Proposal for a mentoring idea on MN(22 Posts)
I'm a bloke looking after two small kids in Bavaria. It gets lonely at times, no all the time. All I crave is a pint in a pub on a Friday night to laugh away the blues a bit. But that is not going to happen as I find it difficult to make friends out here, not the language as I am fluent in German but the culture makes it difficult to integrate.
I am lucky though in that my kids are now older, my youngest son is now in kindergarden (nursery school) and I can think about some kind of work. (quite who wants a 42 year old mapping technician is another story). In an earlier life I was a sort of crap version of Bear Grylls paragliding, climbing and scuba diving, all rather incompetently. I met my wife in Mongolia whilst "trying to save Mongolia's soils" (another somewhat hilarious story of incompetence).
I saw the ex-broadcaster John Suchet on Breakfast TV a few weeks ago and he was talking about his success in his "Admiral" scheme where he found that as carer for his wife who has I think Parkinsons noone cared for him until he found this charity where the carers get counselled.
Now I realise his predicament is a very difficult one, but the principle of what he discussed might be applicable to many online situations. I am on about a scheme where parents with similar situations "adopt" each other where one can safely confide via perhaps some chat facility, what sort of a week they've had perhaps over a glass of wine at the computer on a Friday night. Or even to be there online 24 hours if they are very vulnerable.
I'd be happy to counsel a SAHD which might be my "area" or specialism but there may be e.g., a single Asian mum living in Britain somewhere who is worried about their son and his or her religious affiliations. Do you get my drift?
Helping others even at the computer might be great help to the mentors. Me I have had a shit day myself. My parents whom i have t seen all year are out here and my Dad spent all of today lying on the couch with vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhoea, then to cap it all my pet cat who they look after in Chester was one of my pets in Saudi 1994-1999 was run over today. So I am now an expert in feeling overwhelmed by events!!!!!
What do people think of my idea?
Hmm. Why don't you just join a parenting web site, maybe Mumsnet? This will cover it all so you can spend time grieving for your pet.
I am not sure what you think could be 'set up' that isn't already available on Mumsnet. Or is it that you think we won't take you seriously because you have a willy?
Fluffbunny, MN is brilliant when you want many opinons and I am starting to find this site quite addictive and a great drop in, a great salve for the troubled mind. I meant not many opinons but just one special mentor.
SolidGoldBrass: You''re right. I just realised MN is probably most likely to have the online moral support I need being British based. Let me explain. Bavaria is a world away from Britain. The cultural differences raising a family as a bloke down here might fill a book. Probably in UK which is more "progressive" than conservative Bayern my situation as a SAHD would be much more common. But here I am the only one I know in my "boat". The women I meet at the kindergarden gate are very friendly but do not want me too near, indeed my neighbour I am sure definitely looks down on me as I am not the man at work of the two of us. It's a bit like the 1950s here.
Do you think people might find my account of raising a family in Bavaria interesting?
Yesterday I took a walk across the fields near my house. In the middle - you don't get this in Britain, was a Catholic shrine with Jesus on the cross. I usually walk past as I am not formally religious, but I detoured. You're supposed to stop, look up and say something meaningful or pray. I looked up at the poor chap hanging there and found absolutely nothing to say or feel.
So you're right SG my idea was borne of a shit day and gentle humour from the ladies and men on here does help.
I think there is a section on MN for expats so you might find other MNers live near enough you to make friends with.
As to whether people might find your account of your life interesting, well, you write quite fluently and there does seem to be a reasonably large market for --self-obsessed-- wank personalized journalism in the papers so give it a go by all means.
Manina dirndl-what about blogging? (Have just started now am addict) You may come into contact with other SAhds that way?
Maninadirndl, have you checked out the thread here - "from our own correspondent"? I find it compulsive reading!
There are quite a few MNers in Germany who post regularly on the living overseas topic.
Definately agree you should set up a blog. The more sites and blogs you link to on your blog BTW, the more visits you'll receive.
Not really clear on what it is you want to do but you clearly seem unhappy/unsettled in Bavaria.
However, look on the bright side, you CAN go out and have a pint on a Friday night whereas in Saudi where it seems you were previously, you could not. That has to be a huge plus.
I'm in Saudi now and trust me, I know where I'd rather be
I think I am getting what the OP wants.
I am not sure why he is getting so much humour for it though, but I am a humourless, or maybe humourskewed person struggling sometimes to get to grips with the many cultures and places and languages that seem to be involved in my life.
I think it would be a good idea, where it not for the fact that the person who many need such a "mentor" might be very needy, and boring to listen to. And the person who may out of his /her good heart volunteer to mentor quite possibly need some mentoring him/herself.
I know I am. Needy and at times self absorbed. Which is possibly why I am best encountered rather rarely, and in small doses, "hiding" away on a rather LARGE site than in a small setting. Too much of ME is never a good thing (Least not for myself ) so I dont think anybody would take on the gargantuan task of mentoring me.
Mumoverseas are you in Jeddah Riyadh or Dhahran?
When I lived there 94-99 in Dhahran EVERYONE knew about Gosaibi compound, the entertainment centre for the Eastern Province. Air hostesses coming into Dhahran used to ask Taxi drivers for the place. 300 villas, 30 of them bars full of home brewed beer. Whole villas were breweries and distilleries. There were rock bands night clubs aplenty. That was then. I think since 2001 things have got grimmmer.
