Moving to Australia has taught us a lot about the importance of friendships. We’ve learnt how much we value our friends back home. We’ve discovered how hard it is to make new friends in a strange country. And now we finally appreciate how hard it is to say goodbye to friends that you love.
This blog entry comes in three parts...
Nice to see you again.... and
Since moving to Melbourne we’ve said ‘hello, nice to meet you’ a gazillion times. Every day brings a new person, sometimes a visitor, sometimes a local. When we’re lucky, ‘nice to meet you’, turns into ‘let’s do this again’, and again, and sometimes again. Finding new friends seems so much harder as an adult, compared to the days of classrooms and playgrounds, but this also means we really value the friends that we’ve made here.
A sunny afternoon in a beer garden was the setting for a recent rendezvous with our Melbourne crowd. The occasion was Pat and Amanda both turning 30, and the day will remain ingrained in my mind as the time when our circle of friends shifted to the next stage in life. Parenthood. Newborns aplenty, a couple of toddlers for good measure, and two heavily pregnant ladies made for quite the child-fest. Surely this is sufficient to explain any clucking or brooding that comes from my direction!
I can’t list all the people we’ve said ‘hello’ to as our new friends in Melbourne. But we appreciate every one of you.
Nice to see you again
Friendships are hard to maintain over Skype. We can chat, and we can wave at each other, but we can’t share good food, and wine, and laugh together in the same way we can do in person. Tush and Andy taught us this during their recent honeymoon visit to Australia.
After a false start and disrupted stay in Melbourne as a result of the bitter English winter, Tom and I decided to fly to Sydney and spend 36 hours with Tush and Andy before the end of their trip. Gatecrashing their honeymoon for a second time might seem a little bit ‘off’, but after a 5am wake up, 700km flight, full day of sightseeing and long night of merriment, the four of us couldn’t have been happier. The ease with which old friends can reconnect amazed me, and the experience triggered some deep thought for both Tom and I about the decisions we’ve made, are making, and will make in the coming months and years.
Saying goodbye is hard, but I think it’s even hard when you are the one who is left behind. Tom and I will soon find out, as dear friends Richard and Tamara, and Pat and Amanda both leave Melbourne to return home. To rub salt into the wound, their departure dates are just three days apart. On the other hand, perhaps this will be like ripping the plaster off quickly?
We’ve known for months that Pat and Amanda would be leaving. They have a 4 month old son, Charlie, and the time has come for them to return to their families in Ohio and settle down into family life. We’ll miss them dearly, but understand that life moves on, as will ours one day.
Richard and Tamara’s departure was much more of a shock however. As our closest confidants here in Melbourne, the news that they plan to return to Toronto early felt like being dumped by a boyfriend out of the blue. ‘It’s not you, it’s us’, they pleaded. Either way I fought back the tears that night. Now that I’ve had a while to digest the news, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that there will be life without ‘Ramara’, and in the meantime we’ll enjoy the times we have left!