Thanksgiving fever has got me thinking. As an long-term expat living on the other side of the world to her family, friendship comes to mean something slightly different doesn’t it, or does it?
1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
4. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement: friends of the clean air movement.
5. (Mountaineering) mountaineering a device consisting of a shaft with double-headed spring-loaded cams that can be wedged in a crack to provide an anchor point
Weird mountaineering jargon aside, is it possible to describe this epheremal thing? What is it about that one person that fills an indescribable void in your life, compared to that other perfectly nice person on the other side of the room who you have no spark with. Is it humour? It is shared interests? Is it having nothing in common bar your country of birth?
Short answer: I still haven’t got a clue – and for a long time living in this country it totally eluded me. I worked in a couple of industries where the workday was so pressurized that spend a few more hours outside the office would have sorta felt like torture, let alone the fact that the English are a hard bunch to crack. This is despite many attempts to lure them into the pub – where I was led to understand that rambling conversations about football a friendship makes. Well, if you’re an English bloke.
Growing up in your home country you have years and years worth of
family, school friends, uni friends, work friends, random drinking
friends, no good friends, and people that buck all definitions. When you
move to a new country, denuded of these established connections it can
be pretty tough and at times intimidating.
But here in the big smoke, friends can take on an even more important role; family. They are the ones who will call you when you sound blue, yell at you for a hare-brained scheme, plot world-domination with you, they understand homesickness and when all you need is a hug or a huge slice of Lolly cake, they’ll make sure you’re not forgotten, they’ll remember your birthday, they’ll lend you a shoulder to cry on and they’ll offer to give you their cat when life really seems to suck.
And do you know what I’m grateful for this, and every Thanksgiving (eventhoughI’mnotAmericaninanywayshapeorformthoughIlovepumpkinpie)? It’s my friends. The ones who brunch, the ones who just need to have a glass of wine and let off a little steam, the ones who attend charity-fundraising DIY afternoon teas, the ones who invite us to Thanksgiving feasts, the ones who I see at blogging events, the ones whom I go on holiday with, the ones who put up with the most bizarre ideas, the ones who comment on my little corner of t’internet, the ones who almost drive over ancient Tudor gardens on mad-cap castle hunting weekends, the ones who celebrate victories, the ones who commiserate failures, the ones who accidentally follow you to catch a train in the exact opposite direction to where you need to to, the ones to go to Paris for lunch with, the ones who read to the end of ridiculously long sentences, the ones who are family, the ones who pop in and out of our lives at the perfect times, just all of them.
What are you grateful for? (and Pumpkin Pie is a perfectly acceptable answer!)