Thursday, June 28, 2007

Growing our roots here

When Neil said that the hardest thing here might be meeting friends we really click with, it struck me as something really odd. Since kindergarten, I’ve never had trouble making friends. To the point where I never even had to think about it, so when he said that I didn’t take him seriously, because come on – there are always friends around! People have been so good to me no matter where I’ve been.

Now, after 10 days of being here, I think I am realizing what he meant by saying it. In England we didn’t have many friends but there were Neil’s parents, who we hung out often and had dinners with. I can’t say that not having friends here is really bothering me, in fact, there is nothing that I can put a finger on that I feel like it would not be to my satisfaction. But I think there is something underneath it all that I miss or would like to have here.

Last night we went to an event at the church for people ages 25-35, it was a really cool time with a bunch of people our age but when these two girls came up and asked what they can pray for me about, I really had to bite my lip and keep it short not to start crying. I said that we want to meet people here and get connected.

We are so blessed. We have enough money that we can start a life in a new country while neither of us is working. It looks like we won’t be making money for another 2 months until paperwork comes but we’ll make it. And we have a little place that we have grown to like and we are safe here and we have time to spend with each other. And Neil has offers so he just needs to pick the best one and he has a wonderful lady agent who works hard to find him a job and looks like she might connect me with the right people to find me a job. We’ve been able to find so many deals for things like coffee shops and foods and places to hang out for free, which helps saving money and all in all, we’ve been showered in God’s favors and goodness, which we are so thankful for.

But really, really what I want deep down, and I feel selfish saying this, is for someone to invite us for a dinner. I realize as I am typing this how silly this sounds but every time we go out to a new church I hope that someone will invite us for a dinner, fully realizing that people don’t invite strangers they’ve just met for a dinner, but when it doesn’t happen (keep in mind we’ve only been out to a church or event 3 times), I feel disappointed. I think maybe when someone invites someone else for a dinner, it’s their way of saying “I am interested in you, I want to get to know you better, I want to do something for you”. And I think that I need that now, when we don’t have a real home or friends here. I would invite someone to our place for a dinner but there isn’t enough space for 4 people to fit in, let alone sit down. I was thinking of inviting someone to meet up for a dinner but then I think I would sound a little too desperate.

But this is good. There is a learning curve when we are in need. The one thing I’ve realized, which I’ve known for a long time but didn’t take all opportunities to practice, is that when people are in need of something and you know it, just saying “I will pray for you” is less than enough. When there is a need and you can meet it, you have to meet it. I am writing this to myself. I have been in so many situations where I have known of a need but because of my laziness or because I had to sacrifice something, I didn’t meet. Now, when I am on the other end of the stick, I am realizing how selfish I’ve been.

On the other hand, people I totally didn't expect have reached out to us. Like we went for a lunch with a guy who is probably over 50, who's been a druggie and drunk and trouble maker pretty much his whole life until he became a Christian. Now he's on fire for God. And yesterday when I was chatting with newlywed couples, Neil was talking to a South African guy who's been in Brisbane 3 years and who said we should check out a cafe on top of his work place because the whole city is seen from there.

Also, I have to mention this awesome book I am reading, it's called "The Heavenly Man", about this Chinese man who is the Billy Graham for China but after he's been beaten almost death numerous times and imprisoned and chased his whole life but he's been on fire for God. It's a book at the right time. I think God is speaking to me through it in many ways. Not particularly in our situation but in the faith, knowing that as long as we focus on Him, everything will work out perfectly, according to his plan. It's comforting.


Felicia said...

I almost cried reading your post. And not out of pity, I know you would hate me for that, but because I want to invite you guys over for a dinner feast and you are too far away...:( I never thought of it that way, but maybe that's why I like to feed people so much: I want to show I am interested in them and I care. I am sure God will teach many people through you how to take care of the newcomers and how to offer a hand. Just wait until you are in the position to do it. Meantime, I DO pray that God will send some angels to invite you for a homecooked meal and fellowship in their home. It is important to have that, I don't think you are unrealistic expecting that from members of a church, followers of Christ. OK.. I think this is the longest comment I posted on your blog. Maybe I should write an email!?:)

karen said...

I know how you feel. I don't remember having much trouble finding friends as a kid and in college and in Idaho Falls, but outside of a few people we occasionally get together with from work, I don't have any close friends here. It's hard to meet people with the hours we work and I haven't really made close friends with any of the women I know from work. It's kind of frustrating sometimes. The good thing is you're there together and there are no limits on your possibilities!

rochelle said...

ah, darlin' you have such a combination of things that are hard right now... finding friends in a new place, finding friends as a couple (much harder than just by yourself), and finding friends in a non-college environment (toootally different). You two are such friendly wonderful people though, that while it's hard right now I have no doubt it'll take long. My suggestion though: PICK a church (don't church-shop, just pick one) and JUMP into a small group / Bible study with as much ambition as you can... even if you're not sure about it all. And don't be afraid to tell people "we're new here, we're always free on friday nights".

(I'm writing a novel too Felicia)

I say all that because it's exactly what a couple in my small group here did, we met them around the third week they were here and they point-blank told us that they just wanted to find friends right away.. so they took the initiative even though they didn't know a soul and didn't know if they'd get along with us. (don't be afraid to suggest going out for dinner with someone - if they don't want to they'll say no, no harm done.)

kontrabanda said...

it's so cool to have such awesome friends! thank you for all the comments. yesterday neil and i had a really good chat, then we went and saw "blades of glory" where we laughed so hard at totally dumb but really funny jokes and i think things are back to normal :) tomorrow we are off to the australia zoo, the home of steve irwin, and then sunday we are celebrating neil's birthday. thank you for all the awesome comments!