This is part of a series titled Searching for Community which is my family’s attempts at finding friends in our new home of Asheville, NC. Each month I tackle three areas where we are hopeful about forming friendships: our neighborhood, a church home, and miscellaneous connections. This week is the second installment of trying to make connections in our everyday experiences.
Today I met R1 for a cycling class at the gym. It was challenging but good cardio. She seemed to enjoy it too. After class, I asked for her number and put it in my phone. I feel awkward asking for peoples’ numbers. It feels very personal but it’s necessary for improving communication and increasing connection.
I went to the gym this morning. I didn’t have a class to take but I wanted to check in with R1 so I decided to go and do whatever I felt up for. I talked to R1 afterward. We talked a little about writing. She said she’s always wanted to write a blog and book. It sounds like that might be a solid connection for us. It’s always good to spend time with other writers. She asked if I was going to the cycling class again on Tuesday. She suggested getting coffee afterward. So I’m going to a cycling class and then getting “coffee.” Yay! I’ve been invited to do something! I have hesitated to suggest getting together outside of the Y because I don’t want to be overbearing. I asked for her number and to take a cycle class together already. So this is good! A reciprocation that, assuming we enjoy chatting, will give me the courage to suggest other activities or a playdate with the kids. This makes me happy and bolsters my confidence.
I had been texting with E1 throughout the week, trying to see if they wanted to hang out this weekend so our whole families could spend time together. I made a few suggestions for things we could do. She texted yesterday to ask if we wanted to come to dinner tonight at their place. So that’s what we did. We hardly saw the kids so I assume they had a good time. We hung out, ate, talked, and watched football. The kids made smores. I loved watching the mountains change from the back patio. Our first meal with friends.
R1 texted me last night to say she couldn’t do the cycle class today but still wanted to get together afterward. I had already signed up for the class so I went. Afterward, I changed clothes and we headed to Mosaic for beverages. I ended up choosing the orange creamsicle smoothie which was delicious. While we were waiting for our smoothies, the cycle instructor came in and ordered her own. I guess it’s good for recovery. R1 and I walked to a bench in the shade and talked. I asked background questions. We talked some about writing, the kids, and community. Books were in there somewhere, of course. We talked for over an hour and a half! It didn’t seem nearly that long. She indicated that we should do it again. I was tempted to suggest making Cycle & Smoothies a weekly thing but didn’t want to come on too strong. We’ll chat at the gym more this week probably and maybe we’ll figure something out then.
I wasn’t really feeling up for the gym but decided to do a class involving weights so I could check in with R1. I chose Total Body Training which intimidated me mainly because the instructor is male and I thought it might be super hard. It was not at all what I expected. It was a crowded class and now I understand the popularity. The instructor is positive, supportive, and fun and so is the class! I chatted with R1 a bit afterward. I took a leap and asked if she wanted to make “Tuesday Cycle and Smoothie” a weekly or bi-monthly thing. She said she was game. Yay! I wrote her a note this morning telling her that I believe God caused our paths to cross and I’m excited to see what develops. It feels very forward but I’m trying to be authentic rather than what I think others want me to be. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, I’m feeling positive about the relationship. If she can handle today’s forwardness, we should be good.
Yesterday in the new class I took a woman came up to me before it started. She said it was her first time taking this class and what was needed. I said it was also my first time but I had just talked to the instructor and passed along the information. I saw her again at the gym today. She had just finished a cardio class and made it sound like fun so I’ll check it out another week. She introduced herself, A3, and I responded in kind.
This morning there was a parent volunteer meeting at the kids’ school. The PTO board was all very friendly. I saw E1’s friend from one of our pool days and reintroduced myself. It turns out another board member also works at the same preschool. I saw someone who teaches classes at the Y and introduced myself to her. I signed up to help with a few events at school in the coming months.
Last night we picked up a pizza for PIIF (Phone-It-In-Friday, pronounced with a “p” sound rather than “f”). Adam saw a co-worker and his family at a restaurant a few doors down so we went over to say hi. V1, J3, and their three kids. We saw them again this morning at the fair. We also saw a few other co-workers of Adam (the company had lunch for employees and gave out free fair tickets). I didn’t see anyone familiar to me.
I went to a new class at the Y this morning, P90X. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We started out with cardio which just about killed me but everything else was easy by comparison. I saw A3 in the class. She said hi and remembered my name as well. I was hoping to talk to her after class but she went to talk to a small group of women and I hate interrupting groups so I will try again another day.
