When you live abroad, you seem to end up in a neighborhood with lots of other expats like yourself. When I came to find a place to live in Japan, I was shown some beautiful houses in Japanese neighborhoods, where I would be isolated from English speaking people, apartments in a sky rise filled with English speaking expats, and the neighborhood I live in now, filled with large houses and all foreign families.
Living in a city of over a million people, in a small community of English speakers, you tend to become very close to each other, probably more close than you would if you were in your home country. You tend to lean on each other for English communication, and if you're like me, adult conversation (since you rarely see your husband during the week). We rely on each other for information, like which grocery store carries what and which store you can find simple things like wrapping paper.
There are those of us who have kids at home during the day and don't get out that often. Sometimes we live vicariously through others, whose kids are at school during the day, and they have the liberties of exploring the city aimlessly throughout the day. We wait for our friends to get back from vacation to hear about their hotel, was the food good, was it like from home- this helps us determine should we book our next "sanity" getaway there. We get excited when someone gets to go home for a visit and feel slightly jealous as they board the plane back to a place where everything seems comfortable and easy. We look forward to them getting back and hearing of all the new and exciting things they found at the grocery store or favorite restaurants they engorged themselves at.
Friends come and go here, as we are all here temporarily and arrive at different times. The nice thing about these friends is we all have something in common, we are away from home and we want to find some of our comfort things. We want to spend time with each other to enjoy the ease of conversation. We want to go places together, so when we discover something like Kraft mac and cheese for the first time ever at the grocery store, we can squeal with joy. Yes, we may get on each other's nerves or know more about each other than we would have if we were neighbors in our home country, but we are there for each other.
You can go to the bus stop when you are having a bad day and they will know because they have gotten to know you. This is one of the nicest things because on the days when you are feeling like the worst mother in the world, you will learn that things that are happening to you are happening to them. It is nice to know that we all eat dinner during the week alone, our kids don't get to see their dads that much, we feel lonely sometimes, we yell at our kids, we are not perfect. I am thankful for all of my friends here because no matter what, no matter how bad you think it is, they have all been there. It is the closeness of our situations that allows us to really understand what we each experience everyday. I am glad for this and I wish for all the mothers in the world to have close friends to commiserate with because no one is perfect and we all yell at our kids, some just louder than others.