HOW CAN YOU MAKE REAL FRIENDS WHEN YOU AND THE LOCALS ARE SEPERATED BY SUCH A WIDE ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL GULF?
The ties that really bind people together are those of mutual respect and empathy. It’s obvious to all parties involved that there are differences in background and situation, but the most interesting part comes from discovering the far more significant nature of our common humanity than noting the differences in custom. What really matters in all this? Make a foreign friend and you’ll find out.
The big temptation is to let money get in the way. It’s tempting to try to fix someone’s problems with money and then resent and avoid them them later. Far better to develop boundaries that allow you co-exist with people you care about, allowing them the dignity of managing their finances.
That’s easy to say theoretically, but what do you do when your neighbor has a sick baby and you’re the only one around who owns a car?
OK, so this making friends with the locals thing isn’t necessarily going to be easy, but it doesn’t need to be thought of as a minefield. How about, as a garden, with all sorts of strange, new, attractive flowers, some of which hold hidden thorns. Caution and care will pay handsomely.