When we moved to South Africa we did little research, we trusted the experts...big mistake.
When people discovered we were English (well I'm Welsh, but apparently it's the same thing) they told us about all the English people they knew, gave us phone numbers and told us where the other English people gathered.
I met a few people, swooped numbers, joined a few expat groups, but no one was really interested. They had little concept of what it was like to do things here as most were either single, no kids (Diplomats) or here on a company transfer for 2 years, not renting their houses in the UK, everything provided for them or they'd been here 20+ years and kept harping on about 'the good old days of apartheid. And they all had 'horror' stories, so I stayed away.
Most of the online groups I encountered were out of date or not specific enough to South Africa. But I did find help and support on twitter, RT's, links with phone numbers and addresses of places I needed to go for utilities, car insurance companies and tweets of 'it's hard but you'll find a way through it' from other expats all around the world.
But what no one has been able to help with is finding friends for me. We have a few acquitances for meals out, lift shares, drinks and gossip.
Today I argued with a 9 yr old over homework, returned a vacuum cleaner we'd borrowed when ours broke and was called 'Aunty Suzanne' by a 16yr old. All from the same family and I think I've achieved a long standing friendship with the family. The dad helped me out with my car insurance, the mum invited me at short notice to join her for lunch and their maid knows how I like my tea. They took hubby and youngest to meet Bear Grylls and we have impromptu Pizza nights.
So now I've made friends and have a secure and safe base to run back to I think it's time to expand my horizons and to access these expats a bit further, I'm not needy now, I know how to get things done round here, so maybe I can relax a bit more and ignore the negative comments.