Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Will you still love me tomorow?

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As shepherds look after their scattered flocks when they are with them, so will I look after my sheep

This was on someone's face book status. I 'm hazarding a guess that is is from the bible. It got me thinking of some of the good folk of North Carolina that I have met. I didn't like what I thunk! On the surface, people have been very welcoming and I was starting to feel like I had some friends. Usually, making friends has an ebb and flow to it, new people come into your life through a change of job or moving house or whatever and others leave because they overexpose themselves or move house... When you move to a whole new country you don't have anything to ebb and flow with - it is an absolute drought! It is worse than starting a new job or walking into a new situation because the whole of it is new. As well as being a new face you also sound different. You are different so those initial conversations that you have when making new friends get warped. Normally, where you meet someone can dictate the structure of  the 'new friend conversations' - it starts off around the kids at the school gates and quickly moves on to how much wine you drank to cope with them the night before or about a previous job at a new work place.
When you are a stranger in a strange land they just want to talk about your strangeness and all the conversations are the same and few move beyond them satisfying their curiosity. Now I accept that might be because they didn't want to be my friend - and that is normal - for every new person you meet very few become friends, let alone good friends - although I have to say some of my longest and dearest friends I have met as total strangers on holiday! (there was a strong connection centered around alcohol though!). When it is so intensified by the fact that you know no one - it is hard.
Most of those initial meetings I had were at the community swimming pool in the Summer. Some conversations moved beyond inspecting me and I would be given a phone number to call 'if you need anything'. I did need something - friendship- but I didn't call the numbers. I didn't want to be needy.
We were invited to people's houses for dinner gatherings - always where there were more than just us and the hosts. Safety in numbers in case we were too strange? Inevitably these turn into an alcohol fuelled interrogation of our strangeness with the odd conversation centered around their love of Scotland thrown in. You get the sense that you are the entertainment for the night. I would sincerely hope that wasn't the hosts intention but it is usually the outcome. This drives you to seek your own kind and latch on to UK accents. When I am with such people I feel like they are friends with me, maybe because they also feel the need to be with other Brits, but also because they like me. There is no novelty factor so if you see them more than once it is because you get on. I had a great night at Billy Elliot with some lovely Brits - laughing at the terrible North East accents in the stage show! It was great!
There is something worse than being the entertainment for the night - and that is being their salvation! I remember one of the neighbour's children said to us when we were round having dinner 'We always have to have you round for dinner because you don't know anyone else.' Out of the mouths of babes? Now it is kind to invite someone round because they have nowhere else to go but I don't like the charitable sentiment. I would hope the reason we were there was because, after the initial interrogation and entertainment, we were liked! A recent gathering  we went to felt like a gathering of lost lambs. People with nowhere else to go. 'Meet my husband - he's a shepherd rounding up the lost and lonely, like the Good LORD!'
I am going home to England tomorrow for a visit. I have been away 6 months. I guess friends will have ebbed and flowed and prolonged absence is a real test of friendship. Some will ebb away and some will strengthen as a consequence. I would like to think I have made some connections stronger through my blog. I worry that readership is tentative and if I don't write for a week or so over the holiday season when I return no one will be there to read. Ironically in this case I like to think I am some sort of entertainment for my friends! I may be a lost sheep but my real friends know there'll be no salvation for them in saving my soul and will raise a glass to that! ...and I know you will still love me tomorrow!


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  2. I'm just concerned that you actually wrote 'holiday season' !!!!!
    Say Christmas and be proud you can say it lol

    Looking foward to seeing you on the 18th :-)
    LJ x

  3. we have raised plenty off glasses since youve been "home" you poor lost lonely lamikins xxx deb.s xxx