Foreign Friendships

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Filed under: , , ,

I had a really hard time making friends in Brazil. Lots of factors played into the challenges, but language, cultural differences, and location were the biggest hardships. I figured coming back to Canada would be easy... I would have all my old friends back!

Did you realize that people's lives continue without you when you leave a place? No? Me neither... Yeah, well it's been an unexpected challenge trying to get together with my old best friends, simply because our lives are running on different schedules. The best part about the difficulties in getting together with my besties is that I have not been disappointed and they are still just as amazing as ever. Love keeping friendships strong.

But what to do about the gap I feel in losing those close friendships with people who understood all the difficulties in adjusting to a new culture and language? Who understands adjusting to another culture and language better than other foreigners? Now that I'm back in Canada, I'm just normal, not foreigner anymore, not special. 

One of the biggest surprises, I'm discovering, is how much I am relating to and bonding with foreigners who have moved to Canada. I'm taking this TESL Diploma program right now (which I am LOVING, and Danielle can attest to this as I update her with my newly acquired linguistic knowledge just for fun!) The funny/ironic part of this program is out of around 20 students, I am one of three English as a First Language speakers. The large majority of students are relative newcomers to Canada (let's not comment on how odd this is in a program of people wanting to teach English...) but what I do love is how interested I am in my colleagues trials and tribulations of immigrating to Canada and how much I have in common with them.

Without Brazil, I'm sorry to say, I wouldn't have really thought twice about how difficult it is to adapt. Sorry!

It's really promising and uplifting realizing that I can have a similar friendships with foreigners who have moved here. It fills the hole (and through the Brazilians and Portuguese friends I can still speak Portuguese!)

Good things are happening... and after a really happy weekend I feel more positive about our future here.

5 Responses to Foreign Friendships

  1. Tricia

    So nice to read this! Congrats on this news and your new arrival in Nov. x Bjs.

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  3. Tiffany

    I know I am MONTHS late into reading this, but I completely understand as I went through that after moving back from Palau. Before I went I was one of the many blonds -- you know, all of my friends were, well, white or at the very least, American born. When I came back I realized we all missed so much and that was hard PLUS I missed collective-cultural people. Started going to a Spanish speaking church even though I didn't speak Spanish, met a bunch of friends from there, and made more friends with other Americans who had lived abroad. It was a major shift, but in the end I am happy with how it turned out. I hope you have (by now) found how to readjust and find the friends that fit YOU!

  4. Lindsey

    It's weird how much you don't realize the huge change you make until you're back and able to see where you came from.
    Good for you that you found where you fit though... how long have you been back?
    I'm still working on the readjustment-it doesn't help that Im' still at my mom's house. But we're working on it... :)

  5. Tiffany

    Oh man, that was years ago... 2004? Yeah. And then I went through it again in 2007, but the second time around I knew what to expect so it was easier. I long to move abroad again (to Brazil, of course) but I think we are both aware of how much you have to go through either way. We shall see...

    It took me a good year to fully readjust. And even now, my closest friends remain those I met during this transition period.

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