I'm feeling lonely. I'm working for the first time in 5 years, surrounded by children and adults all day, Sunday through to Thursday. Conversations are fleeting, a few chats about the weekend, family, recent and future trips, but it's not really friendship, not in the way I'd like it to be. Most of the people I work with are single and are the same age as my children.
I don't get invited out by my work colleagues, I don't expect them to invite me out to be honest and they don't talk about what they've been up to or who went out with whom and where, so I don't feel left out at all, I just feel lonely and really want to have friends again.
It took a long time in South Africa to make friends, real friends, that will be friends for life, but sadly, like all my friends in the UK, they're just not in Dubai.
I've joined groups, been for coffee mornings, both good and bad experiences, I've met up with individuals for coffees, trips out, I chat with people I meet in the desert when walking Bob on weekends, I chat with people at the airport as we wait for family and friends, then go our separate ways.
I'm approachable, I'm friendly, I'm welcoming, I just don't have any friends in Dubai, other than my husband.
Peter and I are best mates, we tell one another everything, we argue and fight like cat and dog, but we were best friends the minute we met, 16+ years ago. Since the last child left home early 2014 (the teen is in boarding school in the UK and comes home for holidays) it's just been Peter and I. Peter has many more opportunities with work to socialise, but they're always work related and partners aren't often invited.
Between 6pm and 6am, Sunday to Thursday, and on weekends, it's just me and him, if he is working late or away, I have the cat and dog for company. Weekends we go out shopping or to visit somewhere and have lunch or dinner out when we feel like it, we may pop to the beach or the occasional cinema trip and we enjoy going to the desert with Bob and just go out for a coffee when we feel like it.
I'm not complaining about my life, I'm just lonely, I need female company, I need someone to pick up the phone and chat to, someone to walk round the shops with, that isn't my husband from time to time.
We've had plenty of visitors from various places to visit, long and sort stays of just one night as they transit through. But they go home and back to their other friends, they're not here all the time. Our next visitors are booked for one night in August and my mother for 3 weeks in December. I'm back in the UK July and August and spending a few days in Germany with a set of friends from South Africa who have recently relocated over there.
Looking for a friend when you're an expat is very different, especially when your children are older or have left home. I'm finding it harder in Dubai than I did in South Africa, maybe because people come and go more often or because many people who work here, return to their home country with great frequency. I last wrote about looking for a friend in July 2015. I've written many times prior to that about friendship and I'm sure there will be many more posts as and when we move again.
I don't really think I'm asking for too much. Do you have difficulty making friends?