The Expat Factor
I just had a great weekend and without doubt the major factor was getting to spend time with another Brit expat.I said to the Hubster as we got home Saturday night, I think it's something you only understand if you're a long way from home and don't see other expats regularly. This is very much the case for me. As far as we know, I am the only Brit in our area for probably 50+ miles, it's rare to see another. So I never pass up an opportunity to get together with a fellow Brit.I posted on my Facebook profile this weekend that I was getting to spend time with my 'own kind'! This caused great laughter from a Canadian expat and friend who lives closeby. She knew exactly what I mean't by that.Every nationality has it's own individual quirks; different meanings for words, the way we express ourselves in language and mannerisms, our comfort zones, our likes and dislikes, our sense of humour, our memories of things 'back home'. These are all slight differences that make us feel like we 'belong' with our fellow countrymen.When you take yourself out of your homeland, you may not realise at first that you miss these things. You are so busy acclimatising and attempting to fit into a new national identity. If you're like me and have little difficulty settling in and feeling right at home, you really don't miss them per se.But it's amazing how a meeting with a fellow countryman abroad can lift your spirit, even when you never felt like it was ever down!This weekend was a great example of this. I finally got to meet Ross, someone I met online 5+ years ago on an Immigration Community site (also where I met my Canadian friend). He made almost the same move geographically in the same timeframe and we have kept in very irregular contact by email occasionally.But despite this being our very first meeting in person, within moments it was like meeting up with an old friend for a catchup. Everything about him felt familiar, I was totally relaxed from the get go, within minutes we were sharing laughs and recollections like we'd known each other years.As is the case when I have spent time with my other Okie expat friend, the hubby of PamOKC, hours passed by without us noticing! There was some discussion of things we miss or would love to have here (decent bacon as usual), but actually not as much as you'd think perhaps.One of my friends locally was teasing me on Facebook as to whether anyone else got a word in, when I said I was hoarse I had talked and laughed so much. But as I said to the Hubster, she has never spent time with a group of Brits and just doesn't get that we are all used to talking endlessly across and over each other.This is a national trait the Hubster has experienced first hand in the UK. He was amazed how we all talk at once and yet keep up with every other conversation around us too, I'm not even sure we know we do it until we are abroad! I am always conscious of trying not to do this with the locals, because they'll just think I'm rude. It was lovely to get to relax and just go with the flow knowing I could totally be myself. Normally there is always a little tiny bit of me holding back, talking slower, watching my p's & q's, and being careful not to be too blunt or outspoken.As for our better halves, well they're both used to us and our Brit ways, plus they are both chatty, sociable and outgoing. They have been with us on our journey and 'get' us most of the time, or could share their experiences being our spouses.So if you're an expat of any nationality reading this and you are offered the chance to meet another for the first time. I heartily recommend it, in fact you should seize the opportunity with both hands as it will probably bring you great comfort and laughs.Later today I will post details and piccies from our meetup. And share an even more amazing coincidence, that was just the icing on the big ol' cake that was my weekend!