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Old 22.03.2011, 12:29
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Losing contact with 'back home'?

For a change, I'll try to keep the OP brief here:

Do you find yourself gradually losing contact with people you used to know in the 'old country'? If so, when you speak to them, do you find it difficult to find anything to talk about?

Do you find their cultural references unfathomable? Do you tire of the latest buzzwords (if I ever hear anyone finish a sentence with "End of.", I am liable to hang up on him without further ado)? Do you find their relentless discussion of politicians and celebrities you've never heard of and care little about boring beyond belief?

Am I just a miserable old sod?

Well?

(No, Fatbloke: I'm not talking about you)
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:31
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

As a loner, I only had 4 friends to start with - 1 from primary school, 1 from secondary school and 1 from first university and 1 from second university. I no longer stay in contact with them any more (I haven't lived in the UK for around 7 years). Oh well, thank goodness for family and them not having a bloody choice.

With cultural references, yes, I don't understand anything any longer, have no idea about the latest product/song/tv programme etc. End of. Actually my pet peeve is when people start a sentence with "At the end of the day". Not only is it a mindless cliche but it's confusing in that it sounds like they've just said something and are finishing a sentence instead of starting one.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:32
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

My tip:

Offer chocolate and Budget knickers as a friendship gift, get them hooked on light coffee served with Zwetchgen schnapps, tell them how lovely their country is and tune out for half of the conversation.

Seriously, it works every time.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:36
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

I must say I'm pretty crap at keeping in touch with anyone from my past; school, uni, rugby clubs etc included. That's not because we're living over here, it's just the way I am. I also hardly ever speak with my siblings.
'Er indoors, on the other hand, is still regularly in touch with primary school friends and talks to her family almost on a weekly basis.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:39
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

Quote:
For a change, I'll try to keep the OP brief here:

Do you find yourself gradually losing contact with people you used to know in the 'old country'? If so, when you speak to them, do you find it difficult to find anything to talk about?

Do you find their cultural references unfathomable? Do you tire of the latest buzzwords (if I ever hear anyone finish a sentence with "End of.", I am liable to hang up on him without further ado)? Do you find their relentless discussion of politicians and celebrities you've never heard of and care little about boring beyond belief?

Am I just a miserable old sod?

Well?

(No, Fatbloke: I'm not talking about you)
Yup.

Actually, I keep in touch with a few friends and family through facebook but I remember something my brother told me some years ago (he moved to Madrid 30 years ago) about his old friends in Leeds, "we just don't have anything in common anymore"

And along these lines, a US comedian at the funny laundry last year was talking about how great it must be to live here.... "you go up the Matterhorn, sail over all these lakes, ski all winter, take the train to Milan and Paris etc etc...."

Then you go home to Chicago and tell all your all friends about all the things you've been up to and they look at each other and mumble "Well, a new Walmart opened here last month"
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:40
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

In short:Yes (didn't you do a thread about this already?)

...but I think Gender plays a role, as Paddy G suggests. I'm also bad at keeping in touch with people whom I don't see regularly. The Mrs, on the other hand is usually still in contact with her old friends.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:40
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

Do you find yourself gradually losing contact with people you used to know in the 'old country'?

Yes. Definitely.

If so, when you speak to them, do you find it difficult to find anything to talk about?

Not really, it's mainly friends from the old company and we catch up on news. Then there's the usual fallbacks of women, football and women

Do you find their relentless discussion of politicians and celebrities you've never heard of and care little about boring beyond belief?

Nah, but very often now when I'm back in the UK, I have totally lost touch with cricket news for example or find myself forgetting English words like "dowel" (that thing you put into wood to hold it together).
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:43
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

No you're not. I too have noticed that it has happened over the past 2 years with some people back home. People that I considered to be friends and thought we would be friends for life. The change in lifestyle, choices etc has created sort of invisible barrier that conversations are awkward because we no longer have much in common.

On the other hand, I still have a few friendships that have withstood the distance. They've made the effort to include me in things all this time - sending me packages from home, taking pictures and videos of their latest gatherings and showing me what I've missed, with bloody gut wrenching messages like: "wish you were here". Sometimes i want to punch them (for heightening my homesickness but I know they never meant to do that) so I've simply learnt to treasure these ones even more. As for those who have drifted away, I figured that they just arent meant to be friends for life and have let them get on with theirs.

No hard feelings.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:44
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

It depends on who I'm talking about. I had loads of casual friends back in the 'old country' but aside from the occasional Facebook correspondence, there's not much interaction no one actively keeps up the relationship. It's interesting to know what's going on in their lives, but if they slipped off my radar I probably wouldn't give it much thought beyond "whatever happened to so-and-so"?

On the other hand, I have a small core of friends that geography can't change. Most are, like me, globetrotters, and they've ended up scattered around the far corners of the earth: Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, UK, USA, and even more exotic places like Afghanistan, the Sudan, and Iraq. With these friends, picking up where we left off is never a problem, and we make the extra effort to see one another when we can. Their global outlook means we're never at a loss for something to talk about, and it's rarely the latest political debate or fad back home.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:47
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

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Their global outlook means we're never at a loss for something to talk about, and it's rarely the latest political debate or fad back home.
It's interesting: the one friend back home with whom I am still in regular contact, and to whom I'm quite happy to chat for hours on end, is clearly in this category. Although he lives in England - and has done nearly all his life - he isn't from England, and is very international in his outlook.

