We are at the midpoint of fall, and it's no trouble to tell. Not because of the changing and falling leaves, the cooler weather or the warmer clothing, but because of the drop off in communication that always occurs at this time of year. Summers are full of fun in the sun with friends - road trips, boat trips, barbecues and general get togethers...then comes fall. People settle back into the work groove instead of rebelling against it, teachers and students head back to school, families work on their nesting skills for the oncoming winter (and try to repair the holes in their bank accounts depending on how good a time was had), and friends generally don't have as much to talk about now that the excitement of the past season has ground to a halt. That is my theory at least. How else can I explain the disappearance of a vibrant social life?
Perhaps it is because I (like many other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living away) usually head home in the summertime to catch up with all my relations and have a great time. There is a resounding shock to my system that occurs when I come back to the west and what feels like, in comparison, social isolation - and it seems to be amplified in the fall. Maybe it is not the same for those people who actually live and work in familiar surroundings and circulate amongst their social network year round. Perhaps they don't experience the same feeling of withdrawal or disconnection from the outside world at this time of year. However, being an outsider does not make it easy. Sure, I have lots of acquaintances here, and even a few I would venture so far as to call friends...but I never get to see them or spend time with them much. And I do still have my friends and family back on The Rock (as well as those who have dispersed themselves to the four corners of the earth much like myself)...but they are busy getting back into their own routines as well and our topics of conversation have become limited now that we are not residing in the same place and interacting with the same people on a daily basis.
Then again, maybe it is because of the particular spot in which I have landed. After all, I do know of plenty of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have made a go of it in their new locations, surrounding themselves with new friends and immersing themselves in the local social scene (of course it also helps that many of them network through other ex-pats in the same locale. I have heard that some exist here, but so far as I can determine those stories are the stuff of urban legends and old wives tales, so it has been a tad difficult, to say the least, for me to accomplish the same feat).
Whether it is that people just don't operate the same way here or that it is very much a place that is reliant upon becoming part of a clique to obtain true social interaction I haven't been able to figure out yet. However, much of a fish out of water as I find myself at times, the uniqueness inherent to being a Newf doesn't seem to be the driving force behind the circumstances in which I find myself, either way...I have talked to others who have moved here and almost all of them have gone through the same thing and come to a point where they simply accepted that that's the way it is. Personally, I find it very strange and more than a little lonely at times to be confined to such an existence.
I don't know, perhaps I am just a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder or suffering from the boredom that ensues after the bottom drops out of living the life of a social butterfly. Whatever the case may be, I suppose I should just haul myself up by my bootstraps and trudge on through til the holiday season arrives and things pick back up again (which for me will be limited to the single invite out we have gotten for the past 3 years, due to the previously mentioned stunted network, in addition, perhaps, to another trip to see the extended fam 6 hours away for a couple of days)...ah, well...I suppose I can dream and live vicariously anyway...