Tonight is Fifi and Lolly's soccer practice night. Even though nothing much happens at soccer practice, I really look forward to it. Same with church. Not that the church we are visiting is terribly exciting, but I look forward to it every week. And it's the same with the walk to school every morning and afternoon. Though I hate sweltering in the heat, I look forward to it.
I think it's because I am around other people at these places.
I am not used to being on my own so much. Probably there has never been another time in my whole entire life where I have been alone so often. I went to school and college, always surrounded by people. I moved to Scotland, and there I didn't know anybody, true, but I went to work. And then I stopped working to have kids but quickly met people at baby swimming and breastfeeding groups and TinyTalk and was never on my own since.
But here, I neither work nor socialize. I spend all day from early morning to late afternoon with only Lolly and Jaguar for company. Then Fifi comes home, and then Scott comes home, and then sometimes in the evening I see my parents. That's it though.
I love my little kids, of course, and I love my husband and parents, but I have no idea what to do with all this alone time. I look forward to soccer practice, because I get to sit in the bleachers with other parents watching the same kids on the team, and I have someone to make small talk with. I look forward to church, because I keep hoping I'll make a friend there. I look forward to walking to and from school thinking I might meet someone along the way.
Now, I'm not wholly without friends. Thank God for Devon, whose been one of my best friends since high school. Meeting up with her now and again has been great. No small talk necessary, I can just be myself without going through that initial getting-to-know-you phase. And there are a few other people scattered around that eventually I'll get a chance to meet up with, people I either knew years ago or that I have recently met.
But at this present stage, it's pretty much me on my own. It's weird. It's quiet. It's nice in a way, I guess. It's nice not having to rush around like crazy all the time but just hanging out in my comfortable, clean, air-conditioned house. It's been good playing with Jaguar and Lolly and the dog. But it's kind of lonely. Not terribly lonely yet; I'm not crying into a box of tissues or anything. I just wonder how and if I'll ever end up meeting anyone.
The people around here, maybe they are just different from Scottish people. I just find people so very insular here, so isolated. When I try to strike up conversation with someone at the park, it falls flat. When I make small talk with another mother at the library storybook time, it doesn't really go anywhere. No one at the school stands around waiting for their kids but instead stay in their air-conditioned cars in the carpool lanes. The people at church come, sing, hear a sermon, and go home. (Except for during that incredibly uncomfortable 'Stand and shake hands with someone/Peace Be With You' segment which makes me and Scott both want to crawl under a rock.) People I guess just have their lives and their things going on and don't really have anything to do with anyone else outside of that.
Scott used to think Southerners were annoyingly friendly. He must've been basing this on restaurant waitresses and department store salesmen. I remember thinking when I moved to Scotland that West-of-Scotlanders were much friendlier. Always you have someone making chit-chat with you about the weather, the price of groceries, the weather, the tardiness of buses, the weather. It was all small talk, sure, but it was friendly. Maybe Southerners see small talk as meaningless and therefore avoid it. There's a point to that, I guess, but it makes it hard to strike up random friendships. After all, it was through random small talk at baby swimming that I met one of my best friends, Maria!
Eventually, I'm sure, I'll start to meet people. I've signed up to be on the PTA. I've joined a book club. I'm going to start selling Pampered Chef. I'll meet people eventually. For now, I'll just need to learn to enjoy my 'me' time, and be so thankful I've got a few friends from way back when, which is more than someone moving to an all new town would have. I'm definitely lucky to have that.
And I'm so thankful for Skype and text messaging and Facebook, which lets me keep in touch with all my great friends back in Greenock!