Ming the Mechanic:

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Socializing2003-08-23 18:16
1 comment
by Flemming Funch

Finally we're getting a bit of a social life here in Toulouse. By now we actually have a few local friends. We have had a couple of events to go to. And we've actually said hello to one of two of the neighbors.

I was a little worried about how difficult it was going to be, since at first we didn't really know anybody, and nobody spoke English, and it was a while before we met anybody at all. And the stereotype of how French people work is that after maybe a couple of years your neigbors might answer your "bonjour" and after five years they might invite you in for coffee. Or, like, the first 5 times you meet somebody at a party, they'll ignore you, and the 6th time they'll be your best friends. Luckily it isn't that bad at all.

French people aren't very superficial, so smiles and kindness and friendship isn't automatic, and not to be taken for granted. But it isn't far away, and it is sincere when offered. It is quite visible when people make a conscious decision to be your friend. Not a casual choice.

Aside from that it is enjoyable to know some good and interesting people, it is also a selfish matter of survival. There is a lot we need to know about how things work, which we can't all learn from books and websites. And it is extremely valuable if a French person can lead us through dealing with the authorities on various things, or even speak for us.

It is also very helpful at this stage to know some English speaking folks who've already gone through some of the things we're trying to figure out. And there are several places to do that. Americans in Toulouse has several hundred members, a very useful handbook online, and many events where one can meet others. Yesterday we went on a trip to the local aquarium with them. And this evening we went for a long run/walk with Toulouse Hash House Harriers, which is a crazy English drinking club "with a running problem". Which was good fun.

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1 comment

6 Sep 2003 @ 11:26 by magical_melody : Glad to hear you are socializing!
Glad to hear you are connecting. It can take awhile to meet people you can truly relate with, relax and enjoy. Seems to take a bit of trust and patience that the right folks will come along in time. I know, being here in NZ. Patience is a virtue as they say! Blessings!  

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2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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