Sunday, June 28, 2009

In which I really hope no one from my ward knows I have a blog

Highly unlikely, seeing as no one from my ward knows my name.

It's hard to make new friends.


Our ward is huge, has tons of new people moving in, and is very active. Everyone is nice, but ... comfortable, you know? They don't know that they are in dire need of a new friend. ME, for example.

But hey! I'm Brazilian! (Sort of.) And being Brazilian means being friendly, dang it, and perhaps just a little pushy. We can't help it.

We woke up with the goal of inviting someone to dinner before we left church this morning. Nevermind that we don't have any furniture (our shipment still has another month.) We were going to make friends if it killed us. Plus we had three racks of barbecue ribs in the fridge.

Right off the bat our children made friends with the couple behind us in Sacrament meeting, by repeatedly dropping things in their row. So good of them - perfect excuse for an introduction. We learned that the couple was new, also, and the guy not only has a killer voice, but has his own studio as well. (Hmmmm ... Little Prince may be taking piano lessons soon.)

But they were having dinner at his parent's house tonight. Bummer.

On to the next couple ... also busy. Bummer.

I struck out twice, so passed the buck to My Man. He cornered someone after priesthood who ... was also busy tonight. DUDE.

We arrived back home thoroughly discouraged. BUT WE WERE NOT TO BE BEATEN! My Man called up a good friend of ours that lives nearby-ish, but ... strike four. (Nevermind that they had the perfectly valid excuse of their third child's C-section this week, and are in the full throes of preparation.)

Cookies! Cookies are a good introduction tool, yes?!

After naps and a dinner with way too much food, a large batch of chocolate chip delectables were made with much love. Pretty plate found. Napkins stacked, shoes on.

Our bishop lives a stone's throw away; we knocked on his door with relish. And? No one home. Strike five.

Rough day.

But hey! The ward mission leader is only two doors down. Knock knock ... someone home! A boy of twelve opened the door, half smiled ... and walked away.

Not an invitation, but I'll take it.

We spent an hour with them, totally interrupting their family game night, with my children eating half their cookies, whining for milk, wiping chocolate on their walls, and polished it off with Mr. Squishy throwing up on their beautiful wood floor.

I think next Sunday I'll stick to hermit-hood.

45 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I wish you lived next to me.

Claire said...

I love making new friends... but it sure gets hard at this stage of life. What part of the valley are you guys in? I'll be your friend! :D

Tessa Nelson said...

LOVED IT... I love your writing! Thanks for taking time to post!!

Melanie J said...

This sounds exactly like our experience in my current ward. I gave up inviting people to dinner because I couldn't take the rejection any more but we accept every invitation for anything that comes our way, whether it's book club or movie night or enrichment. It's taken time, but it's working out. As always, blogging plugs the holes.

Sarah said...

I'll be your friend! I hear cookies mail well :)

Kazzy said...

We lave having people over too, but haven't been asked to dinner by anyone on our ward for 5 years (since my hubs has been bishop). We feel like pariahs. :( I wish you were my neighbor.

SO said...

Your Mr. Squishy is awesome. They will never forget you now. I have cousins that live down there. I wonder if any of them are in your ward?

Sorry it was such a rough day. I would have totally come over and eaten those ribs.

Kathy said...

We've moved a number of times and it always seems like it takes about a year in a new ward to develop friends. You are off to a great start in that you are getting yourself out there! Thanks for the humorous post. Hang in there, they will soon see the gem that was sent to their ward!

gigi said...

Don't feel bad they were all out doing their last minute home and visiting teaching, you know yesterday was the 28th :)
I love that you are putting yourself out there and not expecting others to do it. Hopefully it won't take long. I find summer time is hard too with people coming and going on vacations. I'd have come to dinner just so I wouldn't have had to cook myself. I love cookies too.
Have a better week.

Rocketgirl said...

You are a SAINT. I'd have given up after 2. And I think you'll find... at least I did - that people in AZ can be cold initially. Once they realize you are worth getting to know they'll be all up in your biz - at least that's what I found. And man, coming from Brasil, you are DEFinately going to notice differences in warmth - personality-wise I mean. It'll heat up soon though I'll bet!

Brittany Ann said...

How awesome are you? Quite seriously, I am amazed. My husbnd has to drag me out of my cave of solitude at every new ward we end up in.

Joni said...

Don't these people GET how LUCKY they are!?

We've lived in this ward for 14 months and have yet to have dinner with anyone. After a few dinner invitations that were turned down and a few crazy looks I was given the impression that actaully spending time together outside of church was frowned upon.

Yesterday, after filling in for the missing pianist in RS, I was asked if I was musical. Could I sing?

AAAaagghhhh!!!
The song "If you don't know me by now" started playing circuits in my head.

Sounds like you're off to a good start, though. In 14 months you'll be the most sought after dinner guests in the ward, I'm sure.

Mrs. M said...

Transitions are tough. Kudos to you for your efforts. Hoping you find someone great to befriend.

InkMom said...

