I had a really great night last night. It’s been quite a while since I have been out with ‘the girls’ so it was frankly just what I needed to feel like someone other than MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY.
I recently met an expat here from my original home state of Michigan. She mentioned that she was going to an ‘International Women’s Expat’ meetup and I was more than invited to join her. On our way to the Tilburg city center via the train last night, I asked her what kind of group this was going to be.
She explained that it was just a no frills get together with some interesting women. I wasn’t exactly sure how well I would fit in- as I barely knew my friend that well, and I didn’t consider myself even remotely interesting either- but I was really dying to get out of the house after our self-imposed cold quarantine. The hubs is always supportive whenever I tell him about some kind of social gathering that I want to attend- so I gladly traded in my role as bedtime asylum orderly and looked forward to meeting some new people. I imagined ladies from the United States who had been in the Netherlands for a few months like myself. Ah. Sometimes I have to just laugh at my egocentricsm.
As a whole there were 10 of us. England, Latvia, Bulgaria, US (Philadelphia, Michigan and South Carolina), Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic were represented. Our common language was English- and of course, wine. My first thought was wow! What an eclectic group!
A couple of us were married, a few had kids- and the rest were in a relationship. I was the only one who didn’t work- and had the most kids at 3, so it was nice that we didn’t sit around and talk about sippy cups and sagging body parts. We talked about what books we were reading, where we had been- where we were going and what the relationships were like with our significant others.
It was great that instead of swapping tales of nap schedules and one uppers over diaper messes- the conversations were more along the lines of how we got here. It wasn’t a competition. We were genuinely interested to learn from each other and share anecdotes about our home country. I was pleasantly surprised when the Czech lady told me her favorite book of all time was Gone With The Wind. She knew facts about the Civil War and what southern society was like then and now. How much did I know about her homeland? Try nothing. But it didn’t matter. We chatted away anyhow and before we knew it- it had gotten late. Midnight was most defiantly past my bedtime but I made a mental note that I had some research to do on the countries around me.
Sometimes I need to remember to step outside of my social comfort zone. I tend to get into that rut of ‘meh. I don’t feel like getting myself together to go out… I’ve been home all day and now I’m just exhausted..’ but if I had done that last night, look what I would have missed! I was inspired by what these women have done, were currently doing- and at the same time proud of my family. I was impressed with their rather worldly jobs- and they were impressed that I would move a world away with three little kids. Wanderlust abounding- I now have 20 other places I want to see while we’re here. Yeah. Maybe the fact that we are doing it- and happy- IS something after all. Learning about others=learning about myself. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this expat thing.
Was it worth the wine-headache this morning and 5am child wakeup? Yes.
Have you ever joined a meetup or club? What did you think?