So you can imagine how much more space this subject takes up in my mind when I see that others are having just as hard of a time.
Even though it's not JUST ME, it doesn't take away from the fact that making friends in a new country is extremely difficult.
Which is why when a chance encounter happened, I was all up in it!
I was out with my husband and toddler, walking around the museum quarter on a sunny day when out of nowhere this little girl took a liking to my son.
She wouldn't stop trying to hug him!
At some point, my son took off running into the field, and she went straight after him.
Here we were, two sets of parents, running after our 2 year olds, dodging tourists and cameras all around.
At some point, I decided to stay back and observe. My husband and the mom of the girl were still running after them. I started making small talk with the dad and picked up an American accent. Or let's say, a non-Dutch accent.
I asked the usual questions, where are you guys from, what brings you here, etc.
The moment he told me that they've been living here for 3 years was the moment a light bulb went off in my head.
FRIENDS! FRIENDS! FRIENDS! FRIENDS!
We all then caught up with the kids and got more into talking. I ended up walking around with the mom, while my husband chatted with her husband. I loved them immediately.
I knew I had to make them our friends.
Muahahaha suckers had no clue what was about to hit them.
So after an hour of walking around, and our kids playing as if they've known each other forever, we exchanged phone numbers.
Now, this is usually where the story ends, and I wanted to make sure that wouldn't be the case.
I met up with her for coffee the following week, then we invited them over for breakfast, then they invited us over for dinner, and now we're about to go to Drag Bingo night with them.
All because I rose up to the opportunity given to me. Old me would have just brushed it off as our kids being cute, exchanged pleasantries and called it a day. But new me knows how hard it is to make friends, so I had to get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there.
And honestly, my friendship with her has saved me a lot of mental anguish because I now have someone I can reach out to when I'm having a difficult time here.
Sometimes just one person can make the biggest difference in the world.
So my challenge to YOU is to start spotting these serendipitous moments that can completely impact your life in a meaningful way.
Don't let that love/friend/mentor walk away.
While it's uncomfortable at the beginning to make the first step, the benefits you'll reap from that relationship will make up for it. I promise.