Well back at the beginning of October I blogged on trying to make new friends out here in Singapore. http://www.singaporetales.co.uk/2013/10/making-friends.html At that time, after living here 7 months, I had only met a couple of people and was slightly struggling, with loneliness beginning to creep up on me.
Well, I was lying in bed in the predawn hours this morning, thinking as you do when you wake in the early hours when sleep evades you, on how things have changed in just 3 months.........
I gave myself a kick up the backside after that blog post and decided to do something about it. As an expat I read a lot of the expat forums, am constantly on Facebook and twitter and follow other bloggers that are "virtual" friends, of which some have now become "real" friends and again some that we've agreed to meet up with in 2014. I read on one expat site about "meetup" http://www.meetup.com/about/ This is an online site where you can search for local groups with interests similar to your own, join for free and then go along to "meetups"... self explanatory really. Anyway I firstly joined a "stay at home wives" group here in Singapore and promptly did nothing!!!!
A month down the line though there was a walking meetup along the East Coast, something I do most days anyway, so I thought "what the hell" and went along. Talk about nerve-racking, it was how I imagined a blind date to be and I'm not sure if I was sweating due to the ever humid weather here or through nerves!! Anyway it turned out great and I met a lovely group of women from all walks of life and all parts of the globe.
After that initial meeting it has proved much easier with at least one meetup each week, although one week it turned out I went to 4!!! I have since become friends with several women and have joined another group also. Now its not just coffee mornings and lunches (I still don't want to be classed as a "lady that lunches"!!) although coffee at Ah Tengs Bakery in Raffles yesterday was lovely, even if a bottle of mineral water was $15!!!! there are visits to fairs, museums, cultural walks around the island and much much more.
I was chatting to one lady yesterday that I had just met, who was from Canada via Sao Paulo and Bermuda. We agreed that although we now have plenty of friends and acquaintances we still have yet to find that one special "bestie" The one that you can confide in, get drunk with, cry with, moan about your lovely husbands with.... but I'm sure with time this will come (although perhaps our husbands won't appreciate that!)
In fact new acquaintances are popping up everywhere, on returning from yesterdays it turned out a women on the bus lives in the same condo and tower as me and guess what we're meeting up! She's also in the process of setting up a register of people with like minded interests in our condo, so we can get a real community happening here, something that is definitely lacking at the present.
Anyway as I laid awake thinking on how things have changed so quickly and, in such a short space of time, I realised that I now probably know more people out here than I did in the UK at anyone time. They are from all different backgrounds, and different countries and have interesting stories and life experiences to tell. Some are first time expats like me and some have been travelling all there adult lives, indeed some seem to have been travelling since birth!
Just some of the countries my friends and acquaintance come from.........
And of course those from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
I'm sure if I think harder the list would grow ever more.
So my quest for 2014 is grow this circle even larger, which in turn will grow me as a person I am sure. To hopefully find that elusive best friend, but not ever taking the place of my lifelong best friends back in the UK who I know will always be there for me and me for them likewise regardless of the miles between us. We have shared so much of what life has thrown at us and come out the other side still smiling, if slightly crookedly and with usually a glass of "something" in our hands.
Heres to friends - old and new!