Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Getting personals

There's a great section in one of the free daily papers that seem to be available everywhere in London called "Lovestruck." In it, people advertise their interest in virtual strangers, hoping to make connections with attractive individuals they've encountered around town ("You offered me your seat on the Northern Line, but I couldn't find the words to say I'd really rather share it with you..." "We bumped into each other on the High Street today. You: red scarf. Me: red face. Let's see what else we have in common."). I can't imagine anyone really makes a genuine connection this way, but it's fun to read the section anyway and to imagine the romances that might bloom as a result of such humble beginnings.

It occurred to me today that they ought to start an entirely new version of the "Lovestruck" column for expats who are new to the area and looking to do their own form of outreach and personal matchmaking:

I waited behind you in the Post Office queue and overheard you enquiring about cheap phone rates overseas. Let's get together for coffee and commiserate about the loved ones we left behind. I'll even teach you to use Skype!

The other patrons may have looked annoyed, but your kids' loud, American voices made me feel right at home in a coffee shop today. Let's get our little ones together and make a big scene at the playground.

You stood over the produce section for such a long time at Waitrose yesterday, and I knew the look of confusion on your face all too well. Would it help if I told you that you need to ask for aubergine if you want to make Eggplant Parm?

I overheard you as you pushed your strollers in front of me, talking to each other about places and activities I'd love to try, too. I didn't want to be a third wheel... unless a threesome appeals to you? If so, please call. I push a very narrow stroller, so I think we can fit 3-across on most sidewalks.

The friendships, they are coming. Slowly, tentatively, I can feel myself planting seeds which I hope will grow over time. "I keep needing to remind myself that this is home, even if just for now," a fellow New Yorker whom I met today commented, and I knew exactly what she meant. (We exchanged numbers when we parted and agreed to try out a local book club together.) A little time, a little perseverance, a little patience, I will form my own community here. But if there were a "Lovestruck" for people like me, looking to start from scratch at such an endeavor? I can't imagine I'd be the only one scanning the ads each day, hoping to make some immediate connections of my own.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you checked out www.uk-yankee.com? They seem to have a real following. I have been looking into making the leap across the pond myself with my family in a couple of years. But with the recent (today) change in the HSMP, it will take a little more effort.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

anybody? HSMP????

I see you have already adopted brit-isms like waiting in queue. I think you have a gerat idea there. Just keep up the "personals" in the states and troll for US visitors too!!

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HSMP = Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. The Program was created for highly skilled individuals wishing to remain or to come to the United Kingdom to work as employed or self-employed persons.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I love this idea! You've expressed perfectly in this post both the longing to and apprehension of reaching out to people. I heart your writing, you know that?

2:11 AM  

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