It seems like every foreigner in the area I live in has a family. I always see a mother and father cycling down the street with at least one kid with them. Whole families out to eat. Families shopping. Families families everywhere, and not one of them is mine. Not only does it make it make me homesick and sad seeing families together when I am alone, but it means its hard for me to make friends with other foreigners in the area. I can't walk up to a couple with a stroller and say "Hey! Cute kid! Wanna go get some drinks??"
There is a website called Shanghai Expat which is pretty useful. It has recommendations on which restaurants and stores to go to, events that are coming up, advice about what to do and what not to do while in Shanghai...etc. In a moment of loneliness and frustration, I made a quick post on the forum saying I was looking for people in JinQiao (the neighborhood I live in) to hang out with.
I started my post with "I am not looking for a boyfriend or a tutor or a job!" I wanted people to know that I honestly just wanted people to hang out with...no ulterior motive.
Well, I have gotten two responses so far. One was from a woman named Carol who invited me out to dinner and drinks last night with her and 4 other people. We went to a Thai restaurant near the school. I am a little unclear still as to who already knew each other and who was new (other than me). Carol and one of the guys was from Singapore. The other girl was from Canada, and the last two guys were from America (Ohio and South Carolina). I think I was the youngest person there, but everyone seemed relatively young and I had a good time. The woman from Canada lives SUPER close to me and invited us all over from lunch on Thursday. I may actually be able to go with my classes the way they are.
The other response I got was...get this...from someone from Connecticut! They are originally from Farmington and have been in Shanghai for a few months. They don't live in JinQiao, but they are only about 20 minutes away by bus. We'll probably try to get together soon.
At school, I still haven't hung out with the foreign teachers much. I still plan on trying to reach out to them . Maybe cook a nice big dinner (as well as I can with my kitchen) and invite them all over. I just feel like I am trying to dig my way into a group that is already set in it's ways.
With the Chinese teachers, June and Zeno invited me out for dinner on Monday night, but I already had those plans with Carol. June asked if I had plans for this weekend (we get monday off for the Mid-Autumn festival).When I told her no, she said that maybe me her and Xeno could go get some steamed dumplings. I said that we should go to a craft shop she mentioned to me earlier and they can pick out stuff they like and I could make them some jewelry. (She has liked all the jewelry that I made and brought with me)
So, that's my story. I am making an effort to make friends.