Dig deep and shine on

international friendships

As Sir Richard Branson said, “Mood follows action.” I internalize that advice and do as much moving as possible. I exercise, travel, and experience NDBs (never done before).

Eighteen months into my repatriation and new home, new perspective washes over me. Very similar to being a newlywed, when I worked two jobs, had chores, meals to prepare, and a very active lifestyle, I realize some parallels. Today, my children are grown and flown (my 20-year life’s work), I prepare dinners every night, complete household chores, and stay active. I’m in a new place, making new friends (some are international friends) and loving new experiences. AND, it’s taken eighteen months!

Over these past months to learn, grow and dig deep, I’ve made friends, added life experiences, and taken several trips. A girls road trip to Birmingham, Alabama was a wonderful way to nurture my friendship with a lovely lady I met last April at a gym I joined. We enjoyed the tree-lined highway, fresh air via her convertible, and in-depth conversations afforded only by time. Through that friend, I met another fun friend who invited me on a girls road trip to Indianapolis, IN for a concert. In the Orlando, FL airport on the way back to St. Louis, I met a stylish couple who I chatted with and now we are friends and have enjoyed several social outings.

From a meet-up group of similar status (Empty Nester Transplants), I met a wonderful couple who have lived all over the USA and love to travel. They share their home with us, as well as their experiences living in a new places and making new friendships as adults. I met my next-door neighbor (also a transplant) while at a craft event in the city. We’ve taken several nice bike rides and shared quiche recipes. Through this community, I met a joyful, former professional jockey who relocated nearby and reached out to meet people in the area. We met, had lunch together twice, and I showed her a favorite international market. My first IAAT friend is still one of my favorite people I’ve ever met.

Shine your bright light…friends you make while living in different places become like your family, or framily as I call them.

Another great joy I’ve experienced recently, while traveling to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., to accompany my husband for work, I met up with two international friends whom I met while living in Abu Dhabi, and three couples I met while living in Baltimore.

True friendships will stand the test of time, distance, and proximity. Use all possible outlets to stay in touch, share contacts, and reach out when you find yourself in their cities. Reunions are great fun and make valuable pictures. Vulnerability yields great access. I’ve been publicly authentic about my struggle to fit in and thrive here, and it’s taken a year and a half to report that I’m settled and thriving. As long as I seek participation and excellence and not perfection, my days are filled with deep satisfaction in knowing that I accomplished goals and made new inroads to my experiences. Of course there are tingles in your tummy when you meet new people and move to a new place. But the rewards are far greater than the fears, I promise.

One of my people secrets is say “hello” to anyone within three feet of me. Some will return the “hello” and some may not. My personally coined mantra: people are faces until they’re your friends.

From my perspective today, this IS a lovely, diverse city. Yes, the winters are hard for me because I don’t enjoy cold. Alas, I have a nice coat and awesome snow/rain boots. Summer here has a mix of sunny and rainy days. I’ve learned to enjoy my own company, taking Road Trip Tuesdays, reading, my bike rides, preparing dinners for my husband, and long phone chats with dear friends from other places I’ve lived. I feel blessed by the handful of wonderful, meaningful and life-lasting friendships I have here. Time is the key and the lock is patience and persistence.

Wishing you all the best, smooth transitions, and finding everything you seek!

Author: Denise Schnitzer

Denise Schnitzer is a prolific writer, traveler, and adventurer. Her explorations have taken her to 38 countries and four continents, so far. Since starting her blog in 2011, www.alohadenise.com, she has posted over 1,200 entries. As an adventurer, she enjoys exploring each new city, hiking, teaching yoga on the beach, scuba diving and sand trekking. Considering herself happy, blessed and grateful, her daily mantra is: HAVE FUN EVERY DAY.🎈

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