Thursday, February 21, 2008

A goodbye - and an introduction

In recent weeks, I’ve been clearing out my files to pass along to Amy Baldwin, who has begun work this week as The Observer’s new guru of all things newcomer-related.

And it occurred to me that many of the people I met when I started the newcomer job in the summer of 2006 likely would not call themselves newcomers anymore. Maybe they arrived a year or two before that and were still flummoxed by our streets, our accents and our food.

But by now, I’m sure they can proudly educate their more recently transplanted neighbors on such matters as the differences between Blakeney and Birkdale, when to avoid the traffic jams on I-485 and where to find the best sushi – or barbecue.

A fact of life in Charlotte is that every year brings an influx of new people who must be welcomed and educated about our city’s peculiarities. I like to think I played a part in doing that over the past year and a half.

I particularly enjoyed how this blog took on a life of its own and you readers often peppered my message board with feisty comments, dozens at a time. It was great to have that dialogue with you.

I decided to keep that conversation going until Amy’s blog was up and running. (Click here to see it.) Now, it’s her turn to get you talking about the things that make this city unique and, at times, hard for the new folks to figure out.

I’m now an editor in the paper’s southern Mecklenburg bureau. I’ll miss meeting newcomers regularly, but I’ve wanted to be an editor for a long time. I’ll eagerly accept your tips on things our paper should be writing about in the areas of Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville, Ballantyne, Steele Creek and the Arboretum/Providence Road area – my new realm of responsibility.

This blog will continue to float in cyberspace and, from time to time, people might stumble across it and post a stray comment or two. But with the demands of my new job, I won’t have time to update it after this week.

So, I’ll pose one final question to those readers who are transplants, but no longer feel like newcomers. What’s the most important thing you’ve done to help you get adjusted to life in Charlotte? Was it meeting other newcomers, or befriending natives? Was it joining groups, or driving around to explore? Any advice you have for other newcomers is welcome – and might provide future story fodder for my successor.

Keep in touch!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been here almost 3 years. Definitely go on "walkabouts". Just wander and you will discover that you can eventually get your bearings, even if the street name changes for no reason!

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meeting people in the neighborhood. It was pretty easy since most were transplants like us.

We also picked one thing to do every weekend. Maybe it was checking out Trader Joe's, maybe it was going over to the theater in Ballantyne, catching a Bobcats game, finding a new restaurant in a part of the city we've never been to. Just do something. Charlotte does have a lot to offer but you do need to make an effort to find it. Coming from the northeast I had to make an adjustment and that meant having learn that 'stuff' is all over the place and that I had to drive to do it (and that everything shuts down early)!

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never realy acclaimated to Charlotte; People get turned off by my observations of constructive criticism. They dont like FORBES now because they had People lving here undercover and didnt like what they saw; We have to keep in mind that 'one person medicine is anothers poisin' and this place is nice if your making a great living and can afford it. If you dont work amongst the masses your even better off. Its 'water off of a ducks back' really, if your content with whats going on then VOILA' your in the right place but there are sure getting to be a lot of gripers living here. People have to stop the hyperabole and exaggerations about Charlotte and deal with the issues as they arrive.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last weekend I went Charleston, SC. and never realized that they have a lot to offer in Charleston for a dual operation city, thats tourism and working at the same time; Charlotte will get its act together when the BUM MAGNET stops energizing here luring People with two nickels rubbing together expecting panacea.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodbye LEIGH I hope my spelling didnt let my hopes of Being a reporter for the OBSERVER make you throw my RESUME' away. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAhA I do have a keyboard problem People although I mispell like hell

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish you luck and great success for your new job and it will keep you real busy.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when I was in THAN FRAN THISCO I didnt see one GAY while me and my boyfreind was dancing . signed GUS

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the hard work and great information, Leigh. Good luck!

11:00 AM  
Blogger New Homes in the Carolinas said...

I'm sorry to hear you go! I love Charlotte and I love the observer, I hope both will remain strong.

1:21 PM  

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