I'm referring to the actual physical beings, not the television show. Yesterday I had lunch with a small group of expat women, who came from places as far as the US, Canada, China, Colombia and Singapore. One of our main topics of conversation was that of friendship and the feeling of belonging/identity. Three of are married to Aussie blokes, and for us, this poses a particular challenge. Not that Aussie lads are inherently flawed, but more so that fitting into their circle of friends is a hard path to go down, at times. This could be said for anyone moving to their partner's country and trying to find their way into a life already begun. If I haven't mentioned before, when I got my spousal visa for Australia, a part of the application was a form titled the 'Australian Values Statement' that I had to sign, saying that I agreed to accept Australian values. While I thought the while thing was highly ethnocentrically biased, I did get a slight laugh over the value of 'mateship'. Since then, I've found that it's no laughing matter. I was warned about this by a fellow expat who'd previously lived in Oz, but paid it little attention at the time. My husband's mates go back many, many years. It's wonderful that he has had some of those friends for 15 years or so, and majority of them I have no objection to. In fact, I even like some of them;) What has not been so comfortable is that, in true incestuous Adelaide nature, some of those friends are also ex-girlfriends. One of those has been very nice to me and is well and truly over my man, so it's less of an issue these days. That being said, it was a little odd going to a bbq the other month. The scenario: myself, my husband, his best mate, his best mate's wife (who is best mate's with my husband's ex-fiance), hubs ex-fiance, and hub's ex-fiance's new boyfriend. That is a mouthful, hey? Now, as I said, I like the ex, she's been super nice and welcoming to me and actually gone out of her way in doing so, and she's my husband's clubbing partner, which means I know he's hanging out with quality people at least when he does go out amongst the less geriatric crowd;) That being said, there is something about spending your Saturday night with someone your husband has seen naked...a lot. There was a moment that evening when hubs and best mate were chatting away, ex and best mate's wife were chatting away, and ex's new boyfriend and I just looked at each other and had a good eye roll.
Part of my not feeling like I fit in here, or in with the hub's crowd more specifically, is my own insecurity, part of it is that I have little in common (could be perception) with the mates, that they have this bond that I'm going to have to be patient to wait to be any part of, and part of it could be that I'm not trying hard enough. I'm hopeful than when the porch is done, the dining room is cleaned up, and the heater is in, I can actually begin to entertain a bit more and rectify some of this. In the meantime, it's an other example of the patience and flexibility needed in the expat lifestyle.