Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday 19 May

Blog Every Day in May - Best friends

Another fail on the blog ever day challenge! But, it was the weekend and apart from briefly checking my messages on Saturday morning I didn't go on my computer at all. I have to be VERY bored to check my messages on my phone, so that doesn't happen very often, and sometimes I love a few days without internet. 

But, I'd looked forward to writing about best friends, which is in fact yesterday's subject, so I'm using a bit of artistic licence and will skip today's subject in favour of yesterday's!

I met my very first best friend when I was 4 or 5. We were at nursery school together and we wanted to play together at each other's house. Her dad dropped her off at my house and said 'o, that will be just the once and then they'll be bored with each other'. Famous last words - we were as thick as thieves all through primary school. She shortened my name to Ciep which was then taken over by my family, and as her second name is Susanna, hers was shortened to Suus and we became Ciep and Suus. 

We went to different secondary schools so inevitably we spent less time together, but still saw quite a bit of each other. My first holiday without parents was camping with her in the north of Holland, visiting one of her penpals and almost getting thrown off the campsite for laughing so much (basically being a nuisance....! :-) My first holiday abroad without my parents was Paris with her and then visiting one of my penpals south of Paris. 

We both spent time abroad after finishing secondary education and then around the time of my marriage, we sort of lost touch. I vaguely knew what she was up to as her partner was best friends with the husband of one of my friends, but we weren't really in touch. Until one day she sent me the birth announcement of her son. I was so surprised because she'd always claimed she wasn't maternal and wasn't interested in having children. I rang her to congratulate her and it was just as old times. Since then we've stayed in touch. In the days before email, we used to write long letters to each other, and she started that tradition up again. I'm very good at keeping in touch through email, but there is nothing better than receiving a hand-written letter in the post, and when I see her handwriting on an envelope on the doormat, I get all excited. We may not be in touch all that often, but I've known her for such a long time and I know that if ever I need her, she's there for me - in fact, she was there for me about a year ago, with many wise words, for which I was very grateful.

My second best friend is someone who I met at university. One day I went to a lecture and found out as soon as it started I was in the wrong place - I think it was a geography lecture. Because of where I was sitting, I couldn't escape unnoticed until the break, by which time it was too late to go to the lecture I was supposed to attend, so I ended up going back home. She was on that same train, I can't remember what got us chatting but we did. I found out she lived in the next town along and would travel on the same train to lectures. It wasn't long before we were very firm friends and although we were doing different degrees, we ended up doing many of the same modules. After we graduated, she went on to do a post-grad in teaching and I moved to Britain, which could have been the end of the friendship. But it wasn't. We stayed in touch, she was my witness at my wedding, she came over from time to time and I used to go and stay with her occasionally. I have vivid memories of the two of us both with small children going to a playground and thinking 'who'd have thought when we were students that 5 years later this would be us'. She then moved to Sweden with her husband and two daughters but again we stayed in touch, and then they moved to Thailand. And then she went a little quiet. We were in touch but it wasn't like the old days. Until a few years later she emailed me to say her husband had had a job offer back in Holland and she didn't dare tell many people in case it was 'tempting fate', but she was quite excited about it. I emailed back saying, I have a feeling you're not all that happy in Thailand. Fifteen minutes later I received the longest email I'd had from her since they moved to Thailand, with everything that was wrong. I almost cried when I read it - I just wished I'd been nearer to her to be of more support. Her husband did get the job and they moved back to Holland about two years ago, and now we chat almost on a daily basis - through email and WhatsApp, and last summer we even got to meet up again for a meal. And when we do meet or speak, we just pick up as though there haven't been several months or sometimes even years since we last saw each other. When she rang me for my 40th birthday, I answered the phone, she said Hello? and I knew straightaway it was her, despite not physically having spoken to her for several years. I think that's amazing.

Friendships. Over the years I have learnt that sometimes you have friends who fit that particular situation. I had two or three very good friends when I was an aupair and I couldn't imagine losing touch. But we did when we all went back home again. I had friends at university who I enjoyed spending time with, but lost touch with as soon as we graduated. I used to think that was sad, but now I think that's just the way life is. Some people will stay with you throughout your life, others don't. And you know what? I'm actually grateful for each and every one of them.