JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Making friends in a foreign country

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Coming to a foreign country by yourself can be really overwhelming.  I chose to live in Vienna for my trip, since I knew the city really well, plus I had some contacts here.  But that’s where it ended.  Otherwise, it was going to be just me for a long stretch of time.  I might have had some shyness when I was younger and a relapse as a teen due to some bad life experiences, but anyone who knows me now, knows that I am not shy.  I’m a very social creature.  What can I say – I’m a singer and I like to talk!  (haha!)  I knew I was going to see Milos on my trip (and was lucky to see him even more than originally planned with my trip to Croatia, and my upcoming weekend in Switzerland), so that was time where I knew I wouldn’t be alone.  But other than that, I had no idea how I was going to meet people.  Going out by yourself to a club, or something like that, really doesn’t help you make friends.  My first weekend here, I went out but just had fun dancing with lots of random people – no new friends made.

Fortunately, through a roundabout set of circumstances, I found the Vienna Expat website.  It’s a group of English speaking people from all over the world who all happen to be living in Vienna.  The group has Meet-and-Greet events scheduled regularly, so I decided to go to one a little over a week ago.  I met some really great people – including Debbie, who was my travel buddy when I went to Bratislava.  Then this past Friday, there was another one scheduled.  Again, I met some really great people!  Two of the girls I met (Amanda and Bojana) invited me along to the brunch they were going to the next day – followed by a visit to a paint-your-own ceramics shop.  Not only did I have a great time, but I met some more of their friends too.  I felt very welcomed by everyone!  We made some beautiful creations at the ceramics store (which we get to pick up on Wednesday – I’ll be sure to post a pic!)  And it turns out that Amanda was going out dancing that night to a club I hadn’t been to.  (And it had no cover charge – yes!)  I happily accepted the invite and met up with her and some of her friends at MMX. (Which, the travel agent in me has to give a thorough review…. which follows…)

This particular club was located outside the Ring, in the 8th District – past the University area.  I decided to walk there, but realized after the over 45 minutes it took me to get there, that I was going to be taking the UBahn back home.  (I’m sure the walk is quite nice during the day when the sun is shining and keeping things warmer….)  MMX has a large bar area upstairs and a dance club downstairs.  We hung out at the bar for awhile and chatted.  Amanda’s friends were really nice, and just like earlier in the day, I was made to feel very welcome.  After awhile, it was time to head downstairs to do some dancing!  The music played here was normal club dance music.  We had a great time dancing into the early morning hours.

Because it was clock change weekend here in Europe, the dance floor closed at 3:30am (which had now turned into 4:30am because of the time change that had happened during our partying.)  However, even though the dance floor was closing, the bar upstairs was still open and getting ready to serve breakfast.  This was such a novel concept to me!  But they brought out free sausages and warm rolls for everyone – first come first serve.  It was a bit crazy getting to the food, but it felt great to refuel after hours of dancing!  After about ten or fifteen minutes more, I was starting to feel wiped out and needed to make the trip back to my apartment.

Overall, I had a GREAT time this weekend, and am looking forward to hanging out with several of my new friends this week before I leave for Switzerland next weekend.

I can see though that it takes a bit of time to settle into a new place before you start meeting people that you can add to your friend circle.  I’m really grateful for the Expat website to help me get started on my quest to meet people.  It’s a shame that I fly home in a week and a half, but I know I’ll be back – that’s for sure.  And thanks to the technology of Facebook, we can all stay in touch, AND I have friends to reconnect with when I return!

My outfit for my night out at MMX

My outfit for my night out at MMX

Jen and Amanda at MMX

Jen and Amanda at MMX

Frühstuck! - My free sausages and bread at MMX

Frühstuck! - My free sausages and bread at MMX


Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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