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2+2macht4 03-19-2012 04:15 AM

Expat mamas how do you make friends?
I am not affiliated with the military. We moved away from DH's home town. IN our last city I made a few friends when I did the german integration course and one friend in my birthing course.

But we moved again and I have no clue where to start trying to network.

I was curious how you as an expat got involved in the community and made friends.

There is supposed to be a play group starting in our village next month and I am on the call list for that. But aside from that, I am at a loss. :blush:

Cashmama 03-19-2012 09:15 AM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
I live in Japan and have made my friends from the LDS church here. I have also made friends by teaching classes--cooking, sewing, English. Is there a library, park, or good coffee shop nearby that might have some moms milling around?

kimb96 03-20-2012 10:39 AM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
When I lived in thailand, I started with the international ladies club. From there I met a lady who ran a bible study and joined. From the bible study, I found dozens of friends. 3 best friend types. I found it easier to make friends in thailand than here in the states. The expat community was pretty small and it seemed everyone knew each other. I met a couple of other moms at my ds's school as well. I refused to put ds on the bus and instead took him to school and picked him up. That's how I could catch the new moms who had just moved to thailand. I also volunteered at ds's school and served on the parent's representative group. I learned to be quite outgoing. You have to put yourself out there. I enjoyed my time in thailand because our social lives were so active. ARe there many other expats in your area? If so, just say hello to people when you are out and about. If you see a mom at the store, say hello. Every expat is in the same boat and is looking for a support network. But somebody has to make the first move. Good luck to you. I hope you find some friends soon. Having such a strong support network made it very easy for me to live in thailand.

2+2macht4 03-20-2012 05:43 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
Not much where I live I live in a rural village in the black forest. I am the only english speaking expat that I know of here. Its a town of about 1300 people.

Closest big city is Freiberg. Some stuff there for expats but really hard to get to on my own in the day and most events they do are not very kids friendly ie bars late night ect.

I found an international womens networking group but it was very buisness oriented no family activities prearranged dinners with speakers. A nice idea but not my thing nor really affordable. They charge for the evening, plus the catered meals and a yearly membership fee.

So I am trying to find more local friends from the local community rather then keep isolating myself as an expat. No libraries or anything here.

When I get a car in a few months I plan to start planning more day things, but till not really sure how to make friends when people do not chat or welcome strangers here. Unless you know people long term people are not really open to chance friendships.

I really want to integrate and make friends for DS to have growing up.

kimb96 03-20-2012 11:46 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
I would give the international ladies club a go. It was where I started but once I had made a few friends, I no longer went. It is a good place to start. IMO it is easier to connect with other expats than native folks. I'm sure there will be somebody who shares your interests and you can hook up with outside of the club. The ladies club certainly wasn't my thing either but it served its purpose for me in helping me find a few friends. After that everyone else I met was through my sons school, church or other friends.

JadeScarlet 04-07-2012 05:45 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
I joined the spouse's association for my husband's job, which fortunately was a huge group that had activities all over the place. I joined an exercise class from them, which introduced me to another lady who invited me to join the toddler group when I was pregnant, and now I have met several new people in the toddler group.

But it was easy since I'm in a really big city. I know there is also an American Society that some people join but I've never been.

If you are in a rural area, are their places to go on walks? Perhaps just taking your baby out on walks and waving to people you see?

I also had a prenatal group (started by someone I met through the spouse association) and one day 4 of us pregnant ladies (all 3rd trimester at that point and quite obvious) were sitting in the mall chatting, and another woman walking with her newborn overheard us speaking English - she had just moved to the city also and was looking for new moms.

TigersBabygirl 04-10-2012 01:23 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
Hm, I can see how it would be hard for you to make new friends in a small town/village. It's hard enough under regular circumstances but the language barrier makes it even harder :(

How about some co-workers of your husband's?
Do you speak any German at all? I bet a lot of moms would love for their kids to interact with your son so their kids would pick up some English!
How old is your son?

2+2macht4 04-10-2012 01:27 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
i do speak German, the issue is more cultural. Germans are not so much for small chit chat and casually meeting and getting to know each other. Not to say it does not happen, but not like we know it in the us where you may become bff wiuth the starbucks girl know what I mean.

I am still waiting to hear about the play group. i have made contact with some people in the next major city, so i may have to go that route.

i have been told with time when my little ones enter school then is when you meet people and start getting the ties that bond into german friendships.

The preschool in the next village up does offer preschool for ages 2 and up as little as 2 days a week, so I am thinking of doing that with ds after he turns 2 so he has regular contact with kids a few days a week for a few hours in the morning. He turns 2 in December.

TigersBabygirl 04-10-2012 01:38 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
I see...and I know what you mean. I am actually German and you are right about the cultural differences. It's especially hard in smaller villages where people consider everyone a stranger who hasn't lived there for at least 10 years!

That's great that you speak German, though. I am sure once your LO goes to German Kindergarten or that preschool you mentioned, you will get acquainted with a lot more moms. It might take a while longer for you to make real friends because that's the way friendships work in Germany. But the good news is that those friendships usually last a long time :)
Good luck, I know this isn't easy! I'm in the same position but reversed - German living in the US. But my husband is in the military and that makes it a lot easier making friends because everyone only stays for about 3 years and wants to make friends. Well that and the American mentality.

2+2macht4 04-10-2012 01:46 PM

Re: Expat mamas how do you make friends?
Yeah its a krippe at the local kindergarten. The one directly in our city starts at age 3, but next town over they offer the early start for 2 year olds.

I had started making friends in our last city through the geburtsvorbereitung and ladies I met there but we moved. I am still in contact with one mom and we visit each other. But she is the only non expat friend I have made in 4 years.

my situation is tough. Normally when you marry into anotehr culture your spouse or you are established already, but my husband lost his job 2 weeks after we got married and 2 months later we moved cross country, so while I do have his family and his friends who are very kind and welcoming because of course the ties that bind we now live 7 hours away. We moved from thurigen and are now in Schwarzwald.

i do love meeting other expats but I also do not want to limit myself to that form of contact. I feel that part of integrating is learning to function in society and be a part of the community.

I did the integrationskurs so I speak conversational German, though badisch is a whole noew challange lol.

where are you from?

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