Tuesday, March 25, 2008

reflection on differences in life abroad

Had a discussion with an old friend who is still living in China this morning, and I came upon the following conclusion, which hadn't seemed quite so clear to me before:

Socially, when living abroad in China, life in the ex-pat community demands that one is welcoming and inclusive to strangers/newcomers, since nearly everyone is only a semi-permanent resident, friends come and go literally every month, and as such it is clearly to one's benefit to keep one's social circles pretty open.

Whereas, when living long-time in one's own community, the need to include outsiders is certainly lessened. Not to say there is no benefit to being inclusive, but when people get caught up in career, family, existing social obligations + the commitment of a mortgage to a given area, it seems that the amount of time and room to meet new people is lessened.

At least that's how it feels now in Seattle. It's not that the locals are mean or anything, but it seems like most people that I do meet are already well involved in their own social circles and there's little desire or reason to get newcomers involved...seems to just take time.

Seattle is growing fairly quickly, however, and there are a lot of newcomers anyway.

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