Lake Norman & Mooresville

Book, class help newcomers handle stress

When her family moved three years ago from Long Island, N.Y., to Mooresville, Leslie Zurick thought she had made a tremendous mistake.

"Yes, I felt the same way," said Mary Bocchino of Mooresville. "I wanted to go back." She wanted to return with her son, Christian, now a freshman at Lake Norman High School, to Yardley, Pa., from where her husband's job had moved them in June 2010.

Both women, however, have adjusted to their new lives in Mooresville, and they attribute that to a 10-week course called "Just Moved - Newcomers Class" offered by St. Therese Catholic Church in Mooresville.

"We had friends who lived here, and we had come down to visit. We decided it was a good place to raise a family," Zurick said. But she wasn't prepared for the feelings that hit after uprooting her family.

After they moved, Zurick felt "the loss of family and friends, the loneliness, the feelings of being disconnected.... I felt isolated."

Bocchino said they chose Mooresville because of the location of her husband's job, the school system and the lake. She kept telling herself, "I'm going to look at it like an adventure.

But when they arrived here, the negative feelings hit. She said she kept thinking, "You didn't choose to move here. No, I was happy where I was, but my husband's job was here."

Her husband and son watched as she cried. Bocchino said, "I felt so bad for them. They didn't know what to do with me."

Zurick said, "No one tells you how hard it is when someone comes to visit, and when they leave. When my sister was visiting, the day my sister left, I cried like a baby for days."

The "Just Moved" class is open to any woman in the community; it is not necessary to be a member of St. Therese. The class is based on the book "After the Boxes Aare Unpacked," by Susan Miller. The book explains how the stress of moving can overwhelm a person at times.

The class provides an opportunity to meet others, exchange insights and find the courage to put down roots. It's taught by two veterans of moving, Sophia McNiff and Tracy deRoos.

Both Zurick and Bocchino took the class. Zurick said, "I didn't want the program to end. I am still friends with two women I met in the class."

Of her experience in the class, Bocchino said, "Not only did you meet people going (to the class), but it gave me something to do."

Both women agree you have to find it within yourself to adjust, but the class was "a life saver."

Bocchino said, "We're out boating on Lake Norman, enjoying life. Everybody adjusted, and we made friends."

Zurick said, "This is home."

Bocchino and Zurick are now called "Angels" because of the volunteer work they do for the class.

"I want to give them hope," Zurick said. "If I could do it, you can do it."