My husband, Peter, and I feel like social butterflies.
We certainly are not. But it feels as if we are because we are staying in a new city and finding it easier to make new friends than at any time since we were children.
When Peter and I moved back to Minnesota to be closer to our family, we missed our old routines and the friends we used to spend time with. Moving to a new city did not bring with it a lot of new friends. Everyone already had friends. Peter and I saw a lot more of our families, which was wonderful. But except for the friends we still had from when we lived here as teenagers, we didn’t see many new people.
This is not the way it works when we are in Mexico.
“Can we have brunch with Karina and Rick on Friday?” I asked.
“We’re going to dinner with Joel and Chené on Friday.”
“I thought we could do brunch.”
“We’re having brunch with Raul and Nathan.”
I realized I had something scheduled every day this week. This is not like me.
Somehow, spending time with people who are all new to this place—leaving what is familiar and trying something new—something about this pulls us together. I realized it’s because we’re all newcomers.
As newcomers, we’re eager to share our newcomer energy, and to hear where other newcomers have been and where they’re going next. Almost all the newcomers I meet are making changes, going to new places, and trying something new. And, because they are newcomers, they all are excited (and a little nervous) to tell others about it.
“I started painting during the pandemic,” Rosalie told us. She claims she is not an experienced painter, yet all her work has been eagerly taken by friends who have it hanging in their homes.
“I’m working on a memoir.”
“I’ve taken up yoga.”
“I’d like to write a novel.”
“I’m fostering a dog.”
The thing we newcomers all share is the opportunity to look at this new place with fresh eyes and apply that fresh perspective to our lives. I am amazed how few people I meet are trying to replicate the lives they have in the U.S. or Canada. Instead, they are figuring out how to do things differently in this very different place—where fireworks go off every night and occasionally at six in the morning, where roosters are constantly crowing, and dogs barking, and the streets are paved with cobblestones, and a lot of the shoes we brought do not work at all.
“Oh, my gosh! I nearly killed myself trying to walk in platform sandals last night!”
“I know. Platforms do not work!”
I love hearing stories about changing course, trying new things, and getting off the beaten track.
Meanwhile, I keep working on my new project, getting my first novel ready to sell. My agent tells me we’re almost ready. It will be a long process, she says, and there are no guarantees. I’m OK with that. I know I’m a newcomer to this as well.
Spending time with newcomers in Mexico has made me realize that most of us aren’t attached to a particular outcome. We like what we are doing right now—and we like doing it together.
“It’s about enjoying life while we’re living it—and not worrying about when it’s going to end,” Karina, another newcomer, said over dinner last night.
I like that. And I think there might be time to squeeze in one more coffee this week.
Till next time,