Tuesday, 15 August 2017

ms-havachat and the whole Mover, Greeter thing

There are expats the world over lamenting the loss of friend/s who have moved over summer, which means, there are expat's the world over getting ready to either BE the newbie or GREET the newbie.

This year, we are again GREETERS of newbies, and sad to see friends leave.

Summer is the big corporate domino moving game, especially when school aged kids are involved. (Northern hemisphere-wise as the new school year starts in August/September). You often hear 'here we go again' or 'it's that time of year' or 'it seems more/less people are moving than last year' or 'did you hear (insert name) is leaving!'

The MOVERS are in their in their serviced accommodation while scouting the available properties looking for their new home OR they have their new home and are waiting for shipments to arrive before moving in. Some who left early in the summer and moved short distances (UK to Europe for example) are already in their new homes with their shipment unpacked ready to explore their new locale. Kids are getting ready for their new school/new school year; the lead parent (read this on Two Fat Expats Facebook page in a conversation and quite liked the term) is doing research on school supplies, local shops, hairdressers, GP's etc all the while on the look out for a new friend.

There's been lots of photo's on Facebook of packing boxes and Ikea deliveries.

Some things never change in the life of a global nomad.

Then there are all the new friends we've not met yet doing the same thing as they ARRIVE, aka NEWBIES! Maybe one of them will move into a familiar house recently vacated by a friend or buy their car from the local used car dealer who specialises in working with the expat community.

They too are surrounded by packing boxes and Ikea deliveries.

School has started the 2017/18 year in some parts of the world, and for those families it's been new routines, maybe a uniform (or not), new schedules, new friends .... I smile when I think of how we send our kids to a new school on the first day with the 'go have fun and make friends' conversations and simply expect them do just that.

Our school starts back end of August and we've already met a few new families at informal social events that school has held primarily for the new families but with returning parents/kids participation. It's a great chance to meet'n'greet the new families/kids before the rush of first day school.

Friendships in expat life are made quickly - there's not much time to muck around as one of you will probably leave sooner rather than later. Of course some don't work out, but on the whole you manage to make good judgement calls.

This year several friends have moved to new cities where we have  friends already living there! It's not even six degrees of separation! I am their main link to a possible friendship.

If Friend A and I are friends; and Friend B and I were friends when we were living in the same city and remain friends despite one/both of us moving on, then surely Friend A and Friend B will have something in common, other than me, to make a friendship from! SURELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(And if not, as has been known to happen, then at the very least there's a voice on the end of a phone call, or email support in the early days.)

it goes something like this, in an email or FB messenger:

Hi Everyone, 
(general hi's and how are you's)

(Friend A), I'd love for you to meet (Friend B) who has recently moved from (country) to your part of the world. We met at (insert) and have really enjoyed our time together. (Friend B) meet (Friend A), we met (insert where you met and how long ago) and I'm hoping you'll be a source of support and information for her. 

I've been able to hook up friends in KL, Singapore and UK! The UK friends are living literally within walking distance to each other (small world, right?)

Alternatively, I was contacted by a friend from Dublin who has a friend moving to London who reached out to me. Sadly, I don't live in London and can't help her, but I did put her in touch with a few groups I know of and was able to answer a few questions.

I love how open to the possibility of a new friend, introduced by another people are.

Some people think it's hard to make friends as we grow older and maybe it is if you stay put. You've got your circle of friends and your social life is fulfilling. People don't come and go ... they stay close. But in expat life, you DO have to make friends as you grow older, as some people don't tend to stay around for long, or you're the one who has a time limit on your being around.

My days are made so much better for the diverse friendships I have. Every day can be different simply because of who I'm sharing it with and I love that!

I love that I have a friendship group that will accept an email, asking them to look out for a friend, and that a global riendship network is well supported.

Seeing photo's of friends together makes my heart soar, and sometimes I shed a tear as I yearn to be there with them, sharing the moment.

Daily doses of friendship come in many forms - a Skype chat, an email, a quick Facebook messenger chat or a WhatsApp update as so many live overseas. There's also walks in park, coffee or lunch dates, shopping expeditions and day trips into London.

My life is sweet and overflows with drops of honey, how about yours?

What's your friendship network like?
What experiences have you had playing friendship matchmaker?
How do you go about making new friends?
Do you prefer to be the GREETER or MOVER/Newbie? Why?

To all the MOVERS, happy safe landings.

To all the GREETERS, remember you were a Mover once, be open and kind and generous with your time and support, you never know, there might just be a few new friend waiting to find you

With friendship


  1. This is a lovely post and thanks for being such a great greeter!