Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are you open to friendship?

 Today I don't want to drawn you into an ocean of under-estimated expat wives emotions, but rather tell you about building relationships with new people and being open to friendship based on my particular experience.

     Being born in cold and proud country, I grew up learning how to carry yourself with dignity (sometimes even too much), how to choose your principles in life and to live according to them, and how to be surrounded by people with the same thinking and that pursue the same ideals. How to build stable and strong friendship supposed to last for ages, being faithful and loyal. Based on all of this, I had my circle of friends, a circle of 6 carefully chosen people. People I knew from minimum 2 and going back to a maximum of 18 years. Friends that basically "went through fire and water with me".

        Moving to Philly, I not only left my family, my job, my apartment and my car, I especially left all my friends. And I will be totally honest with you, when I first got here, I felt like I didn't need anybody: I'm not bored to be on my own and I always find something to entertain myself. For the first 6 months I was going out with friends of my husband's but I didn't bound with any girl and I didn't even try to give them a chance to be liked. As I said, it's partially a Russian trait: if a Russian sees another Russian in a mall, restaurant or everywhere else, he or especially she will never start a conversation, he'll never say something like: " Hi, Russian, where are you from? Which city?" I won't ever, would you? To be through, for me it's still strange when people initiate random talking with you in public places just out of nowhere. I always wanna say: "Hey, but I don't know you!". So anyway, exploring this new life with my beloved husband and still keeping in touch with my friends in Russia was OK at the beginning. Thanks to our modern technologies: What's up, Viber, Hangouts, Skype, you can speak with somebody thousands of miles away from you and feel like he or she is next room. 
         But for a reason we are called humans. We are designed to live in the society, we are part of the society, we cannot exist without the society, we cannot limit our intercommunication, and every woman needs female company around. You want to go shopping with a female advice, you wanna talk about stupid girly stuff and finally you wanna joke bout men ('Honey, never about you!'). Everybody needs friends. In this case, everybody needs physically available friends. After months of being pretty conservative and closed, I finally started to give chances to new people. And even if it's scary (especially for a person like me,when I open, I can basically open all my soul chatting for hours), people deserve this chance. Certainly, it's much easier to talk with friends you had for years with whom you have thousands of your own private jokes and even your own language. All the new people you meet here came from different backgrounds and there are sometimes moments when this unpleasant silence appears and nobody knows what to say. But this difference is exactly what's interesting and you know what, now I feel more completed. I feel like I finally have my own habitat here in Philly. I am still faithful to my Russian friends, if they read that, I miss you very much! But I started to really like my new Philly girls and I like spending time with them a lot. So I changed my mind and my perspective to be open, to give chances not only to people, but to myself. I started to discover myself from other sides, maybe not Russian sides, who knows, maybe I found an "American trait" in me. I took me 6 months. How much time do you need?