporate journey in the ATL. My training and experience as a project manager paid off in my transition after I meticulously planned, called, emailed and filed every hour of every day for the first two weeks. This involved reading about neighborhoods, public transport, housing market, cars and the social scene. Even before I moved to Georgia, I had my life planned and the moment I checked into my hotel for the first week, it was time to execute each of part my detailed planning with the precision of a fine craftsmen. Fast forward to two weeks and you have a fully furnished home and I am ready to begin my life in this new city that was going to be my home for the foreseeable future.
Having gone through this and seven months of living here has made me realize that settling as an expat in Atlanta, a city that is not the New York or San Francisco or London of the world but still stands tall and as a hip and happening city with a southern charm in its own right may not be that easy. This is one of the reasons I want to share my findings, my experience, and my advice into finding your way through the New York of the south (this title given to the city by the ATL-iens is one that jury is still out on). In the following articles, I will be walking you through the myriad of steps and processes to establishing a life here, the do’s and don’ts of Atlanta.
Welcome to the Peach State Y’all!