Think for a minute, where did you meet your friends?
Let me guess - at school, at work, the gym, thru your kids, your place of worship, thru the local sports club, neighbours, friends of friends, on holidays ......... all pretty normal places.
When MissM was born, my hairdresser introduced me to a lady who had a son the same age. She was having trouble with her little one - he was clingy, wouldn't sleep, didn't like the car, didn't like the pram. MissM was completely the opposite and my hairdresser thought maybe I could invite the lady and her bub out for coffee and offer her some helpful support. She knew I was involved in a local playgroup who met regularly and asked if it would be possible to include her.
As we were new to the area, I agreed. I knew how difficult it was to make friends being not only new to the area, but having a new baby.
We became friends. She came along to our playgroup and the rest is history. We're not in touch any more, but that's ok. We shared the first year or so of our children's lives and went our separate ways.
Expat life teaches you to be open to opportunities of friendship. Maybe at some point you think you've enough friends - life is busy enough to have too many. Most people can't see the friends they have often enough, so adding more isn't necessary.
We were like that before we left Sydney. Our circle of friends was complete, and we knew that as MissM grew up and started school we'd meet people thru her and hopefully add a few more friends to our list. But we didn't 'need' any more than we had.
Each time we move we do so knowing there are so many people we have yet to meet, who will be our friends, and that's a pretty cool concept. Because expat assignments come and go, are off'n'on until the contract is signed, nothing is ever a forgone conclusion, so fate, destiny whatever you want to call it does play a major role in the path you take.
It's all about being at the right place at the right time. All the planets being aligned so magic can happen.
In a past chat, Friendship Is In The Air, we talked about girl dating aka, the beginning of a new friendship, and it still rings true.
A few weeks ago, I was standing in a very long line, soon a cold, grey Dublin morning waiting to go into the office to renew my drivers licence. There was a young man infront of me, talking about something to do with when he lived in Khartoum to his relocation contact (I gathered this simply because I was listening)
He had a rather posh English accent, and for some reason that I will never know I excused myself and said 'I couldn't help but overhear, you've just arrived in Dublin from England. Welcome. We were in Winchester before moving here with my husbands work' and so began a lovely 3-way chat. I learned where he was working, when he arrived, when his wife and kids arrive, that he was waiting on confirmation on a lease, other places he'd worked.
I then did something I've never done before, and offered him my mobile phone number if we could be of any help, and suggested when his wife and kids arrived, we get together.
He texted a few weeks ago and thanked me for my friendship and said he and his family would like to catch up if the offer was still there.
Today was the day. (G even recorded the Rugby)
Over tea'n'scones at our place, we laughed and chatted as if we'd been friends for ages.
The conversation covered the usual questions .... where have you lived? what did you think of it? did you learn the language? how's the new house? are you feeling settled? what school? what preschool? can you recommend a (insert gardener, babysitter, hairdresser etc)? fav restaurants? Ikea. Packing/unpacking tales. Ridiculous rents. Recreational ideas with/without kids. What sports do you play/watch?
We didn't exchange surnames.
But we did exchange mobile phone numbers.
I shared one of our child minders details.
I invited her to come along to the Int. Women's Club meeting next month.
The guys were talking work. Culture. Hours. Attitude. Comparisons to other offices they have worked in around the world. They are in completey different industries doing different things, but the fact they have both worked in different countries gave them a common thread.
We were talking parks, playgrounds, hairdressers, Easter holiday ideas and about the Club.
There were smiles and laughter. All good signs.
There was nodding in agreement.
The conversation flowed well.
I think we might have found new friends - it's not often G and I meet a couple for the first time together, and our double-date went very well.
Hope they like us as much as we liked them.
Time with tell.
That's the thing with finding a new friend - you just never know where it'll take you.