Wanderlust: Expat Life & Style in Thailand The Relationships Issue - Page 18

Relationships

FRIENDSHIPS : HOME & AWAY

Forging new connections overseas , while maintaining old ones back home , can be a tricky but valuable task .
by SARA WILSON

Japan ’ s Okinawa is home to one of the world ’ s

oldest populations , or , as National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner put it , “ a ground zero for longevity .” How did Okinawa achieve this status ?
The answer may surprise : In Okinawa district , locals are born into a lifelong pact . It ’ s a pact which , from birth , grants residents half a dozen friends with whom they will travel through life , sharing the bounty of good luck and offering essential support during bad times . It ’ s called a Moai . And if you ’ re in a Moai , you may just find yourself living to the grand old age of 100 .
As many Okinawans can attest , friends can help improve the quality of our lives — and even lengthen them . But , for expats , friendship tends to be a bit of a struggle : It can be a challenge to keep up with old pals while meeting new people , time and again , as expat friends come and go . There are ways to handle these problems . Let ’ s take a look at some of them .
THE ARCHAIC PHONE CALL
Living abroad , one of your first concerns might be staying in touch with the friends you already have . So , go ahead and share articles and YouTube videos together , or send links to funny memes . Reach out with Whatsapp messages or comments on Facebook , too , but don ’ t dismiss phone calls .
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