His conversation is never boring.

Except when he talks about cricket.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:52
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

Out of sight, out of mind.

Life goes on for them, they forget about us.
We sit waiting for them to call, to write to email.
When we call/email/write, we are full of new experiences and I am sure this sets jealousies off. Being an expat is relatively exciting and unknown to those stuck in on Wednesdays waiting for Coronation Street, our world has already drifted apart when we moved.

In South Africa , BritPats are called 'Sout Piele' , or Salty Dicks, because they have one foot in England, one foot in South Africa and their dick in the sea between.

Let people be, let them get on with their small grounded lives.
Expand your current lives, make new friends all the time. I have lost count of the people I have met, the friends that have faded into the past and the faces I cant recall.

Ships in the night.

Which reminds me, I must send an invite to my old high school chum in Blighty. Have known him for 33 years. Haven't spoken for a month or two. He will always be there, he knows what I am am what I do, we both know contact will happen , and when it happens and we are always pleased to see each other regardless of the time in between.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:56
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

Ditto what Summerrain said.

Also, ex-colleagues and former work-related associates. It happily becomes quite quickly apparent who your friends are, who might last the distance and who won't. And, strangely, those who hardly spoke to you in the office (for lack of opportunity) but nodded and said hi when they ran into you in the corridors can become better friends if they keep in touch (a few did).

And I know I have become slightly alienated from Malaysian culture when I fear to open the pack of smelly shrimp paste that someone gave me a while back.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:56
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

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Haven't spoken for a month or two. He will always be there, he knows what I am am what I do, we both know contact will happen , and when it happens and we are always pleased to see each other regardless of the time in between.
That to me is the mark of a true friendship. You dont talk/see each other for sometime, but when you do, its like it was just yesterday. All you need is a couple of them in this lifetime, to make up for the other eejits that pass through.
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Old 22.03.2011, 12:56
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

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Let people be, let them get on with their small grounded lives.

It's not just "them".. people can ride a pretty high horse when they feel superior to those left behind..
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Old 22.03.2011, 13:03
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

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It's not just "them".. people can ride a pretty high horse when they feel superior to those left behind..
True, but I think he might have a point.

I recently told one friend that we were moving house.

"Oh yes," she sneered. "A nice place in the suburbs? Any nice delis round there?"

Er, no, actually. We've moved to a small industrial town in the shadow of Fronalpstock. There's a Migros, a Coop and a Denner, but no delis. What would we do with one if we had one?

There's a whole world of snobbery that no longer makes any sense to me. I don't care about sun dried tomatoes and origano-scented olive oil. I can go to an Italian restaurant run by real Italians, where they serve plain Italian food, anytime I like. Meanwhile, my friend thinks it's important to live near a deli.

Weird. I just don't understand that world any more.
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Old 22.03.2011, 13:10
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

People bag it but facebook has really helped my wife and I keep in touch with all my mates at home and in other countries. I am constantly updated on whats been happening, whose preggers, whose getting married etc etc. My close friends I talk to on the phone and skype every few months (time difference can be annoying though). I speak to my parents more now than I ever did in Australia. And you can always hang up on them when they start giving you the shits
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Old 22.03.2011, 13:16
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

It's interesting, I was thinking about that the other day.

There are handful of friends that I could always talk to as if we've never been apart, both back home and here in my new home.

Others... I think friends come and go.
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Old 22.03.2011, 13:16
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

When I left the US, I had a large, strong group of friends. I've stayed in touch with many of them, but in reality, there are only a couple I'm still in close contact with. When I go back for a visit, I fall back in with the majority, but overall, we're no longer a part of each others lives. And I doubt we would be if I'd decide to move back.

I've found those whom I've got the easiest friendship with, and whom I still stay in closer contact with, are those with an international outlook or experience in life. Those who never left the US (even for a holiday), or at least thought about it, are those I just don't have anything in common with as mentally we come from radically different places.

I definitely don't get the slang these days (and sometimes I'm even borderline offended by it...why oh why do you call your genitals "junk"? Are they trash?), and they are baffled by mine. Same with language, it seems to be off-putting for them that I don't speak in the same way I once did, and sometimes I even spell things differently from how I did in the US.

I've not been back for a visit since 2007, and I've been gone for over 8 years now.
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Old 22.03.2011, 13:19
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

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In short:Yes (didn't you do a thread about this already?)

...but I think Gender plays a role, as Paddy G suggests. I'm also bad at keeping in touch with people whom I don't see regularly. The Mrs, on the other hand is usually still in contact with her old friends.

Is this the one:
People who talk about the telly
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Old 22.03.2011, 13:21
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Re: Losing contact with 'back home'?

when i read these posts it sounds like your greatest accomplishment in life was moving to switzerland. get over yourselves.
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