Once upon a time, moving into a new neighborhood meant greetings from all the neighbors. When I was growing up, the Welcome Wagon would stop by to provide all the information a newcomer might need. Being a newcomer to an unfamiliar city doesn't have to be daunting. One of the best ways to settle in is to feel comfortable knowing that everything's in order, your bases are covered, and things are working correctly. Here are a few recommendations:
Who You Gonna Call?
• Get a Mississippi driver's license or update your driver's license to reflect your new address. In Jackson, you can change your driver's license address at one of two locations: 1900 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave., 601-987-1281 (no testing at this location); and the Metrocenter Mall, 601-352-6928. Both locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
• Get your Hinds County car tag. The Hinds County Tax Collection offices are at:
316 S. President St., 601-968-6587 and 119 S. Oak St., Raymond, 601-857-5574. The Hinds County website (http://www.co.hinds.ms.us) has a page where you can estimate the cost of your new tag. If you're new to Mississippi, find out what you'll need to bring by calling first.
• Find a new hair salon. Word of mouth is always a good indicator; just make sure you ask someone who has hair like yours, i.e., don't ask your friend with a head full of curls for a recommendation if your hair is bone-straight and thin. Barring personal recommendations, check out last year's Jackson award winners online at http://www.bestofjackson.com
• Find a mechanic for your car and a vet for Fido. Ditto on the word-of-mouth recommendations and also for the community-selected Best of Jackson 2010 winners.
• Scope out the best people to fix stuff in your house. Here's where word of mouth really comes in handy. Start a list of your neighbor's recommendations for a plumber, the best electrician, a house cleaner and someone who will unlock your door when you lock yourself out. You'll probably also stumble across the kid who mows everyone's lawn in the neighborhood plus recommendations for company's that fix everything from roofs to problem trees while getting to know your neighbors.
• Find your new favorite restaurant, your neighborhood watering hole and a place to workout. Jacksonians love their "third places," which can give you what you need and provide a place to connect with your new neighbors. Check out the JFP menu guides for restaurants, and Jackpedia.com for all kinds of information on the great outdoors and recreation options.
• Join a new church. For networking and getting to know your fellow Jacksonians, there's nothing like a church in the South. Jackson has lots of worship options for people of every faith. Jackpedia.com is a great place to start if you searching for a new faith home.