Expat life

Expat life

Expat life brings with it a whole range of emotions and thoughts. Who would have thought that a hug from friends would be the one thing that I miss the most! Not to mention just knowing they are around the corner even if you don’t see them regularly. Here are  my thoughts…

Since arriving in the UK on 12 June 2021 I have felt a variety of emotions, to date none of them have included the typical feeling of homesickness. Yet recently I have felt a bit off; I’ve been missing seeing my friends, getting a hug from one of them, laughing with them, having a catch up over a glass of wine and bumping into them at the shops. Modern technology is so great as we can have all the video chats we want, however there’s something missing. Being in the presence of a good friend is what I’m missing.

As a person I am very tactile; I love to hug & touch people. Thanks to covid, hugging people, let alone giving a friend or family member a kiss is a forgotten part of social interactions and by gosh I miss it!

expat life

In February 2020 South Africa went into a nationwide lockdown, January 2021 saw us move to Fancourt, George and then in June 2021 we made our big move to the UK. During lockdown we obviously didn’t physically see any of our friends so hugging was limited to hubby and the kids. Then we said goodbye to our friends and moved to Fancourt where we had no friends so once again, hugs and physical contact limited to family.

Having lived in London over 20 years ago I fortunately have a few friends still living here, but our busy lives means that we rarely get to see each other even though we live relatively close.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hugs from my family, but there’s something different about a hug from a friend.


Oxford StreetLoneliness is a real thing; let’s just remember for a moment that since covid came into our lives we have all been very isolated from friends & family. Many people worked from home and remain this way so our social interactions have been drastically reduced and as humans we are (mostly) very social creatures.

I am an outgoing, people’s person, but lockdown has changed that somewhat. I had to accept staying at home was the norm so I think a part of me became dormant and I’ve since found that I am more comfortable not seeing people as much as I once needed. But now, with few friends to call on I find that I am needing / craving the social interactions I once loved.

head down, bum up and go

I’m a head down, bum up kinda girl, aka I don’t let things get me down for long. I allow myself to feel all the feels as they come, but I also just get on with it.

So here are my top tips for getting involved with your community and meeting people:

  1. Join your child’s (children) class Whatsapp groups
  2. Join the PTA at school
  3. Search Facebook for local mums groups
  4. Find out if there are any mums Whatsapp groups in your area
  5. If you have a hobby try and join a local group
  6. Pop across to your neighbours and introduce yourself
  7. Join a local sports club
  8. Sign your kids up to local clubs like Scouts, Brownies, etc
  9. Make the effort! This is a big one; you are the new kid on the block so you have to make the invitations to do playdates, have coffee, invite people over etc more than the people you’re trying to befriend.


Big BenI started making friends through the boys, I recognised people in the morning as we walked to school so we shared a chat and a smile. Making new friends takes time, especially in such a diverse city as London where there are so many cultures.

In my opinion making friends starts with having something in common and then it builds from there. However, making friends who don’t know anything about where you are from (and visa versa) does make the process a little slower.


In August we moved from London to Surrey, a move that we’d planned to do but was escalated due to our landlord wanting to sell the property we were living in. The move meant that not only did we move area but the boys had to start at a new school.

It feels that this move, from London to Surrey has been harder than our initial emigration. As I’ve said before, we know nobody here unlike in London where we walked into an easier life. My sister in law lived close by and her group of friends welcomed me with open arms; it was wonderful and I know we will all remain friends. But now it’s starting from scratch.

This is part of the process of emigrating. Some people arrive not knowing many people and go through this process right from the start. I am grateful for the ‘soft landing’ we had last year.

But I will make friends, I am already. Things will get easier and more familiar as time goes by. Expat or not, moving to a new area is challenging.

Much love xxx


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