Unexpected Connections

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Many of you know all too well that as a new expat, one of the major obstacles you have to overcome is meeting new people and establishing new friendships. I’m sure this comes to no surprise to any of you who have been following my blog for any length of time. It’s a subject I mention often as it is the one most often on my mind. I can’t help it. I’m a social person who loves to spend time with her friends. I love just having coffee and chatting it up. I love entertaining and inviting people into our home. And I love just getting to know someone. That being said, each time I have moved to a new city, state or country it is always hardest for me to adapt to instantly not having these people in my life. It is always a huge adjustment for me to go from having friends close by to having no one near by and watching those I have left behind go on with their lives without me. In all honesty, looking at it objectively, it is kind of an interesting experience to go through; one many will never have because they won’t willingly choose to leave everyone they love behind to pursue a different life unlike us expats. Wouldn’t you agree my fellow wanderers?

What I have found to be so fascinating, however, is the community within blogging. I started writing for the same reasons most others do; to document my travels and share my journey hoping to have regular readers to follow along. I hoped my blog would reach out and connect with others and they would find some sort of meaning or entertainment within it.

I never expected to find support.

I never expected to find friendship. 

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I’m not sure why I didn’t have these expectations in a community full of others writing for similar reasons. Sometimes the things you write really speak to someone on a personal level. In some posts, you bravely put your heart and soul out there wanting to be heard; wanting to share it with someone else; wanting to feel a connection.

With such vulnerability and openness, how could we not connect with one another? 

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These unexpected connections have given me motivation and support when I was lacking, direction when I was lost, hope when I was full of doubt, laughter when I couldn’t smile, and gratitude when I was disappointed. These friends I’ve never met, but I look forward to their posts. I look forward to their comments on my posts. And one in particular, she has been there from the start. She is a constant commenter on my posts, a source of inspiration and as she so eloquently referred to me, she’s my 3B (blogging bosom buddy). She’s one of those people who I feel just “gets me” and we have been on such similar paths in our lives. {I hope life settles down for her soon because I miss her and I’m expecting an update on Tom Jones in Qatar! :-)} And this is only listing a few of the many, many wonderful bloggers I have had the privilege of getting to know!

I know many bloggers talk about their “blog crushes” and going on “blates”. I adore this silly stuff! I simply love how connected we all are in this huge community within “blog land”! Isn’t it fascinating that we can develop these types of relationships having never even met in person? 

I haven’t gone on any “blates” yet as many of those I am connecting with live far away. But I am expecting that to change soon! If you’re wondering about any of my blog crushes, simply click on the links of unexpected connections above. :-) You’ll meet some great people. I can promise you that!

Who are some of your unexpected connections? What do you think about the friendship among bloggers?

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About Deanna H

Successful toddler chaser. Avid wine lover. Aspiring writer. Maybe or maybe not in that order.
This entry was posted in Expat Life, The Journey, Young Germany and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Unexpected Connections

  1. bevchen says:

    I’ve never been on a blate either, but I have met one other blogger… Alex from Ifs, Ands & Butts (http://ifsandsandbutts.com/) started working at my favourite Irish pub this summer!

  2. Beautiful post! The life of a wanderer truly does go quite a bit differently from those who stay settled. To each their own. I am just grateful that this internet thing stuck! Like you, the majority of my friends are in far away places, and the on-line community has been a great way to keep in touch and maintain that feeling of connection, whether old friends from “real life” or the ones I have made through blogging. The people you meet here were definitely an unexpected bonus!! :)

  3. So it’s blates? LOL Expat Lingo called it blouting. :D Anyways, I just went on a blate or I went on a blouting with a fellow blogger from a different region in our country, it was short (because she was just passing through and I was just on a lunch break from work) but we had fun! Well, I did. Blogging sure is a great way to connect with people. :)

  4. Josh says:

    Great post! I love the quote by C.S. Lewis, too funny and so true! You are completely right though, we all have a certain unspoken bond as expats and I look to you guys for guidance and insight into things that are still new to me. Sometimes I get to offer advice to someone else, it’s a nice exchange. It is just nice to know that others are in your situation and can understand your life in its chaotic mess that it finds itself in sometimes haha Hope you have a great weekend, Deanna :)

  5. Gypsy says:

    Awwwwe! Thanks C2C :-). What’s so funny is that I was catching up on your blog chronologically, so just wrote on one of your previous posts about yet more things we have in common! Then I came to this post and I was so touched. I feel exactly the same. As expats, often our most precious relationships are sustained over fibre optics …. just stands to reason that we should be able to forge relationships that way since we are so good at maintaining them that way! Thanks for being my 3B.

  6. Expat Eye says:

    Great post! You’re so right. I started this for pretty much the same reasons you did (and kind of to show the world that Latvia is a mad place!) but was never expecting to connect with so many brilliant, like-minded people! (I clicked on your ‘made me laugh’ link and was directed to myself haha! – that did make me laugh!) PS, for another laugh, I was told the other day that Putin had more of a chance of being asked to work for the Latvian Tourist Board than I did. Huh. What did I do?!