If I was in Jeddah I'd camp down the Red Sea coast and dive. Riyadh - get a 4WD and go out to Acacia Valley or the Iris Fields of Tumair. I used to envy expats in riyadh as they had so much travelling they could do.
Solidgoldbrass: So self obssessed wank is what I write? Thank you very much.
I sort of see what SGB means though. Your posts do have the whiff of 'here's a short synopsis of my proposed non-fiction book detailing my adventures around the world' about it. I think it might have been the 'Let me explain' that did for you.
Is it possible you might be about to link us to your blog?
I think MN probably doesn't need one to one mentoring. Do you? Better just to jump right in probably.
I can see where the OP is coming from. When you're in a particular situation, it's nice to have other people in the same situation that you can talk to. I think MN already does it very well with the wide variety of topics. There's very little that isn't covered by those. Plus there's always the CAT facility if there's one particular poster who you want to take things further with. I've used that with a few posters who shared my particular situation and it did help to talk to someone who knew what I was going to. So, in answer to the OP, great idea but use the CAT facility and just email each other.
I dont actually think I need a mentor. But it would be nice to chat to other people who are caring for sick/elderly/disabled parents. Sometimes the need to vent is enormous.
Maninadirndl, I'm in Riyadh and the compound you describe in Dhahran sounds very much like the Izzies, one of the old compounds we used to have here a few years back until we moved to a new 'supercompound' 2 1/2 years ago Still have the home brew though and the sid Will have to ask DH if he knows of the compound you are talking about as he was out here in 1999.
Quite a few rock bands out here and in fact 2 weeks ago we had a huge rock concert on our compounds with bands from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran.
We try to spend some time up at Dhahran as its much more civilised/laid back that Riyadh and the company has a lovely beach there. Also its nice to escape over the causeway for a drink and a bacon sarnie.
Not been to Jeddah yet but planning on going diving there in Oct/Nov.
You still got PAWS out there? I was a member of that (People's Animal Welfare Society) and used to say I danced with Aramco girls for charity. Nice dinner dances with lots of reasonable wine thrown in.
You must know the drill: 14 litres of Danya Grape juice 1.25 lb sugar and ask a vet expat for a yeast starter - mine had been in kingdom 13 years. Drop of lemon to start 'er off then all in those 19 litre water bottles from Al-whatever springs then melt a hole on the top with a screw on the stove then blu tack in a bit of aquarium tube from the pet shop then leave ten days rack ten more then bottle up. Can of diet 7up and there's a lovely summer drink. God I had almost a production line if it. Mate of mine used to make even more then freeze it. Was like brandy but with wine. We called it "Wandy".
golden rule in Saudi: never touch the sid - I didnt. and never drink and drive. I always took taxis to parties.
The compiunds your bloke must know about are Lotus 3, Riyadh B, Gosaibi, Rawdah and Flower. All great fun places to get sloshed.
In spite of what I just said I did give it ALL up - the alcohol - for 3 years whilst I explored Saudi by Lada Niva. I got to see the forts at Huraymla, Abu Jifan, abseiled into the limestone caves of Maaqala, and safariid for ibex and gazelles in a wadi Thumamah - all on your patch. btw no alcohol in car either. I lived like Cliff Richard for three of my five years there.
Over the cause way I used to stop off at a billionaire Saudi' brother who had a fridge fulla beer and a house open to me.
It was a bloody great life and I was sorry it all ended.
I'm guessing you used to be an english language teacher for British Aerospace as some of those compounds you mention were their compounds.
Lotus 3 is still there as are Lotus 3 & Riyadh B and parts of Gosaibi which is now called Los Dunas. Don't know Rawdah & Flower. When DH first stayed up there 10 years ago he stayed on a compound called Seaview, which was better known as 'gayview'.
We are now living on a huge compound on the Thumamah road, so not far from the wadi and the King's palace (loads of road closures yesterday for Obama's visit)
I don't touch the sid either, banned by DH as apparently it makes you go blind!
It can be a good life at times, but like you say, not like the good old days.
I think it's a nice idea - people need someone to turn to, and a big open forum isn't always a good idea, some people don't like to air things so publicly. It's a lot to ask of someone though, and I'd be concerned about creating dependence.
People need people, need connections. We live alongside so many, but can feel really lonely and like there is nobody there for us.
I'm obviously oversimplifying things because I don't know your exact situation, but if you're so unhappy there, why don't you just move back to Chester?
Also, I don't think what you write is wank but I think a lot of people who blog or twitter all the details of their life are pretty boring no matter how fabulous they think their exploits are, so be careful not to fall into that trap.
You do sound quite lonely, lots of us on MN are, raising kids is mostly lonely and thankless work. I can understand you wanting support but it actually sounds more like you just want someone to spend some time with in real life. Do you have a partner? do they work a lot while you look after the children?
I just renamed my blog as it hada dull name. If anyone wants to read my ramblings then click on www.simontheshrubber.blogspot.com/
MoS: I have come to the conclusion that you have to take Saudi as it comes. If You listen to the expats going on about the good old days you will leave tomorrow. Those amazing things in the desert will be there for ever. Get a 4WD and explore. Thatś what I did and never regretted it.
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