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The best part of living abroad

08 Sep

Living abroad is certainly an adventure: you get to experience new cultures, new languages, different foods, see all sorts of different places, and meet so many interesting people. But to me the best part of living abroad has been being a part of the local expat community.
Last Saturday, Trent and I headed out to our local grocery store, Leader, to pick up some things for our houseguests to eat when they joined us that evening. From the moment we stepped in the store we saw people we knew: students, co-workers, friends from fellowship and other people we knew. We must have run into 35 people we knew on our short little trip to the store. It was such a delightful time to chat and catch up with so many people we don’t get to see so often. We got to say goodbye to Phoebe before she flew out to Saipan for a semester abroad. I even got to see my friend Brian Sobas (finally) who I went to college with and who recently moved to Qingdao. Our little trip quickly lengthened to several hours, but it was fantastic! It was like having a party but not having to do any of the work. We got to see so many people in a short amount of time. And this isn’t unusual living in our “small town” (Of nearly 8 million people…) of Qingdao. When we visit local restaurants, go to the beach, go out riding on our scooter, etc. we constantly see people we know. In the states I could go weeks without seeing anyone because we are always so busy and if we’re not intentional about maintaining friendships, they can easily fall by the wayside. Here, the expat community is so small that nearly everyone knows each other or at least knows of the other person. We all have mutual friends and the small world connections here are mind-blowing.
For example, 2 other people from my tiny Christian college in St. Paul, MN live here in Qingdao. Not only 2 people from my college, two people that I knew, spent time with and hung out with. That wouldn’t be so strange except that my college only had about 2000 people in it. How we all ended up in Qingdao, China is still a mystery to me.
Trent has found a relative in China. Yes, at a different International school in Qingdao there is another Logsdon. Not just another Logsdon, an actual not-so-distant relative of Trent’s family. They can both trace family lines back to the early 1800’s to “Bulger Joe” Logsdon, of Illinois. He was an acclaimed Indian fighter and contemporary of George Washington, very famous in his day.
Katie Peters and I played against each other in College Soccer, Carrie Thorpe ran the Great Wall Marathon with a friend of mine, Rachel Rust grew up just miles away from Trent and they went to rival high schools, Melissa went to Trinity College where some of my best friends went; somehow there are a ton of Minnesotans and Texans here in Qingdao. We run into people we know even on vacation (like A.J. in Suzhou). It is crazy how many people randomly know people we know.
Anyways, living abroad is not necessarily easy, but the camaraderie and friendships we’ve developed here are second to none. I love our friends here!

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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