  7. Erika says:

    Wow, I am super surprised and TOUCHED to be listed amongst these women who have helped you to find a sense of community, especially as an expat! (I’m not lying — I am misty-eyed right now!) But the way you wrote it all out really captures how I feel about blogging, even as I’m in the United States. I understand what it’s like to have friends in all kinds of different places but maybe not enough where you’re at. I understand what it’s like to go through that process of starting all over again… and I don’t know, it feels like it gets harder the older you get. Maybe it’s because people get more closed off as they get older or something? Maybe because people get really wrapped up in their families and so they have less time for friends? I’m not sure, but I definitely know that this post resonated deeply with me. Thank you for these beautiful words — the ones that mentioned me and definitely the ones beyond that! :)

    • You are so welcome! Like I’ve said, you came along at a much needed time for me and you are so inspirational! I think it gets harder as you get older for exactly those reasons you mentioned. I also feel people have a tendency to become more set in their ways and even jaded making it harder to forge new relationships. I’m so glad I was able to give you a post that resonates with you after you have given me so many that resonate with me! :-)

  8. Bosmosis says:

    Hi Deanna. I just stumbled across this blog doing a search for posts tagged “expat life” because like you I’m interested in the experiences of other expats, how they adjust, what they have learned etc. I’ve been living in Korea for 15 years and only fairly recently started blogging last December, and I wish I had started sooner for the reasons you describe: Meeting other like-minded people has been one of the unexpected benefits of blogging, and has become one of the reasons I keep at it.

    This feeling of connection I think speaks to your other point about the challenges making friendships as an expat. I love living and working abroad, but the friendship thing is one of the aspects of expat life I’m mot ambivalent about. You make good friends in a shorter time, but you often have to say goodbye, watch people leave and move on. At the same time, you find a greater distance with your old friends and an increasing inability to relate to them as your life experience takes you in vastly different directions (not to say you won’t remain friends. I have, it just gets harder to find common ground with them). Blogging I think is a good way to have yet another community of people who are “out there” – almost certainly you will never meet them face to face, but it’s still cool in the much the same way that having far flung friends that you rarely see is cool. And because their going through the same or similar types of dislocations and adjustments, you often find you have a lot in common.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. If you have a chance, drop by my blog. I also try to write about the experience of being an expat and connect with people doing the same. Blog on!

    • Hi! Thank you for stopping by and for leaving such a thorough comment. Wow, 15 years? You must really enjoy it there. I will definitely have to stop by your blog and read more. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I think most expats can relate. Sometimes I find myself wondering what it would be like to be the person who has stayed in one place forever and still has all of their close friends but I know I was meant for this life. Although, I think we are finally settled so hopefully I will get to start building those friendships!

  9. worldwifetraveler says:

    yes, the social adjustment is always difficult when moving. I feel like every time I go back home one of my girlfriends is pregnant! While this is such a unique experience only other expats will ever understand, I do long for those friendships that have been around for so long prior to the moves. On the other hand, I’m also thankful for the new true blue girlies I’ve met along the way…

    • Hi! Are you finally getting settled? I thought I saw a post from you recently. But yes, I agree, I really miss those friends back in the states, but I’m also hoping to meet some new friends here that I can also have a strong friendship with.

  10. I look forward to going on a blate in the near future! :)

  11. Kate says:

    Oh gosh, I totally agree with this! It’s so hard to make real connections in an expat community because everyone lacks history and all friendships are so fresh, it can be easy to get burned or find someone’s behaviour is unexpected!

  12. This is just such a sweet touching blog post, as always :) Glad to hear that I somehow gave you hope and thanks for including me on this! Thanks for also introducing me to this term blate. We must have a blate! xxx

    • You are so welcome. And you did, just by reaching out and messaging me, talking to me about mom stuff and helping me feel like it’s ok to be frustrated. :-)

      We must, but we are so far away?! :-(

      >

      • Yes it’s good to have someone to talk to about all this mum stuff. Good that we have boys the same age so we can relate to each other’s pain! Yes we are so far away….I hope to see more of Germany though so if we’re up your way at all will keep you posted x

  13. Sara Louise says:

    Seriously, I cannot fathom what my live in France would have been like without blogging. It has given me so much support and I’ve have made so many friends because of it… some I’ve even met! :)

  14. A blate… I want to go on one! But ohhh so very true you are, I emailed a blogger buddy this week with news, BEFORE I told any of my IRL friends. because I knew they’d just ‘get it’. No long explanations or justifications needed. Expats understand other expats.

    • I think being an expat is such a unique twist on life, that only another expat could fully understand. Others can be sympathetic of course, but you really have to experience this life to understand its ups and downs and why we willingly do it! :-)

  15. Cindi says:

    I began writing in LiveJournal seven years ago, was dormant for years, and just imported it and joined the WordPress blogging community this past spring – and am so enjoying the connections that I am finding. I was back in the States visiting my Dad for three weeks; even when immersed in those precious moments of reconnection, I occasionally found my thoughts turning to the blogging community and wondering what everyone was doing. Your words capture our emotions and experience so well!

  16. Pingback: The Week in Germany: Expats, Autumn, and Don’t Miss Oktoberfest! | Young Germany

  17. It is fab the connection and understanding, isn’t it? so unexpected, yet so lovely. It’s also nice that we can all express the ups & downs of being an expat in a more thoughtful way through our posts. Oh the feeling you get when a fellow blogger understands!

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