I arrived to my new home in Congo completely not knowing what to expect. As far as expat postings go, I was a ‘first-timer’ in Africa.
But here’s the thing about the expat community–once you’re in it for a few years, it’s really not such a big place, no matter where in the world you live.
For example: Let’s say you live in country A and make a best friend, who soon moves to country B. You then make a new best friend who just came from country C and your old bestie’s new local best friend(in country B) came from country D but will soon be moving to country E. If you do that for several years, and multiply it by everyone in your social circle, you’re bound to have some sort of one-person-removed connection on the ground in just about any country you move to. It’s a pretty amazing thing.
So what did I arrive to in Congo?
Luckily, I had a friend from a previous posting who was already living here. There were also two contributing authors from Once Upon an Expat that were on their way out as I was on my way in. I was disappointed to miss them, but thankful for all of the one-person-removed friendships they left me with.
Suddenly the world didn’t feel like such a big place. I may have arrived as the new-girl in Congo, but I felt like I already had a few friendships set up and ready to go, even though I hadn’t met these ladies yet.
These women welcomed me in quicker than happy-hour goes down on vacation. I had only lived in this country for 4 weeks when my birthday rolled around and I had a whole pile of new girlfriends to go out for drinks with. How lucky am I!?!
I can’t help but wonder…Had I moved into a non-expat lifestyle in a non-foriegn country would I have been able to round up such a great group of new friends to celebrate with me as easily, in such a short time?
It’s Expat Magic. It’s women taking care of each other when you might not even realise you need taking care of. Bonds form in double-time and intensity, making it actually feel like its own kind of magic!
I could have stayed home on my birthday weekend. My husband took me on a nice date, my kids made me cards; I was perfectly content. But there’s something about being surrounded by girlfriends that makes me feel settled, supported, and at home…anywhere in the world.
So to my expat friends that I’ve recently met, and those I haven’t met yet…Thank you, once again, for the fast-friendship, the sisterhood, and making one more place feel like home!