The school had a PTO meeting tonight and I went. I talked to some of the board, all of whom I’d seen last Friday. C2 asked if I had been super involved at our old school. I was honest, saying I had volunteered some but also needed my alone time when everyone else is out of the house.
R1 and I were supposed to have our second Cycle & Smoothie meetup today but she had to work and wasn’t feeling well on top of that so we’ll try again next week. I chatted with her after cycling class.
At the Y I talked with my mat neighbor before class started. I saw A3 in front of me right before we began and figured I’d say hi afterward. When we were cleaning up our equipment I approached her and asked her if she had a set exercise class schedule she followed for Y classes. I think she’s like me and has some favorites but it depends on her schedule as to what she can attend. It sounds like she enjoys the more challenging classes. I learned she has a kindergartener and lives in Fairview. She invited me to go walking with her a bit after class to stretch but I declined because I had a date with my book-in-progress. Next time I’m available and she offers I’ll say yes.
This afternoon was my third Creative Writing Group meeting. There were only three of us but that was fine. We shared our stories and then completed three timed writing prompts of increasing lengths. It’s always interesting to see what comes out when I’m writing. I almost didn’t go but am glad I did. I talked some to A4, the coordinator, after group. I learned she’s recently (re?)married, has a high schooler, and is the branch manager of our library.
I had lunch with the kids today and met a few of their classmates. It was nice to put some faces to names.
I also had to go to Adam’s office in the afternoon for a health screening and met some of his co-workers. It was a fast and furious tour as it was still work hours.
R1 texted to check in with me since she didn’t see me the last two mornings at the gym. That made me feel noticed and missed.
I ended up having lunch with Adam and some of his co-workers today. I recognized most of them from our introductions yesterday.
We saw E1 and J1 this afternoon at G1’s birthday party. Kaitlyn had been invited and was excited to go. This evening she was feeling sad and missing her Georgia friends. I texted her best friend’s mom to see if we could set up a Facetime date for the girls this weekend. It’s scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully getting to talk to her friend will help her feel better. This is the hard part about moving and being a parent.
R1 texted me to check in and set up a meet up for Wednesday. I texted E1 to make sure she was okay with me being a reference for my school volunteer form.
A friend from GA texted me to catch up. I also received an email from another GA friend giving me an update. It’s nice to receive reminders of friendships I’ve acquired over the years, knowing I haven’t been forgotten.
This morning I took the Total Body Training class again. I looked for A3 but she wasn’t there. I chatted with my exercise neighbor who said it was her first time in the class. I stayed at the Y and worked on the book as I was meeting R1 at 11 am and didn’t want to waste time driving. When she finished her shift, we walked to Mosaic, ordered drinks, and sat outside. We didn’t get to talk long but it was an enjoyable time. She said she wanted to keep meeting on Tuesdays because we seem to have a lot in common and are both interested in closer friendships. That was encouraging to me. I do like spending time with her. On our way to our vehicles, she spotted her husband so I was able to meet A5.
I went to the Y this morning mainly to say hi to R1 since I don’t think I’ll go to the gym on Friday I keep looking for A3 too but I haven’t seen her.
This afternoon I was texting with E1 and R1 trying to set up a playdate with the kids. E1 and her family are super busy. We might be able to get the kids together in October. Lunch is out of the question because of her work ours. R1 said maybe next week. We’ll try to get it figured out sometime this weekend.
This morning I went to the kids’ school for the book character parade, an event they do twice a year at book fair time. It was cute. I saw both of the kids. I tried talking to the woman next to me but she didn’t seem interested in a conversation.
E1 texted me to let me know they were going to a United Way event at Highland Brewing in the evening and invited us to join them. J1 and some other work employees were participating in a lip-sync battle. I said we’d let her know. We decided that it would be good to be social and the kids would probably enjoy seeing the girls. There were quite a few people from Adam’s work in attendance. It was an enjoyable outing.
I volunteered at the school this morning for the book fair. It was me, another parent, and two PTO Board Members. The time passed fairly quickly. I enjoyed chatting with the ladies and learning a little about them. No numbers exchanged but maybe becoming a little more known. I met and talked with the AIG teacher who is also in charge of Battle of the Books (which Kaitlyn was asked to join) to talk about Kaitlyn. In the evening we went back to school for the K-2 open house. We saw A4, our local library branch manager and creative writing group coordinator, and I chatted with her for a bit. It was nice seeing a familiar face.
We’re definitely putting in the work to meet people. I have found a genuine friend and am both shocked and thankful at how quickly this happened. Hopefully, we can continue to meet people and make connections.