Thursday, October 10, 2013
farewells and america
I am sad.
The Quiet American is leaving today (the company, not the Earth or London), but still.
He's my work pal. The one I have breakfast with in the morning, or grab a brew with in the afternoon. And while we do see each other from time to time for drinks after work and on weekends sometimes, when a work colleague leaves, it does ultimately mean the friendship will never be the same.
You say you'll keep in touch, and you do. For a while. Then life and time gets in the way. But you also always like to think that this time it'll be different and we will go on double dates, meet up for a walk on Primrose Hill, stay in touch.
I just know, after making lots of friends across lots of countries in various offices, that it's different when you don't see each other everyday. When you're bonded by boardroom meetings, watercooler gossip and inside jokes about people you both work with.
Anyway. Maybe that won't happen. We are both foreigners in a city that we now call home, so friends we make at work are not just work friends. They are people we genuinely know here, so maybe this time it'll be different.
Speaking of friends, Poen has been in London this week for a whirlwind visit, and it's been so good to catch up. We sat over high tea the other day in a posh London hotel, scoffing cucumber sandwiches and scones and cream, while catching up on things like what married life is like, how we have both become more insular in our old age,and life as it is now.
How much we've moved on from our heady, ridiculously fun days in Joburg in our 20s. Poen lives in rural Tanzania, so is also removed from the 'norm' of home.
It is so good to touch base with a good friend, if not just to check yourself.
"Is it normal that I don't feel the need to have a massive group of friends anymore? And that I just want to see the people I really care about?" (Apparently it is, according to Poen and a few others.)
"Sometimes I just can't be bothered making an effort." (I have enough friends? Even if enough is what you can count on one hand and I just don't have time for any more?)
"Its hard to keep in touch with everyone. As much as I'd love to write or call regularly, it takes up time." (I've heard this a lot lately.)
"This is why I keep Facebook alive. Literally so that I know what people are doing. Even if it is just having babies."
There's such a huge comfort knowing that although some of your best friends live far away, they are going through the same motions as you are as you grow up.
On a positive note, I'm flying to San Francisco on Saturday. Although San Francisco isn't a novelty for me anymore (first world problem: I go every year), there are aspects of it that I love.
This is what I enjoy about my annual American visit.
1) Having everything drenched in maple syrup and/or cheese.
2) Bottomless drinks
3) Cheap clothes shopping. Pound-dollar exchange rate is favourable. And Macy's and Bloomingdale's always show us a fucking good time.
4) Americans are friendly. It can be a bit.. American and a little up in your grill, but it's also quite entertaining to really observe.
5) Tweedy and I are going to Carmel, a little town south of the city for a night. Apparently it's cute and pretty, and we'll drive down the Pacific Highway, checking the vibe out.
Now to go to a farewell dinner.