Wednesday, March 14, 2012

you've made it this far...

Recently I reached out to a new transplant who had posted a search for new friends - he's a new expat and relocated here with his wife, a Czech woman, who has since reconnected with her old friends and left him to fend for himself. I've met quite a few people who have gone through that situation and it's been rough on all of them. I wrote and told him about some open events - mixers, parties, etc, that he might want to check out; opportunities to connect with new people and maybe check out a new place or two.  I wasn't actually going to be at the next few, but they're open and meant specifically for people in his situation - strangers looking to form ties in their new community.

The response I received, in summary, was that he'd heard of these social groups before but really couldn't be bothered as he hadn't seen anything that appealed to him just yet or fit in his price range. That, in my opinion, was unfortunate. I'd referred him to at least one local group that held regular mixers all over the city on a regular basis. Rarely is the location the appeal; it's the opportunity to meet new people. Never is there a cover charge or any other required cost.  Maybe he didn't want to go to a restaurant/bar/club/jazz club/hike/walk/bike/play volleyball/badminton/football/take a day trip/tour a castle/visit a winery/etc. Maybe he didn't want to pay for a beer/water/wine/soda/food/other optional purchase while he was out... Maybe. But asking for info about a social gathering and then shutting down an invitation to a social gathering, when you don't have contacts or connections is, in my opinion, ridiculous and self-defeating

Here's my tip for potential expats - you can't shut out options. Not as an expat. Not if you want to survive. You will do things you don't find immediately attractive. You will meet people you don't mesh with on a higher level. You will sit through gatherings for a few minutes wondering what you're doing. You will do these things and more. Why? Because somewhere, at sometime, you will meet people who share interests with you, who you do connect with, who you want to be around and laugh with and who you truly enjoy. But until you step out and engage in what is offered to the group you won't be able to connect with the right individuals. I wish it were otherwise at times. I really do. I wish that events and such were tailor-made but they're not. And until you join and get involved and create your own events that are likely to attract similarly minded people you'll be stuck at home wishing you knew someone you could connect with.

I'm not trying to be harsh or overly critical.  i want this guy to succeed here. Just as I want any other person to. I've gone through the loneliness and it's miserable. But you've got to be willing to participate. If you've moved around the world don't hesitate when it comes to stepping out the door.

poor little journalist in training

Earlier this week I heard a gripe. It went something like this, "Ugh! Class is cancelled this week. I have to go to the film festival instead." (That would be Jeden Svet - One World. It is an international documentary film festival and well worth the trip, even if you don't have a teacher making you go.)

My response was a little cheerier than appreciated in the moment. It was something like, oh that's nice, are you going as a class or on your own, have to write a paper on it?... along those lines. And was met with another exasperated response. "We each have to go on our own. I have to pick which film to see and then interview the director about it. UGH!"

Isn't that sort of ideal when you're a journalism major? Here, student - pick one of these fascinating topics, don't go to school, go watch a movie and then interview the key participants?

Is my concept wrong?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

kitchen wishin'

My daughter has expressed a desire for an apple corer. And better pots, pans and knives. And better lighting in the kitchen.

I'm so proud of her.