Thursday, April 15, 2010

It Takes a Village... sustain an expat.

I'm in the process of trying to rent my condo in Seattle, and am heavily relying on my friend/current renter to help me out.  He's offered to do showings while he's still living there, and even just yesterday helped me get the Craigslist ad posted (I'll spare the gory details.  suffice it to say, I'm not a fan of Craigslist any longer....), and as I was leaning on him, it dawned on me just how much I've leaned on my friends the past two years while I've been here.

Sometimes it's the small stuff like, "Mind if I buy something online and have it shipped to your address for me to pick up when I'm in town?", sometimes, it's a bit more like, "Mind if I buy something online, have it shipped to your address, and you bring it to me at some arbitrary location when we're both in this location at the same time?"-this is happening right now.  I just bought a laptop online, am having it delivered to a friend in Seattle, and she's bringing it to Minneapolis in May-where we'll both be for a friend's wedding.

Other times, it's "Mind if I stay at your place for a day or two so that I don't have to rent a hotel?" And even, "Here's a list of a few things I'd love to have.  Would you mind bringing them when you come over for a visit?"

I've really leaned on my friends a lot the past two years.  And I *hate* having to do this.  I'm the person that struggled to let friends take my trash out when I had knee surgery and couldn't walk-nevermind taking out trash.  And yet, here I am.  Probably once a quarter, I reach out to friends to do this very thing that I don't like having to do.  But, as long as I'm living outside of the US, this is likely to be the reality.  I don't know how I'll ever return the favor (well, if they move out of the US, that will be a pretty easy pay-back...), but I'll figure out something.


  1. Here's one thing you can do:

    I learned a long time ago, that effective networking is not to ever keep track of scores, and to start giving freely and unconditionally. Eventually the returns will be there, often in ways you don't expect. In the meantime just enjoy that you made a difference, or at least tried.

    Most people only come out and network when they're in need of something, and they come across as desperate, and that's a real turn-off. That's not how networking works.

    And sometimes giving can be as simple as connecting two electronic dots (you'll know what I mean). Doesn't take much, can be done anytime, anywhere, any timezone. Do it, and everyone will remember you as a giver rather than a taker. And next time you actually do have to ask for a favor, they won't think anything of it.


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  3. [now if I could only spell :-)]

    PS: I think you writing this blog is a great way of giving. To your fellow expats who benefit from the info you're sharing. And to the folks back home, who get inspired by your experience.

  4. Hi - I've just discovered your blog, and am happily devouring every morsel! I very much agree with what Jan said - the information you are sharing here is so helpful. I am planning a future move to the U.K. and learning so much from you. Thank you for all that you are so generously putting out there!

  5. Hi! I, like Savorie Girl, have also just discovered your blog! My name's Claudia. I'm a 23 year old American girl from Chicago who moved to London in September 2008.

    Your experiences sound sooo much like mine!!! Job hunting (temp agencies! yes! they are a MUST in London), first three months being quite hellish, flat hunting...haha, I think we ALL experience very similar 'things' when moving to London :-).

    Do you have an e-mail address you share with people?

  6. It's a miracle! I seem to be able to post comments on my own blog again!..
    @Jan: Most definitely agree with you. And, though I don't think my friends are keeping count, I kind of am. Not necessarily because I think the score needs to be 'evened up' at some point, but mainly because I just hate, hate, hate feeling like I'm not self reliant. And, the reality is...the past two years, I've been anything but!
    Thanks also for the comment about the blog itself (and also to @Savorie Girl). I honestly don't think of it as 'giving back', as much as 'complaining for a cause.' :) I kid. But I figure, I'm not the only one who has experienced some of the bad stuff here-but if I can help one person avoid some of stress and frustration, then job done.
    Lastly...@Anonymous, happy to have a side chat with you. Feel free to ping me at kristinas(at)gmail(dot)com.

  7. Kristina, you've won a blogger award - the sunshine award. You can go here to claim it: Of course I had to share it!