Friday, 9 May 2008

A New Definition of Family

When I lived in England, my friends Steve & Paula used to regularly invite me over for dinner, Sunday pub lunches, or just to spend a weekend day at their house. I loved it. Most of my time in England I lived in a dorm, and life was just plain lonely a lot, despite being on a new adventure in a different country. I always thought it was so excessively nice of them, and while I appreciated the hospitality, sometimes I felt a bit of mooch, even though I considered them great friends. Now that I'm finally settled, happy where I am, and have some time to do so, I think I understand better. I find myself wanting to reach out to people, and while a lot of the time that is in order to make new friends, it's also because I realise how a little goes a long way as an expat. Definitions of friendship change, and reticence goes away. Your friends can be your family when you're that far away from blood, and you share a bond with people who've gone through the same experiences. I was an exceptionally shy child, but I'm so over that these days. I may still be nervous meeting new people, but as someone once said, when you're an expat in a new country, accept every single invite you get, and meet as many people as possible. Life changes...


steveg said...

Awwww That's sweet of you to say that about us Susan, but it wasn't all altruism on our part - we enjoyed your company too!

We knew you were a long way from home and family, and we sort of "adopted" you (as we are an "older" couple) and tucked you under the expat wing, so to speak. Paula found it nice to have a fellow American to speak with, and I, well I was around to meddle with your computer if it became necessary. Frankly I also enjoyed being the font of all local knowledge if it became necessary - made me feel useful from time to time! :-)

Besides it gave us a good excuse to go out to Sunday lunch too - not that we need much of an excuse you know :-)

We miss seeing you however, and hope that one day, either you can both flip back here for a cameo visit or I can a) afford it and b) manage to frogmarch Paula onto a plane for a 24 hour journey to OZ (wouldn't that be great?

I like to come back here to your blog and see how you guys are doing, and see your pictures. I am glad to see and read that all seems well with you both.

Best Wishes

Steve (and Paula, who is busy setting up her computer gear downstairs)

Diane Mandy said...

I think that's excellent advice! I'm a new expat and eagerly accept every invitation.

Suzer said...

Yes I know you enjoyed my company as well:) And I miss seeing you guys too and hope we'll get to see each other again, one way or another. You always have a place to stay here if and when;) Hope the unpacking and settling in is going well, and you're having fun with it---as much fun as you can have with moving!