I'm with Kristina. We would totally be best friends.

When my husband was finishing up his rotations at the end of school, we lived for about 6 months in a ward in a big city. It was a very wealthy ward -- like going to a car show every Sunday -- and our little poor apartment complex seemed to be gerrymandered into the boundaries to, I don't know, give the ward some diversity. It was full of professional football players, banking executives, and captains of industry and their perfectly groomed, manicured, and untouchable families.

You don't know us in person, but my husband and I are both extremely outgoing. This ward, though, kicked our butts. People looked down their noses at our old Honda Civic hatchback, which we lovingly referred to as the racecar and didn't sell until we had to many years later because we were having twins. They seemed to go out of their way to make us feel unwelcome, and, for the first and only time in my life, when I woke up on Sunday mornings, I actually considered not going, just because I didn't want to go feel like a total reject.

The last Sunday we were there, four days before we moved on to a real job after CPod graduated, the Relief Society president asked me to introduce myself. Again. Because I was obviously new. I said, "Actually, we've been here for six months. I've introduced myself several times already. And we're moving this week, so I don't think it would be appropriate for me to introduce myself. Again." She was horrified. As she should have been.

Imagine how much we missed out on because others were not willing to reciprocate our efforts to reach out. And, frankly, I can't even tell you how much they missed out on by not utilizing the strengths and talents of me and my husband for the short time they had us.

So here's where I'm going: I think I could have gotten a lot more out of that experience if I had improved my attitude, tweaked it to the positive side just a little bit. I truly felt, then, that I was doing my best to reach out, but after is wasn't reciprocated, I just quit trying. (Of course, for much of this time, my husband was travelling M-Th and I would see him only a day or two a week, and even occasionally, have to go to church by myself. So I was already feeling sorry for myself.) And that was a mistake.

So, hang in there. Unless they're all blind idiots, they will notice how spectacular you are before too long.

And I have to say, this is one of the reasons it's nice to live in a place where, a. our boundaries are so huge that every possible socio-economic level in our little town is represented in or ward, and b. we have so much need for new, active, contributing people that newcomers are sometimes overwhelmed by the friendliness of others!

Sorry for the hijack. This one really hit home with me.

Kathy @ Real Mom, Real Life said...

Oh boy -- what a fun Sunday! I love that Mr. Squishy threw up on your neighbors floor. That is just plain awesome -- well not really but it makes such a good story.

I don't think you guys will have any problem making a truckload of friends... pretty soon, you will be sick of people barging into your home when it is time for your kiddos to go to bed!

But it does make me nervous to move -- I haven't had to made make friends in almost a decade... B.U.T.T.E.R.F.L.I.E.S.

Kimberly said...

Oh how this brings back memories. Mostly of Neil's last year of school and moving every three months for a year. Oh. The pain.

I suggest vast amounts of chocolate and then another valiant attempt next week.

After that you have my permission to give up and crawl under your bed if you like. =D

Tiffany said...

Nothing says "lets be friends" like a kid puking on their floor...but at least they'll remember you! I'm sure you guys will make friends...all those people that were busy this week, won't be soon and then they'll remember you! Until then...keep being happy. :)

Becca said...

Maybe everyone being busy was the Universe's way of telling you to become a hermit. Either that or vomit.

If it makes you feel better, I had a birthday party over the weekend where I invited over 50 people and had 6 people show up that were going on a group date later so 3 of them were crashers, including the guy in the black hat whom I never got a name to. Though I did get a $10 tip left under their dishes, as well as ants where someone spilt ice cream in the living room.

kerri said...

Here's the other thing: that was just 6 families out of your self-proclaimed large ward. I bet there are DOZENS of families who were home/would have said yes, but it was not serendipity this week for you to connect.
As all your readers, I find you AWESOME for all the effort. We are usually spur-of-the-moment inviters and also generally give up at 2 "no"s. And we've noticed that VERY few of the families we have had over reciprocate... I think our sometimes rowdy boys are intimidating, but who knows?

heidizinha said...

honey........

i thought you didn't want steve to be called to be a bishop for at least awhile.

slow down with the cookie delivery. and don't let steve wear a tie to church for at least 6 months. that worked wonders for my brother-in-law.

Julie said...

I will move to Arizona just to be your dinner friend. I saw something about ribs in the fridge and chocolate chip cookies. I'm THERE.

Tamra Watson said...

Tribulation proceedeth the blessing, girl.

I was ALONE for an entire week and a half here in Stillwater. My roommate went to New York; so I know how you feel.

Still, now after 3 weeks, I have wonderful friends :). Just start praying girl, they'll show up. COM CERTEZA!

Erin said...

It sounds a little like when we first moved here, but you are more brave. And probably stronger-willed. I made fresh homemade bread when I first moved here and went around to all of the neighbors around me. We knocked on four doors before we found anyone home. I still don't know my next door neighbors. She pulls into her garage, closes it behind her, and doesn't answer her door when I knock. I literally don't know what she looks like.

I cried after church every Sunday for the first six months we lived here. It was hard. I really hope you have better luck than I did!

