You don't usually catch me wishing I was back at school again, the thought of all that study, all that homework, all those exams....no thank you.
But being of school age does have advantages, kids make (and lose) friends so quickly and easily, it's not fair! (can you hear me stamping my foot in frustration?)
Admittedly when I was at school I didn't have a huge circle of friends, if memory serves, from high school onwards there was me, Sarah, Audrey & Joanne + Annette too (sometimes), at Uni there was a similiarly sized group. It seems to be easier to form friendships in educational situations, maybe because the group of you are together for the same reason time and time and time again, work situations may cause alliances to form, but close, blood thicker than water friendships? I doubt it.
I have to confess that I find 'making friends' hard. I think it comes down to my innate shyness - some people who know me would laugh at this, they maybe only see the loud me, the one who appears after the wallflower has had a glass or three of something fortifying.
I detest situations where I have to make social chitter chatter with people I don't know, I'm happier to go along with someone else as moral support, but only if I really can't get out of it. My mind goes blank as it races to find topics of conversation and that's after you've found someone to chat with of course, the ultimate nightmare is to find yourself the only one who doesn't know anyone.
Which is exactly what happens here. Germans don't tend to move far from where they grew up and if they do then they migrate right back again as soon as they can. It's nice*. But it does mean that they all have their friendships from kindergarten, they all know each other and there is no room for anyone else (I know this for a fact as Rebecca was told by a German mother who wanted to use her for English lessons for her kids, that she didn't want to meet up just for coffee and a chat as she 'had enough friends'. Ouch!) Going to any school event (which are few and far between, thank goodness) is hell, because you know you'll look like billy-no-mates as the rest of the moms swarm together, saving seats, sharing secrets.
So how do you go about 'making friends' with a German or two?
I guess I have managed to find a few German friends;
- there's my German teacher, M1(yes, I know she's my teacher (she's only technically German as well, having spent long enough in the UK to have a thorough disrespect for most things German) but I count her as a good friend, after we've been known to shop together)
- there's my crazy friend, M2 (I wont go into the story now, but if you go back to October to 'with friends like these' - that's why she's crazy) I should really call her and arrange to get together but seeing as I'm still housebound with the vomit queen I can't, maybe next week, when/if I get my life back.
- mother of a friend of Ben, B - have met for coffee, and always stop to chat when we bump into one another, guess I need to make more of an effort there!
- mother of another friend of Ben, I - lovely lady, very, very helpful, but not quite my cup of tea, don't quite know what it is...
- mother of a friend of VQ**, V - is French, and quite possibly moving back to France, thanks to her lowlife husband who brought them here in the first place.
- wife of one of Si's colleagues, C - we try to meet once a week for a walk (with Logan) and then coffee, we chat mainly (99%) in English as C spent 5 years living in Canada, this is great for both of us, but doesn't improve my German, but if I've had a week without Simon it's great to have an adult to chat with.
So where do I go from here? How does one make friends with Germans? Maybe I should discover God and join a church...maybe not. Considered joining the running club but I can barely run and talk in English let alone in Geman. I do a step class but there's very little socialising afterwards (actually there's none) and you don't chat during a step class do you? Not if you want to stay on your feet anyway! Am starting a pilates class but I should imagine the same happens there. Maybe there's a basket weaving class I could join...
Oh, and before you think, 'you poor sad cow, you should at your age know how to make friends, get a grip'. It's not just me! Lulu from a blog I read feels the same way, see here.
ps. my sanity is held together by my fantastic English friends; Alison, Jacky & Rebecca (you're in alphabetical order...) because they 'get me'. We have the same reference points, the love of Cadbury chocolate, Fawlty Towers and 80's pop music and I can guarantee they all know the answer to 'it's friday, it's 5 to 5, it's.....***
* I'm not being lazy, I chose this word specifically for its wishywashyness
**VQ = vomit queen, or Jasmine to give her her proper name