When you decide to leave what you consider home and travel, you get to meet people, who would never have come into your life if you had not left. When people ask me about the emotional and social difficulties of moving from one place to another, I tell them that I get to meet wonderful people and that to help myself adjust to a new place, I tell myself that the new place has many true friends I have not met yet.
Hailey and Nathan were friends I made when I moved to Arlington, Texas. It was a totally different country, different language and culture and Hailey and Nathan made a world of difference to us.
I remember the first month we were there. Gal went to work and I took care of Eden, who was 4 years old, and looked for a place to live. I asked Gal to call me from time to time, so I could hear the phone ringing, purely because I wanted to feel like there was SOMEONE around who was aware of our existence.
It was a lonely month. However, this all changed upon meeting Hailey. We became friends and she was a breath of fresh air for me from the moment we met, having spent a month by myself.
Once we became friends, we spent the next 2 years seeing things together and doing things together. This ended at the birth of their son and our move to California.
When you travel a lot, you meet many friends. However, the term “friend” is broad and does not adequately describe the whole range of feelings you may associate with your different friends. There are friends whom you consider to be in your closest circle, while others are in a circle a bit further away. Either way, it is the “true” friends who really impact your life. Haley and Nathan are our true friends.
4 years after we left Texas and moved to Thailand, Hailey came with her 4-year-old son to visit us. She was with us for about 6 weeks and we had the time of our lives, traveling all around Thailand with three kids (two of our own and her son) and spending many ours on catching up on 4 years of separation.
2 years later, we went to visit Hailey and Nathan to celebrate the birth of their new daughter.
Over our 15 years of travel, we have met many people who have become our friends. Some of them entered our inner circle, while others remained a bit further away. For the most part, we have kept in contact with all of them by email or phone.
How do we know our true friends?
Sometime we get to see our friends after years of separation. When we see them for the first time, we realize that a gap has been created, a gap that is impossible to fill. Time and circumstances have changed us and them too much. These friends are not “true” friends, and the relationships with them change as well.
Yet a month ago, not having seen them in 9 years, we finally caught up again with Hailey and Nathan for about 4 hours. The kids immediately went off playing together, as if they had known each other for many years. We sat at the dining table catching up and felt like time had had no influence on our friendship. We swapped the same jokes and enjoyed the same interaction. It was almost as if we had traveled back to 13 years before, sitting at their dining table and discussing philosophy and humor, disappointment and joy. We knew each other so well and we loved each other still, without necessarily knowing all there was to know about what had happened since the last time we had met.
When we drove away, after having spent a great time with them, I realized that we did not know all there was to know about them, nor did they know all there was to know about us, but still, it did not feel like there was any gap to fill. This was the sign of true friendship.
We said goodbye on the day we left Texas, but our hearts were woven together from that point on with a bond of true friendship, which distance has no influence on.
We have passed the test of true friendship.
I wish you true friends,