“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
My friend Chris set me up on a blind friend dinner date with his sister the other evening. She was going to be in London for a couple of days having some dental work done. She and her family live in Turkmenistan (which she laughing described as one of the lesser “-stans”) but have lived all over the Slavic world as part of her husband’s career.
It was such a nice evening. As it turns out she’s attended my alma mater and had personally studied with a number of professors and researchers at whose shrines I offer academic devotions. I may or may not of geeked out slightly. She also once worked for Oxford University Press in New York before deciding that teaching was her vocation and got a masters in it. Now she volunteers with the expat community and the American school as well as a number of charity organizations. I got to hear all about the national dress, the dictatorship of the country, and the gleaming white marble buildings of the city over lamb kebabs and naan.
We both grew up internationally and had similar family situations so we spent the better part of four hours swapping stories and then wandering around Covent Garden and Westminster. She was snapping some shots of the Houses of Parliament when we both happened to look up at Big Ben (illuminated nicely) and exclaim, “What’s that?” For a second it looked like someone had thrown a bucket of water off the top of the spire which was heading straight for us. The penny dropped a second later as the skies opened up and drenched us both. We dove for the umbrella and ran for the tube station where we parted as old friends.
It was fun.
I knew I’d been missing friends and family but after I got home to debrief Jeff on my evening I realized how much I’m missing just palling around with people. I miss long gossip sessions with my godmother after the monthly Sunday family dinner, I miss sitting around listening to old radio shows with my sibs, and I definitely miss the Girls. I’m an equal opportunity do-er, I enjoy people and I enjoy being by myself. It’s actually been downright relaxing having just a bit of time alone. But clearly I’m missing my people.
Resolved therefore, I need more local mates. Now advertising, accepting all Londoners!