1 March 2016

Finding Friendship

On Saturday we had a glimpse of what life was sometimes like back home. Surrounded by people with whom we can joke, share stories, eat excellent food, and overall find comfort. We attended a barbecue hosted by Joe Wellington that was great! Friendship is hard to find and we've been fortunate down here.

These may be some of the nicest people I've ever met. Of course, I wouldn't expect Kiwi's to be any other way. Most of the group were friends Joe's had since high school. He's incredibly lucky to have such lovely people in his life.

Joe with his best mates

A 2016 remake of our 1998 San Fran pic

Hanging out with this group reminded me of my husband's friends back home that he's had just as long, if not longer. We all try to stay in touch on Facebook, but my husband and his mates have their own online group site they are always chatting on. It also made me reflect on the bond I have with my best friends back home, Dan and Nancy. We keep in touch. It's easy and works both ways- I call, they call. Naturally, after having such a lovely time and feeling nostalgic, I was met with a severe bout of homesickness the next day. I cried. A lot.

Lifelong friends back home, 2008

I think it's easy for people across the globe to think we're living down here having some big adventure- snapping pics of gorgeous landscape and embracing a new culture. In chatting with my aunt this week, she reminded me of this perspective. It's true; we are having a big adventure. And it's been wonderful. Like I've said many times, we've met marvellous people who I can't imagine not having in our lives. It's also the only life our son knows.

But what we don't talk about much is the endless amount of homesickness that sits in our hearts on a daily basis. My husband compares it to a bungee cord that keeps yanking us back to reality that we're doing this alone and we miss our loved ones immensely. Everything takes work and feels that much harder. And it takes real effort for both parties to maintain the relationship from afar.

My best friend Dan and I have maintained our bond for twenty years because we communicate. Combined, we've lived in eight different locations (maybe more) in our lives only living in the same state for about a year of our friendship. Crazy! Yet, we stay in touch. He's not on Facebook and we don't text. It's via email or phone calls that we correspond. We've always tried to line up our trips back home so they match in order to get together, and he didn't hesitate to be Man of Honour at my wedding in 2008. When it was time to move house, he and my dad road tripped halfway across the country in order to help. That's what true friendship is about.

My Man of Honour, Dan at my wedding 2008
photo by JP Candelier

Of course Dan and I have run into uncomfortable comments through the years about men and women not being able to be friends (trust me, I heard a lot of that with this Joe Wellington thing, too) but come on. That's complete rubbish and invalidates that I have a say in who I have sex with, if you think about it. Growing up with two older brothers, I guess I always had an easier time getting along with guys. And, not that it's anyone's business BUT my husband is more than my best friend. He's my soul mate; my life-partner. So, let's not worry about that sexist, opposite-sexes-can't-be-friends stereotype any more (also: it's 2016).

My girl, Nancy and I always have the other's back. The past twenty years, we've challenged each other and then we challenge you! Ha ha, and don't ever mess with us if we're belting out a Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand duet... we can't be silenced (did I just admit that publicly?).

With my best girl, Nancy, night before my wedding

But back to my point of this post.

Lifelong friendships are a gift. They're rare. Sometimes you outgrow the friendship, but even then, it's still a part of you. Maybe those friendships lost end up coming back to you. Reconnecting with Joe again has been awesome. He's as I remember him to be and I'm so grateful to pick up where we left off.  I don't want to speak for him, so I'll let you wait to read his post. It's been a crazy month!

There are people in this life who get you. There are people who will lift you up, always be in your corner, allow you to be flawed without judgment, and people who will cheer you on. It's a gift to find such people. Bring them in, embrace that connection and don't forget how important it is. It's difficult at times. Most relationships are work. But if you can communicate (talk and listen- a lot of people forget the listening part), you'll open yourself up to a loving life. Friendship is love.

And I believe in love. In all forms.

Thank you to Joe, his family, and friends for allowing my family to share in your celebration. It was nice to feel 'at home'.

P.S. These are my views on friendship only. The above men in the photos do not endorse the love message. Although they're lovely people and probably are okay with it, they're just dudes. Nothing more.