I am a fairly introverted person. I am not saying I do not have any friends, but the ones I do have are close to me and are few. On any given weekend night, I will usually be found knitting and watching a movie in our apartment with Jason and the cats. This is not new to my life in Canada. Since I was a child I preferred to play alone. I spent several elementary recesses in the school library reading books about dinosaurs and my middle school years “finding myself” through journals of bad poetry and woeful entries about boys that would never notice me. In high school, I had a small group of friends and managed to remain invisible until senior year when I was cast as Scout in our theatrical production of To Kill a Mockingbird. In college, I hung out with my sister and occasionally was dragged out by one of my closest friends to house parties and bars, only to feel completely out of place and craving my sweatpants and craft supplies or a good book.
When I studied abroad in England I challenged myself by traveling with 13 complete strangers. At first I was terrified that I would spend the entire trip alone or talking to the professor; but I ended up meeting three of my closest friends – one of which introduced me to Jason.
Since moving to Canada, and because of my nannying job, I have not met many adults. As a child, a shared interest of dinosaurs or riding your bike around the block can forge a friendship; but as an adult there is no way good way to start. Last night Jason and I went to a bonfire at his co-worker’s house. This is the third time I have tried to hang out with people Jason works with since we moved to Saskatoon. The first time we were invited to get some drinks at a local lounge. Though I was hesitant, I agreed to go out. (I don’t want to me known as Jason’s hermit girlfriend for turning down invitations.) When we met this close-nit group of scientists at the lounge, it was exactly what I thought it would be – the five of them discussed lab work consisting pig intestines which was beyond me as a writer/teacher/nanny and referred to several inside-jokes that left Jason and I silent for three of the longest hours of my life. I discretely checked my cell phone under the table waiting for the conversation to lull and for there to be an opening for us to leave.
The second encounter I had with Jason’s co-workers was at a barbecue hosted by one of his professors and his wife. The crowd was half a generation older than Jason and me and most of the other guest brought their children to play together. This group of professors (and me and Jason) did not spend the night talking about intestines and hangovers, but had actual conversations. The time flew. We were invited to a Halloween party. As usual, I held babies and talked to parents about their children.
Last night, as I mentioned, we went to a bonfire. I knew one of the other guests from the barbecue we attended a few weeks before – a French scientist who also collects comic books, and therefore gave me something to discuss with him. Though I was (and usually am) the only non-scientist in attendance, I was able to participate in conversations about dreams, movies, and pets. The hostess of the party, a 28 year old woman who works in Jason’s lab, apparently has tons in common with me. We are planning to visit the yarn store together soon since she crochets.