Thursday, August 22, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old....

On Thursday evenings in the summer, people gather at the Embassy for dinner. We bring the kids, who swim or run in the playground while we eat dinner and chat. It's usually pretty fun, barring the occasional scandalous misbehavior, and it's nice to gather with friends, especially when nobody has to cook or drive any distance.

Tonight, though, was a bit different for me. I was tired - so tired! - after a long week back at work and lots of catching up to do at home. So I really wasn't in the mood. The kids wanted to go, though, so I packed the swim bag and we headed out. For various reasons, none of the people who usually invite me to sit with them were there except one, and she left early. I decided to hide out at a table by the pool and read a book for awhile rather than trolling for someone to talk to.

Pretty much as soon as I opened my book, though, my blackberry buzzed. I checked, and it was my friend Kate S, IM'ing me all the way from distant Panama. Instead of reading my book, I spent the next hour exchanging texts with Kate. She was posted here until one year ago, so she knows the Thursday night scene. I described it for her anyway, and we back-and-forthed about the usual stuff: who's here, who's gone, who's bidding, who's still good for a laugh. She regaled me with tales of her misadventures as well. (She may be the only Foreign Service officer I know who has managed to break her own nose in the line of duty. That takes talent, people. Talent and dedication.) We laughed and talked and laughed some more, over a whole lot of nothing, and a whole lot of everything.

I've spent the greater part of the past week feeling sorry for myself, for reasons mostly indefinable or unexplainable. So it was nice to talk to an old friend for awhile, to forget about the things that have been troubling me. It's been awhile since Kate and I last chatted. I sort of forgot how much fun we used to have. We're a lot alike, the two of us, and we used to work just down the hall from one another, which meant we spent a good chunk of our free time hanging out.

I've been here for three years now - long enough to make plenty of friends, of course, but also long enough that I've had to say goodbye to some close ones as well. Tonight, when I was feeling sort of melancholy, it was nice to be able to turn to an old friend to cheer me up.

Thanks, Kate, for making me smile. I miss you still. And after an entire year of separation, I'm finally able to forgive you for giving all of those chocolate-covered almonds to Bart, and none to me.

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