When all else fails, there’ll always be expats. I admittedly spent my first six months in Rostock pointedly avoiding them unless I specifically needed something from them, opting to seek out connections with Germans instead. It was hard work but kind of paid off. Then I got complacent. Then the seeking out connections with Germans part stopped. And without expats, I had no one.
You can usually count on a good time with expats. The ingredients to an enjoyable evening are simple: alcohol, English, and complaining about the host country and its people. It’s a base kind of enjoyment sometimes that makes me feel guilty, but it’s so easy. Every day and every social encounter otherwise is a fucking struggle, mainly due to my lack of fluency in German, and partly due to cultural differences in communication. With expats – and I refer specifically to native English speaking ones – there is usually an instant bond, no matter how thin or trivial. We’re in more or less the same boat by definition. And that makes the connection easier.
It makes me wonder what it’d be like to live in an English-speaking place.
Now that my honeymoon with Rostock is fading into a chilly autumnal twilight, and my crummy mood and laziness is halting progress on German-language friendships (new or existing), I know I’ll have expats to fall back on. It might be superficial, it might be selfish, but it’s something.