People who have been following my blog for a while (and considering the meandering, unfocussed nature of the subject matter for the past five years, those people really are to be congratulated – I can at least link to my flesh and blood and my ex-colleague Vee) may be able to cast their mind back to the time I recounted my first Monday Morning Coffee experience with the International Women’s Club of Kyiv. This was the first opportunity I’d really had to meet people since I’d arrived in Kyiv, and… well… just have a read. It’s quite witty, if I do say so myself.
So. After a week in Dili and not really speaking to anyone except the Mr and a couple of his colleagues from work, yesterday I took myself off to one of the International schools to enquire about enrolment for the Sprog. And while I was there, the director casually mentioned something about a playgroup, which I seized on. He gave me contact details and as soon as I got home I gave the person a call.
I bit of a phone relay later, I got in touch with a really lovely lady who invited me around to her place that very afternoon for coffee.
Now, in my experience, meeting other expats for the first time can either be a really positive, uplifting experience or a very paranoid inducing one. The expat community in Kyiv had a few older people in it who were very keen on sharing scary stories, which did not help my state of mind at all.
When I arrived at this mum’s house, I found I wasn’t the only visitor. There was also a stay at home dad there, just hanging out in the kitchen having a chat. One of the most gratifying things about being an expat is that as soon as you meet people, it’s like you’re old friends, based on the shared experiences of being in a different place, where you have to overcome the same challenges.
And it was just like that with this mum. She was fantastic, saying that I could pop around any time I wanted, inviting me to the playgroup she hosts and offering any help I need in settling in.
So all in all it was an uplifting experience… except that our parting conversation was Dengue fever. Gah. Nothing like a kick of paranoia to end the day.