I am meeting a girl (that I've never met) for coffee today that found me through the blog. I stopped to think about it...she will be the fifth person I've met like this because of the blog. All four others I still keep in touch with and meet up with (well, Rachel moved away :( ). It's a bit like a blind date, but not nearly as nerve-wracking, of course.
It got me thinking...you don't really have to be an extrovert to survive a move abroad...or any big move. I'm a pretty big introvert, in fact.
I graduated a semester early from college (because of high school dual credit courses and summer classes) right as the dot.com crash happened. I had a Management Information Systems business degree. Great. Nice job opps. I ended up working for a U.S. Congressional campaign in my college town. It was nice because I got to sort of stay with my friends in college, but I wasn't in college anymore. I was working 10 - 12 hour days. What? The real world is terri!
My friends, still living in college la-la land, were calling me and asking "Did you eat my cereal?". "Excuse me...first of all, no I didn't eat your honey bunches o' oats, and second of all, I don't have time for these shenanigans...I'm trying to get a man elected to help run the free world! click."
A campaign consultant came for a week to help the candidate. She was well trained in psychology and personality science and that sorta stuff. (Really similar to what the new lady on Mad Men does.)
Mad Men's Dr. Miller, surely she'll be hooking up with Don at some point.
She knew me for about 10 minutes and said, "You're definitely an introvert, probably a Guardian". "What? I'm nobody's guardian, lady, and I'd like to think I'm good with people". I was a bit offended.
Well, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and what do you know? Introvert. And a Guardian (one of the four main types of personalities). I didn't like this result. I wanted to be an extrovert. I thought being an introvert meant being shy and sorta nerdy. Well, not really.
She said it basically boils down to this: Do you find yourself energized by social interaction or do you get your energy by being alone?
I definitely like to be with people and go out, but I often find myself in need of down time to recharge. I don't get increasingly revved up as the party goes on like some social butterflies.
Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around. Nope. Never been like that.
Introverts, on the other hand, after being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge." Definitely me.
Contrary to what most people think, being an introvert does not mean a person is shy or bad with people. Oh, good.
So, I think being an introvert can actually help when you're an expat. You are mostly alone when you first move to another country and an extrovert might have a really hard time with this. I, on the other hand, can do it for quite a long time and be fine. I definitely need to be with others and socialize in spurts, but not all the time. In fact, too much time with others and not any time for myself leads to malfunction.
When I was little, I used to sit in a 3' x 3' toy closet we had upstairs and 'teach' my imaginary class for hours on the chalkboard. I loved it.
I also, not surprisingly, spent lots of alone time in boxes with my kittens.
Fast forward to now. (whether I want it or not, love is always near.)
I guess that's why I can sit alone and write blog posts about random topics and entertain myself...not in the closet though, they don't have those here or I might try it for old times sake.
Anyways, my point is, you do not have to be super outgoing to move to a new country. You just have to start a blog.
Really, you just have to make an effort, join a club (my English one has been great) and have a good attitude.
(Disclaimer: I don't only make friends from cyberspace...I promise. I have more friends I've met the 'regular' way than the 'bloggy' way...I think.)