The thing with being an expat is when you land in your new home/city to start your new adventure there are usually lots of ‘you’ to help you settle in. The International School is (usually) bursting with friends waiting to meet you, and things to do (I know, they are all very different and some are less friendly than others but basically, there are lots of expat wives with kids hanging around the playground, or an International Women’s Club not too far away)
Friendships work in opposites in as much as you ‘are friends’ then over time you might end up acquaintances. Friends might mean you are originally from the same country; or you’ve lived in the same country; or you have mutual friends, or your kids are in the same class, or husbands work together. It’s a loose term on which a coffee morning, or lunch can help cement.
In non-expat communities, friendships work the traditional way, slowly simmering, growing week by week, based on similarities more than the fact your kids are in the same class (but that helps) and I forgot that.
These past few weeks have told me that despite how disconnected I sometimes feel, we’ve connected. We have friends. They are busy, working and doing normal every day stuff around their homes or with family and friends, but we have them!
The first day of school holidays was spent with friends sharing a day trip to Petworth House. We were going to look for elves but they very wisely stayed indoors out of the miserable weather. Instead, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Balthazar’s Palace and a yummy bowl of home made pumpkin soup for lunch.
We had friends over for an early Xmas lunch and surprised them with a homemade Chinese banquet. The girls played, we chatted and sipped
champagne – a really lovely day.
MissM’s been invited on several play dates these school holidays with promises of more in the New Year.
We shared a friends birthday brunch and when they learnt we were home alone NYE they invited us to join them.
New friends came over to us to celebrate Chanukah and we all got along really well. It’s always interesting adding husbands and kids to the friendship but this one worked.
So I think the root cause of my negative thoughts is that I like to be busy, and I enjoy spending time with friends. Friends are busy working and leading normal lives. It sounds so silly to say they aren’t forgetting me, but when you’ve lived 3 years in an expat bubble, when there’s so many in the same situation you do forget what living in the real world is like. No wonder repatriation is the hardest move of all!
In order to ‘fit in’ more I’ve volunteered to work at Naomi House in the fundraising and marketing department one day a week, if they’ll have me.
My application is being processed at the moment.
I’ve also put my name down to help out once a fortnight on a Wednesday with the craft mornings, might even get a scrap book club going.
Class Rep is going well. MrsW and I get along really well, and the comments from the parents is that we have organized lovely events.
The few regular diary entries will help give my week structure. With the occasional Ikebana class, and a weekly writing course (which I’ve been waiting on confirmation from for a few months), fitting in other stuff will make me like the other girls I know – having to fit it in around ‘what I do’
Here’s to a happier, more productive, settled 2013 as we enjoy our second year in the UK