So, I actually wrote this post nearly 3 years ago and never posted it. I just found it while sorting through my draft folder. I edited it so it made sense for now, but it was interesting to see what I was thinking back then.
Girls email more often than you would think because they are moving to India and want to know how they can meet other Western friends. In “smalltown” India there aren’t really many online ways. It’s usually fine and you meet people as you go along, but when you’re feeling “ugh” and having a bad day, you can really start to miss your friends back home!
Per usual, when I write a personal post, it’s mostly unorganized and hard to follow. I even edited this one! Ha, but my thought process is just scrambled lol. But, I hope if you’re feeling a little down you can relate and see that everyone who moves abroad, at first, doesn’t know a soul and might feel a bit down- but it won’t stay that way!
Priyanka & Niki, Ben, Tia & Ava (my friend Amy’s baby that’s so stinkin cute!)
Even in a beach paradise, a bad day can happen. When you’re an expat in a foreign country, a bad day can remind you how many hours from home you are (40), how your friends back home have babies you haven’t met, and how many days it’s been since your last Taco Bell (300) (kidding sort of). That bad day becomes a whole lot worse.
bad day face
Moving to a big city in your home country, you might know someone who knows someone and voila! Friendships form. For me, moving to Charlotte was nothing compared to moving to India. Even if you didn’t know a soul you could find some on couchsurfing.org, meetup.com, in yoga class, work, or at the gym.
Expats Tips | Meeting other expats
I’ve been here over 3 years now and am lucky that I’ve made some friends I know I”ll stay friends with even after I leave India.
Making friends doesn’t just fall into your lap when you move abroad. I was 22 when I moved here and used to making new BFFs every other day back home through friends of friends and at bars or house parties.
In a village in India meeting people is nothing like it is at home. When I first came to India, I was meeting cool people but they were often passing through. I also found with different nationalities it can take longer to get to know someone. It’s also different when you’re 26 because it’s not like girls are having sleep overs at that age! Now we, ya know, meet for coffee.
Goa nights out Italian dinner with Tia & babycakes, nights out in Baga
There are groups for expats like InterNations, but most of these are for big cities. No options for Goa, India (yet). With tourist season bus loads of like-minded tourists come rolling in. As fast as they come, they leave. This is the downside of living in one of the most travelled places in India.
When I first came here, my boyfriends’ guy friends were my only friends. It’s weirdly harder to make friends with girls when you’re older and don’t have a job ha ha. Ben’s friends weren’t up for trying a sugar facial I found on Pinterest and talk about makeup or if the choker necklace trend is going to stick around.
I’ve tried making Ben watch Mean Girls multiple times, but he always finds a way out of it
Nothing makes a place feel more like a home than having friends over for movie nights, drinking games, or getting dolled up for a night out. What if you don’t have any girls to come over for a mani/pedi, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills watching sesh?
I’ve been hugely blessed in the friend department back home and luckily have met some girls here too.
I’ve lived in different states than most of my friends back home and when we see each other nothing has changed at all, so why should living in another country be different? But, for some reason it is.
Since I’ve left friends have gotten married, I’ve missed close friends wedding, the birth of their babies, and their first home purchases. They’re all grown up! This Mother’s Day I message 3 of my BEST friends since I was little and told them happy Mother’s day. Every summer that I go home I get a bridesmaid dress on for a friends’ wedding.
I watch my reality TV here so I can remember what America is “really” like.
This was not the first time I’ve started over. First there was college, but going to university an hour from home doesn’t count when on a walk to class you are probably going to see a familiar face. Then I moved to Charlotte where I didn’t know anyone in the state (really in the south for that matter) and I met girls I will stay friends with for life. That was easy. I moved to Seattle with one of them for a few months last winter. It’s not always that easy in another country.
Another country means another culture.
Trance music trumps hip-hop. As for country music…not a chance someone will relate. Replace Hollywood with Bollywood and Hot Pockets with samosas.
Differences make it harder to relate to people and even though deep down we all have the same issues like work dilemmas & relationship problems, those little things are what made me become close with friends easier back home.
When you first move abroad, knowing no one, I guess it’s something you just need accept: it’s going to take some time to meet a group of friends. People can be clicky. People can see you as another tourist passing through and not want to bother. Especially here in Goa, there aren’t other Americans (there are like 2) and we are known for being over friendly- chatting to people in the grocery store. English people would think you were mad if you did that. In the US Ben actually said to me at the grocery store, “what’s going on, people keep smiling at me”. I’m like because you made eye contact so it’s just what you do. He’s like that’s odd. You have to take into account different nationalities and how they act. But it turns out even French girls are sweethearts unlike the stereotype.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter how far I am from my friends in the US, I can still call them and I might as well be in the same town with apps like skype and whatsapp.
No, it’s not the same as sharing a bag of Cheetos on the couch with them or sneaking Oreos and milk into a movie theater, but considering when I first moved here I knew no one, it was helpful.
I miss these kinds of get togethers… throw back to one of our Christmas Extravaganzas almost 10 years ago complete with gingerbread village!
Remember that if a friendship has faded because of distance, it probably would have anyways. Try not to stress about losing touch and try to be in the moment with new friends you’ve made along the way. I find that my closest friends and I still talk a lot and even the ones I don’t are like sisters to me that when I do come home and see them nothing has changed. As you grow older, you lose touch with people anyways- even if you don’t move away so you don’t have to feel guilty for that.
As indians say “time passing” by doing photoshoots for Tia’s clothing & bikini line
Also remember that if you’ve just moved somewhere new, it takes time to meet people (especially girls!) and especially if you aren’t out partying.
I would suggest a few things:
- If you get asked to dinner by a group of possible new friends, go even if you don’t feel like it. They might not ask you again.
- Remember that even if someone you start hanging out with isn’t really your cup of tea, you can meet more people through them.
- Go out more! Get out of your house. Even if you’re too old to party, go to some bars. Eat out at restaurants, get to know the locals.
- Try to find some classes. Even in small towns you can often find a yoga or work out class. I hate yoga, but I gave it a go when I moved here.
- If you see signs for some type of get together or reading club, hit it up. You might meet your new bestie!
- If you’re shy, try to be a little less shy when you meet new people and maybe even bring up a time to go hang out again. You have to get out of your shell a bit.
If you’re having a lonely expat day or are new to an area, try to remember why you moved where you did. It was beautiful, or you fell in love with someone beautiful. Maybe you had a connection with a person or place and you just couldn’t leave.
Update: I wrote an ebook, Insider’s Guide to Goa. It’s 170 pages filled with the most up to date, comprehensive information about Goa plus it has all my secret places to go that I’ve found after living here almost five years.This book has 50x more information about Goa than my blog and is organized to make things easy for you to find. Click here to buy it now. It has a whole section on meeting people and information for those moving to Goa.
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