I recently went out to dinner with a bunch of women from one of the playgroups I participate in. The playgroup itself is really great for R. She gets to socialize with toddlers of the same age, develop her social skills and problem solving abilities (what to do when both of you want the same toy? how do you conduct yourself in the face of another's aggression? etc.), and generally has a wonderful time (she is pretty extroverted and social: I don't know where she got that from!).
I have a somewhat harder time. Everyone else has at least one 'helper' (this is the euphemism for maids among Westerners here), so they don't do any cleaning/cooking/other house chores. They vary a lot in terms of their involvement with parenting (some do pretty much everything, like typical parents in the US; some have the maids do much of the daily work instead, to the point that they aren't sure how to parent their children well if she's not there). They all have a lot of disposable income: so they live in enormous, lavish apartments (private elevators, thousands of square feet), buy their children pretty much every toy ever, especially of the overpriced, organic variety (like $70 for a toy push broom), and many wear beautiful clothes and are exquisitely groomed (this also varies quite a bit, since after all they do all have small children).
All this is fine of course, even if it's not my style. But it makes for dull conversation because we don't necessarily have a lot in common.
Some popular topics:
--40 minutes on the 'servant problem' (how their maids are inadequate).
--30 minutes on taking small children on vacations to lavish beach resorts (think Phuket or Bali). No one is interested in going to the places I want to visit, because they don't have private villas and butler service there.
--20 minutes on whether to take your maid on vacation (or back to the US when visiting): pros and cons.
They are mostly quite nice, and of course there are many other topics I can discuss with them (parenting issues, preschool options,etc.). It's just sometimes I feel like I've fallen into a episode of Real Housewives.