Category Archives: Friendships

Getting Invovled. Too Involved.

So, I hear that there’s this really awesome-active and super-involved parents’ group in our area.

I’m on the mailing list.

I have the membership card.

I get the newsletters.

I have yet to attend an event….

The most I HAVE done is trade e-mails and phone calls with one of the organizers, who is just so friendly and nice, by the way.

As soon as she learned that I just moved here (and didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood), she  immediately invited me to coffee.

I was so excited! This could possibly be my first BRITISH friend. Maybe she could explain my oven to me… hmmm.

We met up last week while her daughter was in nursery school. Since I also haven’t bothered to find one for Avery, I had him in tow.

“No worries”, she chirped over e-mail. “I’m looking forward to meeting your son, too.”

I told you. So nice.

We talked for over two hours while Avery amused himself with his cars and trucks–ramming them into his sugary pastry bribe (If you sit still, you can have this ENTIRE massive, gooey, raisin-y sweetness all to yourself)… and occasionally tossing them across the table.

He was mostly well-behaved, except for drinking his milk and spitting it out INTO my coffee…

I know, Eww!

She seemed to take everything in stride. Having a toddler of her own, she was totally cool with it… I think, and we just continued with our conversation.

I learned that her husband also works in the film industry… just like Mike. In fact, he even works in computer graphics… just like Mike.

“Wait, what company did you say he works for… Whoa! No way!”… yep, just like Mike.

As soon as I got home, I called Mike and asked if he knew her husband. He did… Quite well, in fact.

HE’S MIKE’S BOSS!!!

I flipped out. I just had coffee with Mike’s boss’ wife and had no freakin’ clue!

I probably should have pieced it together based to some of the things she’d mentioned, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just so eager for her to like me, which I actually couldn’t get a read on.

I’ve since replayed the entire event in my head over and over and over again, each time sinking deeper and deeper into my personal shame cycle.

Avery was licking the cafe window*… in front of Mike’s boss’ wife!

Avery totally had a poopy diaper and I didn’t even notice… but what if Mike’s boss’s wife did?

At one point, I think I may have accidentally spit while I was talking to… Oh my  dear goodness! Mike’s boss’ wife!

What’s worse is I had suggested that me meet for dinner this weekend and I haven’t heard back from her. Now, chances are she’s busy. Understandable. It did take a few weeks for us to find a time to meet for coffee…

Or she could HATE ME.

I have always liked Mike’s co-workers (and their spouses) and I’m very supportive of  Mike’s career. I mean. OBVIOUSLY.  I will move halfway around the globe for him to pursue his passion and work with great people, but I maintain a very strict boundary between Mike’s professional life and me (i.e. his personal life) because…

1) I think it’s important that Mike have a realm unto himself and…

2) to avoid situations like this: “So, I hear that Pokey Von PokeyBee** is a total jerk… Wait, what did you say your name was again? Oh, he must mean the other Pokey Von PokeyBee. he he he.”

I don’t crash their Friday “pub night”, I don’t get into the details of the office politics, and I certainly don’t hang out with “the wives/partners”.

I think possibly spitting on Mike’s boss’ wife, regardless of how unintentional, crosses that line.

*Umm, I have no idea what Avery’s deal is with licking windows… in public, no less. It’s  his new “thing” and it’s GROSS.  I stop him every time, but to no avail. I just hope he gets over it soon.

** Made-up name and there are no jerks at Mike’s current company. I know, it’s amazing. An entire company of non-jerks. No wonder Mike likes working there so much and hopes to CONTINUE working there long after the movie wraps up this winter 😀 (hint, hint)

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Filed under Family, Friendships, Misconceptions and Mishaps, Undiplomatic Behavior

A Light in the London Fog

Tomorrow marks my first month of living in London.

Hooray! Let’s drink eat cake!

Our first week here was great in spite of being completely exhausted and not having Internet or a phone. We were so happy to be together again, excited about Mike’s new job, and fascinated by everything around us.

