05 December 2010

Finding friends abroad

[Gorgeous doggy photo from edart on Etsy]

Have a quick look at any ex-pat blog and chances are sooner or later you'll find a post on friendship. And this is because finding a friend when you are far from home can be a little tricky.

Sure, it's very easy to find acquaintances, probably easier than if you were at home.  There are always people, maybe a little bit like you, who are desperate to have a 'normal' conversation, in their own language.  Or there are people who are looking for a travel buddy to accompany them on their latest adventure to a market on the other side of town.  Or there are people looking for the latest sucker kind-hearted individual to join their committee for the local international kindergarten, or to help them raise funds for injured indigenous cats.

But to find a friend, someone with similar likes and passions and wants as you, now that's tricky. And that's kind of okay with me.  I have people who mean a lot to me back in Australia, and I always try to make the time to call them or email them or visit them.  I have a bunch of wonderful, inspiring, supportive on--line buddies who I really treasure (and hope to meet in real life one day!). And I have my wonderful husband and my wonderful family, who both drive me crazy and keep me sane.  

Besides, I have always leaned towards the life of the hermit, with time to myself and a small circle of close friends.  I can safely say that on the friends abroad front, my expectations are rather low and that's okay.

So it comes as a pleasant surprise to think I may have met someone in Seoul who could one day possibly be a friend!  Gah!  Exciting!  (Excuse me while I giggle like a school girl...).  

Like me, she is a tiny bit anti-social, in that she likes to avoid the small-town gossipy mess that some ex-pat spouse communities can degenerate in to.  She also has a dog that means the world to her.  And like me, one of her biggest concerns if the whole North-South Korea thing goes haywire is how to get her furry loved one to safety.  To the point where she actually rang the Australian Embassy in Seoul about it.  And the quarantine department in Canberra.  Which makes for an hilarious crazy-dog lady story over dinner, but I think it's also kind of cool too.

She likes to craft and to paint.  And, importantly, she likes the same white wine as me.

And when, last night after dinner, I told her that I was in the process of trying to loose weight, she said, in an honest matter-of-fact kind of way: 'you've only got a few more kilos to go'.  Nothing fawning, or passive aggressive, or snarky.  Just a simple, yep, well, good on you, kind of response. What a lovely, lovely thing!

Anyway, I must not get too carried away, I don't want to jinx it!  


  1. That's good news indeed. I remember being an ex-pat and it was hard to find kindred spirits. But at least you have a great excuse to be out on the prowl for new friends. It's much harder when you decide you want some fresh friendships and you have to explain why you appear to be a Nigel!! x

  2. PS - I popped over here from Jodie's place, Mummy Mayhem, and I'm so glad I did. x

  3. Good friends are hard to find... anywhere! <3 Congrats and good for both of you!

  4. This is so true. I have to say I've not met anyone where I was like YEAAAAH over...if that makes sense!
    Good friends are hard to find anywhere in the world but on top of differences of language and culture (even amongst the expats) it feels impossible but luckily like you I'm also quite hermit like and don't really get down about it especially when I have my monkey (dog) and duck (OH) to be with.

  5. Hey Em, don't worry about jinxing it, just enjoy it while it's happening, share the wine and the dog stories and you don;t even need to lose a few kilos, thoung spending lots of tiem amongs the beautiful Koreans could make anyone feel big.


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