Saturday, August 31, 2013

Making Friends

I have been feeling a bit odd lately, like something has been missing and I haven't really been able to put my finger on it. Not until the past few days, at least. Now that I know, I am not really sure how to go about changing it.

When I first moved back to California, I stayed with Ken and Charise and their children. It was wonderful spending time with people that I have known so long and mean so much to me. I was only going to be in the US for two months before heading to Brazil. I spent time with them, my sister and her family and a few other friends in Colorado and San Francisco. As everyone knows, I ended up not going to Brazil and well, I now find myself in a situation that is really starting to wear me down.

I don't really have any friends here at all. I have David. I have my roommates, but aside from them, there is nobody to phone for a drink, a cup of coffee or just to chat. I didn't really realize this until David left for Burning Man, where is has been out of touch since Monday and will continue to be for a couple more days. I was with my sister for a few days, so didn't notice it, but when I came home, I realized I was alone. And, of course, having limited mobility means I can't just grab my camera and go. I hate the fact my social life is tied mainly to one person, something I really don't think is healthy for either of us. On top of that, it is making me feel isolated and alone and I really don't want it to bring me down.

I did actually get a job at the beginning of August. I went through training and broke my ankle on my first day of work. I was hoping to meet people that way but then I ended up not working. I still have a job, but the reality is I am out until at least the end of September. And we are still in August. And even then, most people live quite spread out and you only see them every once in a while when scheduled to work together.

I went online to see if there were sites to meet local people. There are, but even the ones that say they are for friendship only, end up being about sex and dating. I thought about Craigslist, but looking into the platonic section of the site, I saw that for most people, platonic means dating and “fun”, neither of which I am looking for.

Living abroad, it is super easy to make friends. Either, there are local people that love to interact with and befriend foreigners, and then there are the other foreigners that you run into everywhere and end up hanging out with. To make casual friends when abroad often takes no more effort that walking out the front door. Within a week of arriving in India, I was invited to weddings, over to people's homes for dinner and had a full social life, just like that. In Turkey, I made friends the first day there with other teachers. In Tanzania, Ulco had a little party when I went for a visit and again, I knew people. Here in the US, it is not that simple. People are in the place they are comfortable, they are not actively looking to bond with others. I don't want to hang out at bars, and hanging out at Starbucks means sitting with a bunch of people with headphones in, engaged completely with their laptops and iPads.

So now, I am trying to figure out what to do. I have looked for clubs in things I am interested in, and there is a photography club that meets once a month quite close to me, including this coming Wednesday, so I will give it a try and see how it goes.

That still leaves the next four days full of nothing and nobody. If anyone has any ideas, I am happy to hear them.  

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