The changing faces of friendship

friendship long distanceThe Christmas just gone I spent a whole month in Australia. One. Whole. Month. Which should be enough time to catch up with everyone, shouldn’t it? Well it was, and it wasn’t. Juggling Christmas, with family commitments, holidays and going back to work, time seemed to get sucked away

I want to see everyone. I want to spend time with everyone. And not just time, but quality time. I want alone-time with my girlfriends, I want alone-time with all my friends together in a group, and I want additional catch ups with hubby there. Perhaps a week with every friend and family member would do it.

There are some friends with whom catching up over a lunch every two years is enough. There are friends with whom catching up every day for a year would never be enough. And while catching up for a simple coffee or a meal is great if that’s all you can manage, you can’t delve deep in this time period. You touch all the usual bases: how was your Christmas, how’s the new boyfriend/ house/baby? What else is new? Oh I’m great. And then you hug and wish them a good year and it’s over.

Some of my catch-ups were short sessions, others were overnight stays. I caught up with most of the people I wanted to. I definitely didn’t catch up with them all in the way I would have liked. There is too much to do. Too much to say. You could say there is too much life.

There are people that just missed out this time. There are people I have had to leave behind with my new life in Austria. It just isn’t possible to maintain all your home friendships when living in another country. It is life. It is what happens. I hope those people who I have left behind feel the same. I hope that one day we randomly run into each other and it will be almost like no time has passed. Despite us moving apart the friendships and memories I had are real, and I hold them close to my heart.

friendship long distance
Times change… but not always that much!

Then there are those stubborn friends that just won’t go away – those who I keep in contact with, who email, skype or text regularly – friendships where we’ve both had the time/inclination or just the routine to make the effort. I know I’ll never get rid of those people now. I’m stuck with them, and they’re stuck with me. And I love them all into tiny teeny pieces, all in different ways.

Australia - catching up with friendsIn Australia I saw myself adapt into various personas. I became different people with different friends. I let different parts of myself out. Some of those parts hadn’t been out for a year or two! They were banging at the door begging to be unlocked. I learnt some truths about my friendships while I was in Australia. I was surprised by things I hadn’t thought of before. I felt ashamed of myself. I live in a pretty happy bubble and sometimes I don’t venture far enough out of it to notice what is going on around me.

I’m grateful for each and every person I saw and everyone who made the effort to see me. Because I can’t have the same friendships with the people in Oz that I used to – friendships have had to evolve and while some of them have tripped on happily, others have required more effort. But that’s what life is – that’s what love is. And it was a relief to understand that the connection was still there. Because in the end it doesn’t matter how far away you are physically, those that are close to your heart will always be there.


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