The museums! The parks! The palaces! We couldn’t wait to explore every bit of it.

After a few days, my excitement made way for the demands of daily life, which include dealing with businesses that close for the entire month of August, buses that may or may not stop for you, and the UK time table for getting things accomplished…

When calling to get our names put on the electric bill, the average wait time due to high caller volumes was an hour!

Well, of course it was. The power company our landlords set up only takes calls from 10-4, with an hour lunch break in between. That’s what it’s like to get pretty much anything done in Britain…

I tried to keep a good attitude about it, but one day I just hit a wall.

The emails from friends and family back home had eventually dwindled, and I still didn’t know a single person here. I was so frustrated and lonely that I told Mike I was ready to just take Avery and go HOME.

It was about this time that I found Heidi… or should I say that Heidi found me and through my blog, of all places.

She’s the fellow American mom and blogger that I mentioned in a previous post. (She’s the one who turned me onto online grocery shopping.) We swapped emails. The first was about my search for cooking spray.

(Apparently my days of cooking spray are so over. The Brits have no concept of it, but that’s an entirely other post in itself…)

Then, she asked how I was adjusting to my new life. I told her that I still didn’t know a soul here, but was otherwise doing fine. I just didn’t have any one to answer my stupid questions.

“Oh my goodness, yes. I’m here for you, girl. I was you nine months ago. I was lucky enough to meet the Embassy girls…otherwise I’d know nothing!” she wrote back.

The “Embassy girls”… That just sounded so posh and knowledgeable.

She immediately invited Avery and I over to her house for a play date. I was so excited to accept I didn’t care that I had no idea where she lived (or how to get there). Fortunately, she sent me directions and I figured it out.

Since then, Heidi has put together a resource for other American moms in London, put me in contact with some of the” wiser ones”, and even introduced me to a few of the Embassy girls (wives of foreign service workers)… and just like that, my prayers were answered.

Day to day life is still a major hassle, but at least now, I have some friends who understand completely and commiserate entirely.

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Filed under Daily Life, Friendships

Saying Good-Bye

In all of the drama and details of moving, we sort of overlooked one thing…

The fact that we’re leaving so many wonderful friends in Dallas… some of which came out for a “good-bye dinner” in our honor yesterday evening.

When one of our friends first suggested it a few weeks ago, I really didn’t give it much thought. It was a very sweet gesture, of course, but I was too consumed with all of the junk… er, stuff in our house and deciding what to ship versus store. I put together a small(ish) guest list and an eVite was quietly sent, while I contended with “bigger” stuff like acquiring a passport for my toddler and putting the house on the market…

The evening of the dinner, my parents came by to watch our son and do more packing. Mike was still obsessing over some boxes of his books before I dragged him out to the car. On the way to the restaurant, we discussed how my family was handling the move and debated which storage company to go with…

We were the first to arrive and as our friends began showing up, we filled each of them in on all of the details– rehashing over and over when Mike was set to depart, when Avery and I would follow, the new job, etc.

It wasn’t until Mike and I were seated at dinner, surrounded by people who actually wanted to hear every tedious detail about our move, that it hit us…

We’re leaving them.

We are actually leaving all of these people who we love and adore. People who have heard all of our best stories so many times they could finish our sentences, but laugh out loud anyways. People who know that I talk too loud, would happily drown in queso, and am often crass, but will still be seen with me… in public, no less. People who we are touched and honored to affectionately call our “friends back home”.

Mike’s flight leaves on Thursday, as in less than a week from today… We don’t have a lot of time, but we’ve made a point of making it to lunches and play groups anyway. People have dropped by the house either to deliver boxes or a coffee cake and wish us well. Sometimes they come by to get something they’ve offered to store for us, to pack my wedding china, or even just to chat. Although no one says it out loud, I can’t help by sadly wonder if this is the last time we’ll see them “until we come back home”.

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Filed under Family, Friendships, Life In The States