My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Learning how to make friends

I have been fortunate to have the same close friends for most of my life.  My support system in the United States is pretty incredible.  I am surrounded by people who listen to my problems and make me laugh and who have helped me out in many, many ways.  If I need a babysitter, there are people that I can call.  If my car won't start or there is a leaky faucet, the handy people show up to rescue me.  I have friends who are incredible cooks who share their talents with me, and I have friends who have tried to turn my black thumb green.  I have people to go to the movies with or to go out to eat with, and I have wonderful colleagues who share their teaching ideas with me.
Because I have known most of my friends for so long, I have not had to make much of an effort to meet new people in quite a while.  I have just stayed in my comfort zone for years.  Now, however, I find myself  in a new town in a foreign country where I know no one, and I don't really know how to go about making connections.  I live on the fourth floor of an apartment building so that does not exactly facilitate human contact.  People keep to themselves in a community like this unless someone is bothering them.
Jed has not had any trouble at all meeting kids despite the language barrier.  He just goes out into the courtyard in front of our building with a ball, and boys show up from all directions.  Just this morning, twin boys (Kylian and Mattéo, I think) brought him a note in English that said, "Do you want my friend?  Welcome in France!"  It was adorable!
Jed is starting to feel a little guilty about all of his social success, though.  He told me yesterday that he would try to help me meet people.  I guess that he is used to me talking on the phone more or going out with the girls on Wednesday nights.  I try to tell him that I am not lonely, though.  I am enjoying his interactions, and I am just trying to figure out how to do my new job.
My new best friends are cheese and bread and wine and Facebook.  These might not be the healthiest relationships, but they'll do for the moment.

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