On friendship

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.

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8 responses to “On friendship

  1. I bet it was a great time. All you say about making friends in a new place is so true. It’s a tough journey. How wonderful that blogging has been able to ease the path for you.

  2. Not easy moving away, it’s good that you’ve met up with ex pats, I have known the loneliness of living in a foreign country, mainly due to the cultural gap. 30 yrs ago coming to Italy was like moving back in time….things have changed.

  3. Reading your blog and finding out common experiences makes the expat-adjustment less harsh, and many times it reminds me to see the funnier side of things instead of being hard on myself for not getting things “right”.

  4. Im really pleased you had a good day, in spite of the jet lag. No one could have guessed you were full of jetlag, you were on form as usual–friendly, witty, warm, interested and interesting. Really good to meet up with you again… looking forward to some tex mex in the near future!

  5. Despite our yawning war in the car, I still stayed up til 3am with the Hubby. Had a really great time with everyone as well 🙂

  6. It was great meeting you and the things you write about in your post, about making new friends, is so true. Once you get out of college, where you make friends easily because of shared interests and ‘being in the trenches together’ so to speak, it is a lot more difficult to make new friends. The great thing about meeting up with fellow bloggers is that, as Kat said, you already have a shared interest and a starting point for the conversation. I promise never to mention Velveeta or Cheez-its in your presence again! Looking forward to the next lunch.

  7. Likewise, good to see you again (and you did a great job of covering your jet-lag) and meeting new people. It’s always good to get together with folks from the old country.

  8. Pingback: Expat blogger meet-up round-up « Not From Around Here

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