One of the interesting aspects of moving to a different country is how you find yourself tested. Fundamentally, your core strengths are tested, and your weaknesses are revealed, but ultimately, I find that with most people, you realise you are a lot more resilient than you give yourself credit for. It is no mean feat to up and move from a place where all is familiar and where you have history, to somewhere where you have to explain yourself, start over, jump in the deep end… One of the hardest aspects of this is making new friends.
Steve and I had this conversation once where we discussed how making friends is just like dating. You meet someone, you like them, you want to ask for their number, but you are too embarrassed. If you get a number, you wonder how long you should wait to call. And you feel like you have to have an excuse, some event lined up or outing planned to include the person in, so that you don’t come across as marginally desperate or possibly psychotic. It is a fine balance. So finally you work up the courage, go for coffee, but how do you then get The Second Date? It is exhausting. As Steve commented, you almost want a snog out of it at the end of the night, because it’s been such an effort! This may seem like an exaggeration, but it is really hard to start out again at this stage of life, looking for a set of good, close friends when you already have a fabulous group of those at home. I find that one of the things I miss most from being away is the ability to just call up a girlfriend and say ‘hey! Let’s go for coffee’. And there is no explanation needed of who I am, why I’m here, what I do etc to go through.
That being said, it is sometimes rather liberating to be somewhere where no one has any preconceived ideas or perceptions of who you are and how you act. It is very freeing to be able to just be. There are no obligations to certain people or things you have to go and do, even though you would eagerly volunteer for a lobotomy rather than having to put yourself through the ordeal. I have also found it has made me somewhat bolder in getting in touch with people who are friends of friends, or random acquaintances, and you soon realise that sometimes when we get set in our ways with our existing groups, we miss out on opportunities to meet fabulous other people.
I understand it takes some time to settle in, find a niche, feel more at home, and things are definitely looking up, but it is also a long, slow, process. Now the next test I just need to get through is for my BC Driver’s Licence!