Wednesdays have become my favourite days. G and I go to this playgroup downtown. It's a short bus ride away and when we arrive, the staff greet both of us by name. We go into the room, which is filled with toys and crafts and lined on two sides with comfy benches. G is in LOVE with a stuffed dog and hippo that are bigger then her, so they always get first hugs. I am greeted by the smell of coffee and I pour myself a cup, heaping it full of sugar and cream, it's not that great quality, but it wakes me up and warms me. G happily plays - mostly by herself, sometimes interacting with other kids. I am free to chat with other caregivers (moms, dads, grandparents, nannies) and the staff. They ask me how I am, how the pregnancy is going. I am slowly getting to know names - kids names come easily, since they're always being said - other names are starting to become familiar too.
Many in this group are newcomers either to Canada, or just to St. John's like me. The room is warm and inviting, the talk casual and I never feel like I'm interrupting a friendship group's conversation by joining in. I'm always a little nervous at first, and tired from the lack of sleep the night before, but as more people become familiar, it is more and more comforting.
Making friends from scratch is hard and slow work. I am insecure that I'll come across as desperate, that I'll be forcing myself where I'm not wanted, that people have plenty of friends, so they won't need me. Those feelings are hard to fight. It's hard to say more then a simple "hi" sometimes - especially at the drop-in gym on Tuesdays.
But, on Wednesdays, I feel secure. I continue conversations that started last week, I remember faces and names and I am hopeful that I can build some friendships out of this.