I moved to Alberta in September 2012. I left a great job, the ability to walk almost everywhere, fantastic gym, boutiques and restaurants. I also left behind really great friendships. Solid friendships built slowly over time. Friendships built on shared politics, interests and lifestyles. When I decided that Ali was my future, I made the decision to be all in. I’m not the first woman or the last one to do this so I know my story isn’t totally unique but the move to Alberta has definitely been life changing. My task is to now build real and meaningful relationships in Calgary. Doing this at 31 while working from home presents a lot of challenges…
Let’s just say that Calgary is a
little bit different than Victoria. What are some of the main differences? Winter. Needing to use my car WAY more often. Winter. Paying less sales tax. Very low humidity. No palm trees. Did I mention winter? I can handle these differences. Well, except for the winter. Snow was a treat when I was growing up. It wasn’t something that came every year or stayed for very long so it was a very romantic event. Snow here is the norm with the first snowfall usually happening in late October. The snow hangs around until April or May. This post isn’t about snow so I need to move along… The reason why I mention winter and the other above mentioned things is because I can deal (more or less) with them. What I have had less success with is coping with being away from my closest friends. I have cried alone, sent sentimental and forlorn text messages and made *probably* crazy sounding weepy phone calls where I’ve choked out, “I miss you so much!” There was also the time when I had a spare 30 minutes on a business trip where I literaly ran to my friend’s place of work, already on the verge of tears having NOT EVEN SEEN her yet, and burst into tears.
So, the solution is easy, right?! Make new friends in Calgary. Sure sounds simple. It’s not. Or at least it hasn’t been for me. I’ve already made one major within Alberta move from Fort McMurray to Calgary and I couldn’t bring those budding relationships with me either. I’m 31 and 3/4 (my birthday is this month so the 3/4 is important), I am done with university, we don’t have kids yet and I am presently working from home. Meeting my husband was enough of a challenge but I am now faced with pretty much starting the whole process of looking over again but this time it’s for super cool and funny lady friends.
Action Plan: Meet amazing new best Calgary friends through planned and unplanned occasions. Dinners with my husband’s work colleagues, mall dressing rooms, volunteering, the changing room at yoga and networking events.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone last night by going to dinner with seven women that I have never met before using the website Meetup. We met at Cibo on 17th Avenue (this street is supposedly like Robson Street in Vancouver but I BEG to differ) for drinks and dinner. Two $5 cocktails helped lubricate the conversation and dinner. You can either hit the lottery when you sit beside someone at a Meetup or start planing your escape route ASAP. Maybe it’s just me but I usually decide in about five minutes if I am going to initially hit it off with someone and then confirm said feeling with a subsequent meeting which would lead to us becoming blossom friends or never thinking of each other again. There were a couple of women that I felt like there may be the possibility of having a friend connection with but didn’t make any effort to exchange contact information then and there because I didn’t want anyone else at the table to feel left out or awkward. I’m going to try and attend more Meetups, and join more Meetup groups (like the groups where you must speak German) and see what happens.
I think that the key to making friends when you’re in a situation like mine (early 30s, no kids) is patience. I just need to remember this and put it on my mental repeat list. I will share a status update in six months and let you know how it has gone. Until then, Facebook, Skype and iMessage are my lifelines to the best friends a girl could ask for that live in another province!