Wednesday, March 5, 2014

friendship: part of the expat journey


This is gonna sound kind of funny but one of our goals when we moved abroad was to make friends. It's not that we don't and didn't have friends back in the states. We did and we do. Great ones. Ones who fly to where you are on the drop of a hat after your father dies. Ones who send you a care package full of your favorite soups and homemade cookies. Ones who follow your blog like crazy and like all your photos and comment on all your adventures. Ones who Skype you all the time. Ones you miss like crazy. But they weren't where we were; they had to fly to be with us. 

We wanted to make Friday night at the bar friends or let's hang out and binge watch TV friends or lets go grab some dinner friends or hey they are married and love each other too and fight sometimes too friends

We were lacking in those kind of friends. 

And then we moved to Taiwan and found a solid group of friends. Some are married, some are single. Some are avid travelers, some are avid teachers. Some are very, very different than us and some are very, very similar. That's the cool thing about moving abroad: you meet all kinds of people. 

We have made great friendships but two stand out from the others: Jamie and her husband. 

They are a super cool married couple who we spend a lot of time with. I work at the same school as Jamie's husband and the four of us came to Taiwan at the same time. We hit it off right away.  In the past year and a half, we've traveled the world together: Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan too. We have game nights a lot and play way too much euchre. And they have bailed us out of sticky situations on numerous occasions like loaning us money or subbing for me for two weeks. What can I say? Sometimes life as an expat can get a bit tricky.  

They are great friends and people we want to know 10 years from now even if we are living in different countries on different continents. I think one of the hardest things about expat life is that things are fleeting: homes, schools and people. But the four of us often talk about meeting up in different countries on our breaks regardless of where we call home. 

Recently, Jamie and I had a ladies afternoon adventure and scooted off in our matching green jackets and pink helmets and cameras to the little sea town of Nanliao. We stopped for some coffee [me] and wine [Jamie] and chatted about a lot of things. The really important thing about expat friends in particular? They understand more than anyone else how radically our lives changed since moving abroad, both for the good and bad, and can commiserate. 

After chatting in a strange pizza joint crammed into the corner by the bathroom, we explored the town and took pictures before scooting off to the biggest mall in Hsinchu so she could buy beer and chips and I could buy movie theater popcorn, literally from a movie theater, and bring it back home because I love my husband way.too.much.

Now I am realizing that it is ridiculous that here I am talking about our friends but all I have to show you is pictures from Nanliao but trust me when I say that you don't want to know what scooter wind + humidity does to one's hair. 

See, that is something Jamie understands.









12 comments

  1. I'm so glad you guys have People there! It's much harder without People.

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    1. I can't wait to come home so I can see all of my People!

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  2. I'm so glad we found each other!

    and yes, you don't know the disaster that is humid/windy/helmet head until you've experienced it :) xo

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  3. Making friends in your new home is so important. We keep moving on, but those friends remain. I feel like we have friends (and therefore love) around the world, and that makes me feel very special.

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    1. It is a very unique thing to have! Plus, it opens up so many travel opportunities to go visit friends wherever they may be :)

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  4. It makes the experience SO much more enjoyable when you have friends to enjoy it with! Looks like you two had a wonderful day out!

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    1. I agree. I cannot imagine how lonely it can be if you move abroad and do not land somewhere with a strong expat community. We are looking to make this lifestyle permanent and that will definitely be something we have to consider.

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  5. Great photos! I love the different perspectives. So about making friends and being an expat, it certainly is a challenge isn't it? I always found myself comparing my old friends from back home to the new friends I would make, and that was always a horrible mistake. Now that I've repatriated I'm realizing how difficult it is to make new friends in the US and just how clichy it is here. I really miss the openness of the Brits. But at the end of the day US is my home, and there is so much to love in both places. xx

    Life+1
    New Post: To Barre or Not to Barre

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    1. I think we were really lucky to land in the middle of a great group of expat friends. Most of them are young, friendly and adventurous people! I think it would be impossible to move to a new city in America and happen upon a group of friends like we did in Taiwan.

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  6. Making friends in a new place can be so hard but makes the travel experience richer! It's just great to have some people you can share things with. I've found it exceptionally hard to make any friends while travelling because my fiancé and I move around every few days! So I definitely miss that friendship!

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    1. I understand. When we backpacked through SE Asia, we met one married couple and traveled to two places with them but otherwise we were on our own. It can be hard to meet people, especially when you go against the grain. We have never been partiers/heavy drinkers and it seemed like a lot of the backpackers we met, especially in SE Asia, were all about that. I think that long term travel is actually really good for couples though precisely for this reason: you depend on each other and see the good, the bad and the ugly :)

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