New Friends in New Places
When I was given the ‘go ahead’ to write a guest blog on Tizzie’s site I had to stop and really think about what topic I was going to address. I mean, I’m not an expert on sleeping, feeding and all things baby. But there was something else that can be equally as challenging (that both Tizzie and I have experienced) and that’s picking up sticks and moving all the way across the world.
I moved back to Oz in September, 2010 after living overseas for 10 years. Some of you may feel that having already lived here before I was one up in the relocation stakes but I have to say that although I could drive places without a map, pretty much everything else was new. Plus, I had left a singleton and returned a mother of two, so was completely unaware of resources for parents in Australia. To give you an idea of how much had changed I left for OS with a Discman and a film camera; coming back my camera had gone digital and I had acquired an ipod!
The first word that comes to mind when relocating is challenging, the second is isolating. Although I had friends when I left they had now scattered to the four corners of Melbourne and life had moved on. Dinner was now fish fingers at 5pm and drinks were those found in a sippy cup. I needed to make new friends but had missed mothers’ groups and there’s not really time to strike up a conversation when doing drop-off at the childcare centre.
I decided the first thing I would do was be ballsy. My desire to make friends outweighed the embarrassment of approaching mums and I became a master at starting up conversations on the tram, in supermarkets and at immunisation sessions (you can talk about their/your kids – the ultimate ice breaker!). If someone seemed nice I would let them know I was new in town and would they mind catching up for coffee sometime?
I also enrolled my daughter in activities and classes and made it a mission to meet mums while my daughter sang and danced. Playgroups were also fab for getting that initial contact.
Lastly, I asked my daughter who she played with at nursery and left messages for their mums to bring their daughter’s around for a playdate. Even if I didn’t manage to make any lifelong friends out of it, my daughter did, and this was of equal importance to me.
So, how did I go? Well, I’ve managed to develop one friendship and have learnt loads about meeting people that may be helpful to you in your travels.
- It will take a hell of a lot longer to form a friendship later in life as you just don’t have the time to put in you used to – and you have kids distracting you both all of the time!
- Everyone is busy and although people may have the best of intentions, you will get let down a lot. Don’t take it personally.
- Take the lead! If you sit back and wait for the phone to ring there is every chance you will have lonely days.
- Develop a hobby or interest so you have something to do with your spare time if no one’s calling that day.
- Remember it won’t happen overnight. Look at me. I’m from Melbourne and have been back four months now and still feel like I’m not settled. I expect it will take a year.
I hope this helps with your relocation and if you’re moving to Melbourne and need a friend, look me up!
Cheers, Alli x
Alli Price is founder of Motivating Mum, a website and events service offering support and advice to mums in business, or those wanting to be. Now in the UK and Australia, she also consults with businesses wanting to franchise, distribute or relocate from one of these countries to the other. www.motivatingmum.com