My new favorite blogger, Liv Hambrett, an Australian who's been living in Germany for years, wrote today about the number one thing that's been plaguing me since I've been here - which will be a whopping three months next week - making friends. Making real, easy-to-call, see-you-in-ten-minutes friends in a country where you don't speak the language, don't know a soul, and don't have a work group helping you meet people you have something in common with, is the most difficult thing I've ever done and the only thing I was really worried about before I hopped on the plane. Here, a particularly resonant quote from her piece:
"I find myself, once more, in the generally nervous, uncomfortable position of having to make friends. Of having to enter, with either stealth or flat out asking for mercy, pre-existing social clusters. And it’s not easy. In fact, making friends is hard work, particularly at an age at which you have friends, you have brilliant, smart, funny, like-minded friends that form part of a group you have spent a lifetime cultivating. Particularly at an age when asking ‘can I play too’ doesn’t come as naturally, for various reasons, as it does when you’re six. Particularly when you can’t help but feel, wearily, been there done that, that you have friends, they’re just not here."
I wrote about my frustration and pseudo-loneliness a little last month, but the Easter Holidays, which mean four days off of work here in Germany and four days of Homeland marathons and finishing three books I've been working on, have inspired me to kick it into gear on the friend front. This week, I'm sucking up my pride and officially seeking out other outlets to hopefully find at least a couple people to hang with on a more regular basis.
Also, one of my biggest irrational fears is that I'm always on the verge of annoying the shit out of people when in reality (so I'm told) I'm not, so I'm attempting one more round of attempting to enter pre-existing social groups...which is probably my worst nightmare. Good vibes appreciated.
In the meantime, I'm missing these "brilliant, smart, funny, like-minded friends" that just don't happen to be here in Berlin with me: