Expat Story: A get-together

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Josta, a Dutch mother living in Geneva, and experiencing her first expat adventure, tells of the blooming social network among expat women – a flower of constant regeneration.

Yesterday, I was supposed to meet a friend in the park. Friend… she is a friend of a friend. The concept ‘friend’ has changed since I left my home country and the definition has become much broader. But nevertheless, she is my friend.

We thought it would be nice to invite our mutual friend as well so we would be three (and six kids). But it turned out that, in the end, we were nine (and 15 kids). What happened was, another friend will be leaving next week so she wanted to see me one more time before departure. Of course she was very welcome to join us.

But she wanted to bring another lady, since she just moved here and wanted to meet some people. Of course she was more than welcome as well. Then another one joined, and another, and so on… the more the merrier of course!

Everyone seemed happy and some exchanged phone numbers to meet again in a smaller group (just like we tried to do before things went out of hand). It was a good reflection of how social life develops and how volatile expat life can be – people leaving and people arriving, all during the same afternoon get-together. Everybody talking, no real conversations but everyone seemed happy and upbeat.


Woman daydreaming

But that night, when I went to sleep, I was trying to imagine each one of them – what was going on right that instant?

I imagined that the one leaving soon was feeling a bit sad... she will be trying to reconnect with her home country. I know one of the others won’t be sleeping because of her newborn and she probably misses having her mother around (or not, but I imagined she would). And one, possibly will have to listen to the endless stories her husband seems to tell when he is under stress. Surely, my other friend will be lonely because her husband is again travelling.

Some will be sad or tired. Others excited about the new life that just started, scared about the new life that is waiting to take off next week. And all determined to continue trying to build a social life. Or like me, just feeling overwhelmed by the pace that social life can have in expat circles.

But at least we all had a wonderful afternoon where we shared a (hectic) moment sitting on the grass, enjoying the early summer sunshine, watching our kids play together (and getting lost every now and then), eating kids biscuits and having a laugh.

Now let’s see who’ll be still around next week and next year…



Reprinted from, the largest free global website helping expatriate women living overseas.

Photo credit: shutterstock (friends drinking coffee).

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