Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Friends & Happiness

Any time you move, you have to worry about how you are going to make friends. I've moved to enough new cities where we knew no one to know how important this part of making a new city your home is.

In our case, I knew that Simon was my ticket! I just wasn't sure where to enter. How do I find all these mommies and daddies out there? I found out quickly enough - Stalking! A few days after moving into our new neighborhood (July) I overheard a couple with a small baby (about one) speaking English (and not just English, American English.) I immediately panicked as they passed me and started crossing the street. Should I follow them? What will I say? Ah, worry later, I decided and started following. Halfway down the next block they stopped at a restaurant and I hovered until the "appropriate" moment and just blurted out, "Hi, you guys speak English? Do you live around here?" That conversation got me connected with a huge group of ex-pat parents (mostly, bus some Germans too!) that meet-up regularly at parks, cafes, swimming pools, zoos, etc. with the kiddos.

But we don't just do stuff with our kids. We are friends. We support each other. We provide resources to each other. And (most of us) share the common experience of being a foreigner here. We even try to meet up for drinks without the kids, and do occasional weekend brunches so our spouses get to meet as well.

I have also made friends through courses we (Simon and I) have done here, such as PEKIP and Babyschwimmen. Through this I have made close friends - as well as more acquaintances that I continue to speak German to. (I think being close friends and speaking German only are rather mutually exclusive at this point - but I'm working on it.) We have also made friends at the Spielcafe near our flat and at a Stilltreffen (breastfeeding group). I give Simon all the credit - he's so damn cute!

We already know more people here than any other place we have lived. At the park, in the Altstadt, or walking around our neighborhood I often run into people I know. We really feel like we are part of a community here. We have it all - FRIENDS & HAPPINESS!