Rachel Sue said...

you. are. brave.

Just so you know.

Tobi said...

Bex persistence be thy name! You are super. I wish I lived in your ward so I could tell everyone how cool you are!

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

Keep at it ( well, other than the MR Squishy part) your rep will get around and people will be fighting to sit behind you!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

You're doing the right thing. It always takes a while.... usually longer than it should, but I would be surprised if one of those invitations doesn't eventually reciprocate. You can come have dinner at my house any day you want, especially if you're bringing it. :)

Julie said...

I think people need to appreciate you more!! You can come over any time... you're in Ohio that is.

Square Root of Family said...

Try the missionaries...they never turn down a dinner invitation, do they? :)

Deb said...

I love the church, but moving to a new ward can be really hard, especially a large one. I have never successfully remained active in any ward but my home one...I just couldn't make myself connect with anyone and got tired of being alone every week.

Good for you for making such an effort. You've got your husband and your kids, hopefully the connections will come.

Kristi said...

Why is it so hard to make new friends??? We try so hard too, but it's like there are just too many fun young families that everyone has to rotate who they are friends with or something? I do love our ward though - but it took a while to feel like we fit in!

rad6 said...

Being new is good and bad. You get this whole new start and a whole new set of friends... but yah, it takes times i guess...
Good thing you have like a thousand blog friends.... who love and admire you and are better because of you and all wish they were in your ward to be invited to dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hang in there.

Tami said...

My husband is in the military, so we've had those "new" experiences frequently over the years. I can't remember who said it, but I agree with the 1 year timeline. I feel like it takes me that long to find my new groove.
Be patient, keep being you and you will find the perfect friends. Just like when you relocated to Brazil, God will provide you friends and support. Just have faith, and know that He is always with you.

charrette said...

It is so hard moving from someplace else to the Mormon Belt. I know Arizona's not Utah, but it's close. It took us FOR.EV.ER. to make friends here, whereas in California we had not only friends but instant family from the very moment we set foot in the ward.

You are adorable, and people will discover that soon. And kick themselves for not discovering it sooner!

wonder woman said...

It is SO HARD making friends in a new ward. I was just like you when I moved in -- "Let's invite people over!" It was a year before we found a good day for a family we wanted to get to know better. Between everyone having family around and busyness in general.....it's hard.

But it will happen. Do they have playdates? Just throw yourself into all the activites. And have you found any of the MMB from Arizona? I'm not sure if there's a group for that, but maybe you could start one and be pleasantly surprised to find someone from your ward. Ü

Good luck.

The Motherboard said...

Moving and trying to make new friends totally blows. Especially when everyone else is established and clueless...

I'll be your friend. Your kids can throw up on my floor any day!!

The Prices said...

I have no idea if you'll even read this seeing as how you have so many comments...anywho, keep it up! I know it's hard, seriously, I do, I"ve been there...10 times in eight years, in fact. This last time I was determined to NOT make friends cuz I hated being attached and then leaving; dumb, I know and it didn't work anyway. Be patient and remember, who wouldn't want to be frieds with you?!

trublubyu said...

seriously, what part of the valley are you in?

if you were in my part, WE would have invited YOU to dinner. except, i was still at girls camp on sunday.

and even if you aren't on my side of the valley, how do you feel about a trip cross country/valley? would love to have you over some time!!

Harmony said...

I am so proud of you for trying. You are so freaking amazing. You will have more friends than you can count soon. Just don't forget about little ol' me... :)

Kara Herron said...

Boy, I remember the whole changing wards thing. It is so hard. Keep trying though. As soon as they find out how cool you are, they'll be grateful to have you as a friend. Good luck!

Terri said...

Ok, did you have a fun 4th? does your ward have a flag raising? Really this is one of my favorite activites of the year. i hope you are well.................

JustRandi said...

Just popping in to say I miss you and I'm glad things are going well. Busy and well are my favorites!

Shooting Starchild said...

I don't think I have any tips - but I can relate a little! I just moved back into the family ward system after ten years in the singles program (which I loved!). The thing about the family wards is that everyone has a family already and is focused on them, not on making you [ahem, me] their family. Attending ward activities has been helpful so far (and bearing our testimonies in Sacrament and making comments in Sunday school...). Ok, so I guess I do have tips. Hang in there though! They're really missing out on not being Brazilian, but they'll be glad they know such a cool person... in time.

gina said...

Wow, lots of comments! You are so brave; I give up sooner than that thinking "people don't like me". We don't get many invites in our ward, though it is a very friendly ward. If those people don't see what they have in you and yours, they will really miss out. (Who doesn't like ribs?)

The Greenwald Family said...

Marshall, here, from freshman year at the Y. Wait...so you move to Arizona and don't tell me anything about it and complain about needing friends here?!?! We've lived here for about 9 years and have found it a little different from the friendly state of Texas. We'd love to get together sometime, if you are up for it. You can look up my family at greenwaldfamily dot blogspot dot com. We live in East Mesa.