I've left my home country four years ago, lived in two others and now a third. This current country (UK) is going to be my home for the foreseeable future because I moved here with my UK partner that I met abroad.
It kind of goes without saying that friendships are completely different when moving around a lot. I made many, but most were casual and over as soon as we were in different postcodes. My partner was in the same boat. Both of us had long-term friends at home, but we got used to being casual friends with people and not really settling down.
Now that we have moved to the UK (almost a year ago) he is back in his old life. Old good friends, family, normal work routine, being settled. And I? I have... nobody. Except for my partner of course.
My family is an ocean away, my friends and I have lost touch due to our different lives. I hang around with my partner's friends, but they are not really mine. People in the area have pretty set friend groups and I find it difficult to connect with them because it's fairly rural and people aren't as open as they were on the road.
And to be honest, I do stick out. In my home country, food is a shared thing: When we make a batch of biscuits, we go around the neighborhood and share them. When we get invited to a birthday, we bring a salad or cake. If it's a barbecue, meat or other stuff for the grill. So whenever something is up (in accordance to COVID regulations of course), my natural instinct is to bring something, despite my partner's doubts, and it doesn't get received well.
My social instincts are always wrong here and it makes me anxious. My partner keeps suggesting that I make friends with other immigrants from my country, but I don't want to do that. I want to be a citizen of THIS country and part of THIS community. If I happen to come across someone from home in that journey, fine, but I'm not giving up on integrating yet.
It's so hard, though, and after this year I'm quite lonely. I see my partner talking to his best friend every day and we've had so many meet ups with other friends, it makes me a bit envious and home sick - or better, travel sick. When travelling, at least I was part of the travel community in a way. Now he is the only person I have, I feel very dependent and like my character doesn't translate well into British life.
What are your experiences moving to a new place? How long did it take you to build a solid social net? Or did you ever? Plus, do you ever resort to just making friends with fellow immigrants? If so, how do you feel about that? I feel lost and would love to hear other immigrants' stories on the topic of friends.