I can honestly say that when I started this blog, all about my life as an expat in the UK, it never occurred to me that I would end up making real-life friends because of it. For starters, I am semi-anonymous in my writing, for a variety of reasons. For another, I had hoped that I would meet wonderful people through work and other things and end up with a huge network of friends in my immediate vicinity. The latter has been a little bit true, I’ve met some great friends here through work (mostly the trailing spouses of work colleagues, since I am a rare female in a man’s world) and I’ve been so glad for that. But it’s not been nearly enough. And I’ve been so fortunate to meet some amazing people that I would never have met if not for this blog.
Today we had an expat bloggers’ meet-up, thanks to the organizational prowess of Michelloui of Mid-Atlantic English who I’ve met on a couple of occasions now. I got to see, again, my good friend Kat, of 3 bedroom bungalow. I got to see Mike, from Postcards from across the pond, and his lovely wife. I’ve met them once before in a really lovely afternoon spent touring my town. I got to meet a new blogger, Nappy Valley Housewife. It was a really fun afternoon, even though I was half asleep still after my adventures with BA and Switzerland.
The great thing about fellow expat bloggers, and the people that love them, is that we have common ground. It’s the friendship equivalent of e-Harmony, where people are supposedly matched for love by a questionnaire about their lives and preferences. (NB I’ve taken the e-Harmony test and found that I cannot be matched by them, as I am one of the less than 10% of people who are not suited to their algorithm. It makes one think…) We are all from different parts of the US, we are all in the UK for different reasons and we’ve been here for different numbers of years. But there are underlying similarities that come from our background and which give us common ground upon which to establish real friendships.
It’s awesome, from my view. The people that I know in my computer, the virtual friends, have been transitioning into real friends. I have a new social network of people in the UK that I can relate to and with whom I can commiserate on the things that make me both happy and unhappy in this foreign existence. Making new friends as a mid-thirties person is tough. And that’s true even if you’re in your home country. As an expat, it’s even more difficult. Meeting friends is worth a great deal and although I never expected it, the people I’ve met through this blog have been amongst the best friends I’ve had the chance to meet in a long time.