One of the interesting things about emigrating is that your friends become your family. So far in our experience those friends are also ex-pats. I think we must end up together by default, when those with relatives close by are celebrating an event or specific holiday (Thanksgiving/Canada day/Family day etc.) as a family, us Brits who are left out tend to migrate together & see it as an opportunity to just hang out together. Over the years those family friends have changed as people move on, but it hasn’t stopped the newly emigrated – often work colleagues of my husband – filling empty spaces at the table.
Then there is an extension of that – grandparents come to visit, & quiet often for lengthy periods of time because they are usually retired & can spend extended holidays with their grandchildren. As part of the friendship you get to know their parents, when normally you might never actually meet them. I know this to be true of my in-laws, over the years they have got to know many of our friends, & now we even arrange something so that everyone gets to catch up. Then it gets even bigger because all the grandparents, who met once at a Christmas get together at our place, want to see each other too. We have even had an occasion when my in-laws & friends parents were coincidently on the same plane!
This weekend has been a prime example of this. We have met up with two sets of ex-pat friends who both have one set of grandparents visiting, all of which have been to our house at some point on previous visits. It is interesting to be the friends getting to know other people’s parents & the fascinating stories they have to tell, while we all enjoy a glass of wine in the sunshine & the kids destroy the house. It is so true what they say, you can choose your friends but not your family, & it’s even better when you also enjoy the company of your friends family too.