Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The expat merry-go-round, what goes around, comes around

I am coming to the conclusion the phrase ‘Global Village’ is an increasingly apt description of the world, particularly if you are riding the expat merry go round of life.

I am currently overjoyed that great friends from our days outside New York rocked up in Sydney a month ago and live in hallooing distance.  Meanwhile another fabulous friend with whom I have shared coffees and wines in Sydney and London is now living in Amsterdam  (step forward The Dutchess - and we are constantly discovering links through the people she meets.  Based on the way things are panning out it is only a matter of time until we work out we are married to the same man as so far the combination of her new friends and my brother and my friends are providing spooky 2 degrees of separation type connections between the pair of us.

I just love Anita Renfroe and her brilliant gallop through the William Tell Overture complete with all of the words those of us blessed or cursed with children (your assessment of the state may depend on which side of the maternal witching hour and first wine of the day you are) use everyday.

The verse, “Be Polite, Make a friend, Don’t forget to share” could be the Expat mantra – you land in a new town, new country, new school yards, new scary Parent Teacher president and the savvy serial mover mum immediately volunteers, joins in, takes a deep breath and throws herself into playground conversations with complete strangers.  Faced with walking into a room full of new faces, tempting though it is for Husband and I to huddle in a corner, clutching a glass of warm white wine, whilst exchanging tense smiles and missing the friends of the last place, we have now adopted a type of divide and conquer method where we split and try and work our way through the room in an attempt to kick start the finding the bosom friends we know are out there, process.

The bizarre thing however is that during the getting to know you process we almost inevitably find there’s some connection – or that we are bumping into people whom we knew years ago in a different city/continent/life. 

Each time we have moved country kind friends have come up with siblings, friends, ex next door neighbours or penpals who live in that city and provided me with names and numbers that I write dutifully down at the back of my address book – and I can now guarantee that within the first six months I will have come across those scribbled down names, often in the most bizarre circumstances and will blurt out mid conversation “Oh I know who you are.  Your Aunty Mavis gave me your number”. 

As a result of all this bumping into each other serendipity, I have come to the conclusion that you are almost guaranteed your past will be catching up with you big time – and as I say to the Drama Queens in my own personal Mom-mantra, it’s not worth being mean, aside from the morals of the situation, other women are hard wired to remember these things and you don’t want to run into someone in Sydney whose first thought on seeing you is “That’s the mean woman from London/Hong Kong/New York/Mumbai/Dubai ……….”  I’d much rather be remembered as the mad woman who knew Aunty Mavis!

1 comment:

  1. Not that I move around but the expat world is incredibly small isn't it? Friends of mine just visited family in Thailand, and met my old college friend while they were out there!