Simple ways to connect to your community
Even though I have left home more than 30 years ago, I still miss all my family and friends in Malaysia. This is the time when I will reach out to Facebook, WhatsApp, or calling families and friends to connect with them more often than usual.
I believe many migrants will be in a similar boat; you will feel it even more so when you are alone and children not living close by.
As migrants living far away from their families and friends, the festive season can be one of the loneliest times to get through. This is the time when you will miss your family and friends even more, missing the family members being together, laughing, chatting, eating and sharing the moment together.
However, you do not need to feel this way. Why?
Because there are many ways you can make new friends, and you can connect and settle into the community. And who knows… you may even form your new “family” in your new country, with new found values and outlook, which can entail learning new cultures and reinventing traditions as you go along.
Lane way parties – Get to know your neighbours!
For example, our friendly neighbours host the annual lane way Christmas party where everyone living in the proximity are invited to attend. Each will bring a dish to share, and we spend a few hours catching up on new people in our neighbourhood, learning about each others’ families and sharing cultural food with your neighbours. This is a fantastic way to get to know your immediate neighbours.
If you don’t have one in your area … why not form one?
There are many non-profit organisations in your local area that require assistance during the festive season, and one of the most effective ways to get to know people and your local community is through volunteering in your local area.
On top of that, when you involve your family in the process, you are sharing the experience with them together. This will enhance your bonding and connection opportunities with them.
So check with your local council or Google search for your local charity organisations and offer your services.
Share your cultural festivities together
I have this amazing and wonderful friend who will open her house every year, such as for Chinese New Year and Christmas, to friends like us who have no extended family close by during the festive season. We will each bring a plate and share the festivity together.
What better ways to flick the loneliness and homesickness than spending quality time with friends, especially those from the same community or country? Because you are still able to connect on similar grounds when it comes to language, values, outlook and cultural food.
There are many more ways to bring joy during the festivities in your new found community and country. Give yourself the opportunity to make new friends, be involved in the community and make your transition to your new home / country a joyful experience.
Have a wonderful Christmas and Blessed New Year!