Last week I made 5 new friends.
I can’t remember the last time I made that many new friends in a week. As I have got older, meeting new people that I click with has become harder, and to be honest it has never worried me, I much prefer quality over quantity anyway.
But when you move to a new country, and try to settle in a new city, I have really found meeting people a challenge. I have had to approach it in a very different way than what I have been used to. I lived in Melbourne my whole life, and I guess I had taken for granted how you just seem to know a lot of people when you have been in the one place forever. When I moved to Mumbai I only knew one person here, an old family friend, and they have not really been interested in showing me around or helping me meet people.
Many people meet others through work, but I have been consulting and working part-time in a small office. My opportunities to meet people has been quite limited.
Also I am no spring chicken, so I am not interested in hitting the bars, drinking copious amounts and meeting hundreds of random, inebriated people. Perhaps if I was younger this would be more appealing, but in my late 30’s, it is certainly not my scene. I like good conversation and great food over a glass of wine, and then crawl into bed before midnight. This is my idea of a great night out.
I have tried a few new ways to meet people, one of the most unexpected and actually easiest ways I have found to meet people is through online social networking, in particular Twitter. I never imagined I could forge relationships over 140 characters, but have actually found it to be the best way to meet people that I share an interest with. Through Twitter I have met other people who enjoy good food as much as me, fellow Australians who have moved to India, fellow travellers and people who share my love of the movies. I have even dated a couple of people I met through Twitter (and anyone who has read other parts of my blog knows that that has been less than successful), but they have still been people of similar ilk.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t meet everyone I have met online, I actually am quite selective and tend to use my judgement. But so far, I have to say my judgement has been really good.
Last week in particular I met three lovely women that I had met online. We shared a love of good food and cooking, so we had dinner together where each bought a dish they had cooked (I moved house this week so I cheated and just took along wine). Over some fabulous home made dips, focaccia, pesto and lemon curd cake, four women bonded. It was a great night, and we are already planning our next catch up.
On Friday night I caught up with another woman whom I had met at a blogging meet a few weeks earlier. I have been learning about all sorts of different meet-ups that happen across Mumbai, which are good opportunities to meet new people. In the past couple of months I have been to several blogging meets (where bloggers get together to learn about a new product in the hope that we might write about it… for the record I will only talk about the specific product if it is relevant to what I am writing about in my blog and if I actually liked it). I have also been to travel meets (where people interested in and/or working in the industry meet up).
I met this particular lady at a blogging meet about wine, she was actually the host. So over a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday evening we had a great chat, enjoyed a laughed and planned to give each other cooking classes (clearly my love of food features highly in my relationships). I look forward to seeing her again.
The next day I caught up with another woman I had met briefly at an expat meet. I have only been to one expat meet in Mumbai but I found it to be very strange. The intention is that its a place for expats to meet other expats. I personally don’t feel any particular need to meet only expats, and actually really enjoy that almost all the friends I have made here are locals. I haven’t settled in Mumbai to live in a Western bubble (and yes there are many expats like me, but there are also many who are not).
What was strange about the expat meet I went to was that about 90% of the crowd was local. When I talked to a few people (men and women) it became clear many had never left Mumbai, let alone travelled overseas. So what were they doing at an expat function? After some chats, and some observation it became obvious that the men were there to try and pick up “easy” foreign women, and the women were there to find themselves a “wealthy” foreign man. This was definitely not my crowd!
I didn’t stay too long, but I did meet a couple of lovely German women who had recently moved to Mumbai. I have caught up with both of them again and its been lovely. I am off to a gallery opening with one later this week, and am planning to attend the Mumbai Film Festival with the other in a couple of weeks.
Its been a good week. After all, a girl needs her girlfriends, and I think I may just have met some.