Facebooking for good…and other connections
Turning the corner
I think I’ve started to turn the corner. And whilst I’m sure it will take some time yet until I feel completely natural in my new habitat, I’m not feeling quite so homesick. I’m feeling some small sense of belonging…and that is very refreshing.
So what’s happened to turn things around? Well it’s been people really…connecting with people in little and big ways that has made such a difference. And time.
Connecting in little ways
I’m particularly grateful we live in the age of social media.
It’s true there has been so much written about how too many of us spend too much time on our electronic devices – on Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Candy Crush, Words with Friends etc. And there is concern how our children are exposed to inappropriate content and activities. We’ve seen the rise of cyber-bullies and trolls (to the point where people tragically take their lives*).
But as much as any technology can be used for bad, I think there must be an opposite and even more powerful use for good. And for me, during the months leading up to our move and through the settling in period, social media has been a simply wonderful way to maintain my sense of connectedness – professionally, socially and with family.
Twitter is not just for twits
I was very skeptical when I was first required to start using Twitter as part of a previous role at Bupa. But I soon became hooked with its potential for creating professional connections and support networks across the world. And it’s through Twitter I have had the chance to make some truly remarkable professional contacts – and these people have really helped me in tangible ways.
One quite fascinating doc who lives in South Carolina kindly chatted to me frequently over the many nights I was unable to sleep throughout the past tumultuous months. How amazing to have access to people on the other side of the world who are awake when one is supposed to be asleep!! I do hope we get to meet when he visits Australia this year.
Another doctor I met via Twitter, a GP from right here in Melbourne, assisted me in finding a local specialist. How amazing is that! It was incredibly helpful. And now she’s facilitating professional introductions for me too.
There are truly amazing and giving people out there.
Facebooking for good
Facebook took a while to grow on me. Like many, I couldn’t see the point. It’s not the place to get to know people well, its not the place for political or religious debates. Nevertheless, it has grown on me.
And I have found it so, so helpful during these past few weeks. Through Facebook I have been able to (in some small way) activate connections with family across Australia and across the world – and facilitate meeting with said family when they visited Melbourne from New York during the recent 40 degree heatwave. That was so very nice.
And through Facebook I have been able to nurture fledgling relationships that can be activated into something more solid over time. You may not get to know people in any depth through Facebook, but you can keep a small flame flickering until the next time you meet. Kind of like little bits of relationship glue with every “like” or “comment”.
And very close to my heart, Facebook is one of the places I publish my blog. Most of my readers come from Facebook. And dear readers, every time you “like” and comment on one of my blogs it means so much to me. It means so much that you have taken time from your day to read what I have written, think about it, and then add your thoughts to the conversation. And thank you for letting me know how my blogs have resonated with you or taught you something. It means I’ve done what I’m trying to do – which is to connect and to inspire.
Clearly if you are reading one of my blogs it is a valuable use of your time.
Connecting in bigger ways
Social media connections is really just the small stuff. Still valuable, but small stuff. The bigger stuff comes with connecting with real people – face to face. In person.
And the community we have joined has been so warm and welcoming. At least once a week we have been invited out for a meal. I wonder how many months it will go on for??
We have had neighbours drop in to introduce themselves. We have had new friends give lifts, help us find our way around and provide advice on sorts of tips and strategies only insiders would know.
Too many to name by person, you are all very special people and we thank you very much for the soft landing you have helped provide. And I hope we can grow these new relationships into flourishing friendships.
Beginning to belong
So the wonderful warm welcome and the Facebook contacts has slowly started to help me feel a sense of belonging – and at the same time has help to ease the homesickness.
The first flicker of belonging was walking into the butcher shop and knowing two people (from different places) I had only met following our move. An amazing and quite exciting feeling. Yee haa- I recognised somebody.
As the weeks flow on by, I find myself bumping into new friends – in a neighbourhood grocer, in our local Coles, in a cafe, in the street. I recognise the ladies who serve in a nearby bakery and I’ve started to built up a bit of a relationship with a barista in one of the cafes (always a good idea to be friends with the barista I think).
These may all be little things and small events. But at the same time they are big. Very big.
Because it’s these little moments of connections dotted throughout the day that are signposts of belonging, signposts of fitting in. It’s these little moments of connections that bring joy to living and can bring great comfort to the homesick heart.
It’s these moments of connection, both little and big, that I am very grateful for.
*If you or someone you care for are feeling suicidal, seek immediate help. Call Lifeline – 13 11 14