Interrupted

1:22 PM

There are people who live in the same town all there lives and rarely have to make new friends. Then there are people like us expats who change countries and find ourselves in a bit of a bind: we have no friends.

When we chat about it we like to marvel at how exactly we all came to meet. There is a story behind each and every friendship that I have over here, but all of them come down to this: I heard you speaking American English to your kids.....(or Spanish in the case of a Spanish friend of mine).

Our friendships also usually came about because we had kids around the same age. There is one lady over here who I really like and we would probably become good friends if we ever had the chance. The problem is that her kids are boys and just a tad older which makes it hard to set up play dates (which are just another term for mommy's coffee time over here!) What is a 6 and 8 year old boy going to do in my house filled with princesses? Yeah, not much.

Of course, the majority of the times that I get together with any of my friends it is also towing along our children. Which is great in the sense that you get your children occupied too, but it is bad in the sense that conversation gets interrupted quite often. And many of the strings of conversation never get picked up again. This makes it quite hard to get another layer deeper in the friendship, which is something I realized today.

I may know who has parents that are still married or who has brothers and sister, and maybe even where they went to college or what they studied, but more than anything I know about their present life; the here and now. We talk about what we share in common more than anything: being an expat, having kids, giving birth abroad, etc.

Today, in a quite moment during a play date with a friends of mine she asked me about age difference between my brothers and sister and I. Which led to our relationship with each other. Which led to me explaining some things. And just as I was explaining why my older brother and I have drifted apart due to his hellish last few years (ie. his son dying) we got interrupted.

We tried to pick up the conversation again and were again interrupted.

On the third pick up we got a bit farther but again got interrupted and life went on. Another string started and the lasts conversation was forgotten. Or perhaps we just gave up....

It isn't anyone's fault, it just happens, but it made me think. I have two friends back home that know all of my history as well as my family history I can refer back to something that happened ten years ago and they would know exactly what I was saying. No problem. And I find it fascinating that there are some people in this world in which all there friends are this kind of friend.

Then I have my expat friends who move in and move out and who I end up meeting in a park and cross my fingers that we will get along and when we do we have to get over that hump of knowing enough history about each other to know for sure if we will be friends or not. And when your kids keep interrupting you sometimes it takes a long time to get over that hump and find yourself comfortable with the other person's likes and dislikes, knowing a bit of their family history, knowing a bit about their husband and their children and their life back home, etc.

But then there is nothing lovelier than the day that you realize that you are over that hump and are truely friends who enjoy each other's company, who feel comfortable in each other's home and will continue to get along until the friendship gets interrupted by someone moving. But then, that is life as an expat!

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