Friday, 7 August 2009

Fast-track friendships

One of the biggest problems with moving your life half-way across the world is that you can't bring your friends with you. Of course, the internet is brilliant for keeping in touch, but sadly Skype contacts can't take you out to a bar or sunbathe next to you by the pool, much as they'd like to.

Very soon after I arrived I realised I was going to have to do something I've never had to do before; begin building friendships up from scratch in double-quick time. Previously, my friendship circle has grown organically through work etc, with no pressure and long periods of time to get to know each other. Out here, that's not really an option. The problem is made worse by my husband being away so much, and me not working - the pressure to find a human being to talk to when he was away became pretty intense.

Luckily, expats are generally a very friendly lot. All the women I've met out here understand completely what it feels like to be alone in a strange country, and have been very welcoming. Some in particular have been just brilliant; they are fast becoming great friends. Last week, for example, I was ill and needed to go to the doctor, and my husband was away. So I called one of my friends, who'd just finished work, and without me asking she said "shall I come and pick you up?!" Then she looked after me all evening, gawd bless her.

On the other hand, it is I suppose just like Fresher's week at University, in that you get to know a lot of people quickly, some of whom you spend the next few years trying to avoid! Inevitably, you can't get on with everyone. You sometimes agree to meet someone for coffee and gradually realise that that friendship "chemistry" isn't there. I think it's a bit like speed-dating! After one of these "dates" you might find yourself wondering why so-and-so hasn't texted or asked you out again - but there you go, that's life. We can't be best friends with everyone, can we? It would ruin the joy of friendship if we were great mates with everyone!

In general, though, I feel very blessed out here. I now have several close friends who I have a brilliant time with, and I know would look after me in a crisis (very important to know, given my husband is away a lot!)

Naturally nothing will ever replace my friends at home, who I love dearly and miss very much. This new expat life is just a way of adding to my friendship circle, not replacing it. And for that, I feel very blessed.

1 comment:

  1. I can certainly imagine the struggles of making new friends in foreign places, but it sure does sound like an exciting life!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! :-)




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