Living Abroad, A Synopsis on Moving On

Living abroad means

your dear dear friends

are on the next plane

back to their own, real home,

the place they’ll go back to school

or eat those foods they’ve had such a

hankering for.

 

It was never going to be

some forever-stay;

there are bigger plans

than the ones

I foresee.

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They will leave you a chair

or a small lamp stand

a cup for your kids

and some cute hairbands

and then

 

gone

to be computer friends

not in a cafe

not to help you go shopping

not to tuck you back into the folds of dirt

here in your still-new garden

called

Another Country.

 

And everyone is fine with the leaving

because it is routine.

It is called “expat”

and “next season”

and “roll with the tide, baby”.

 

And then

it is just you

with your family

and it always becomes fine

but when you watch shows

or plan a birthday party

or wanna make some tortillas and queso

a real margarita,

it is lonely

 

and it is life

on an island

where so many are expats

and the nationals, the everyday people locals

I have met,

connected with on balcony parties,

on high towers, landmarks

over tea and cake,

every other day in cafes and the library—-

well, with them I’m still playing catch-up.

It is not their fault we aren’t connecting.

 

So goodbye dear friends, the special, the beloved trading secrets and tricks

the special, the beloved trading secrets and tricks,

prayers and swear words kind.

Bye in less than a month.

 

Goodbye to the long ago

thinking

that roots

are not so easily

repotted

and repositioned

and just plain picked.

 

People move and here, it’s often.

 

Hello, maybe to

the white cereal bowls or random candles

the travel shampoos

the “thank you” on teal cardstock

they leave behind.

 

We should just call ourselves

Casa B&B

and then I can remember to expect

a checkout time.

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!. Friends Who Bake

Now I’m no Betty Crocker or baking maven, but if you’re baking with someone, you’re probably great friends. Or becoming best buds. After all, you’re creating something together. Gosh, sounds like making a baby! Actually, that is what we did.

And the gingerbread men are adorable.

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K and her friend, M, first met as teeny babes. Their first play date was in a crib. They weren’t terribly aware of one another.

Now, with both girls at three, a shared birthday party, and numerous dates including strawberry picking, we families are quite happy. Actually, we’ve all multiplied. Both of the big girls have young siblings, a month apart.

Here we are now.

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Big and little heads.

But really, baking is quite a magical thing, right? There is alchemy, chemical change occurring in the oven. What you mixed up is not what comes out. What you put into a friendship, you could say, is key in what you hope to get out of it, but there is this whole separate thing called synergy. Teamwork almost becomes its own element, mixing with the compounds, to become something greater than each person’s individual efforts or effects. But what did we really do, beyond giving the girls time to spend together.

To make something, but also to just be.

It was while they washed hands, away from us, and on their own, that I overheard a sweet little conversation.

Sweet M, K’s friend, suggested vibrantly, that they take turns.

She then looked right at my girl and

said, “Kariin,  you’re my best friend.”

Even so with my friend, Anna. We got together with our kids and boom. We become so much more. We’re like Team Mommy. We see all, we can do more. We have more fun. There’s honesty, frankness, but we also buoy each other up. It’s support and laughter.

And the gingerbread smelled way amazing. I think it was while we were reading The Gingerbread Man, that the smells wafted out of the oven. The two girls benefited from their shared knowledge of the story, and certainly my girl learned much from her friend’s advanced reading skills.

Not to be all boring, though. The fox eats his conquest, the itty gingerbread man, who now has swollen, buckling, soggy legs that are just melting away in the stream. We, too, had our fill of ginger cookies.

But first, the decorating!

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Long live great smells piling out of ovens, icing, raisin eyes, and the friends who make & eat them with us.

Stay tuned for part deux, Friends Who Schlep.

xoxo