When you’re an expat you end up with a small pool of friends that are usually expats too and you cling to that group like they were your lifeline. Friends are easy enough to make but finding good ones, ones you share things in common with, ones that you connect to, well they are more rare.
I got lucky my first year of teaching because I met Elora. Being in Genoa without my husband most of the year really put me in a weird demographic zone. I’m not single and 21, so my barhopping days are well behind me, nor am I a granny with grown-up kids, so I needed to find friends who I could hang out with and do normal things with.
For the past five years Elora has been my rock. I joke about the fact that she’s like a kid sister to me who I can spout unsolicited advice to and boss around, but the truth is she has saved my sanity on more than one occasion just by being that soothing voice on the end of a phone line. Always available day or night, she has been a truly great friend.
We’ve baked cookies together and hiked trails. Celebrated special occasions and cried when things got bad. We’ve also reminded each other that we are not losing our minds, we just live in Italy and it has a way of making you think you are, haha.
The most important thing in life is relationships. With family, friends and other people in general too. I don’t know the pasta guy down the road by name but I have a relationship with him simply because I stop in to say hello and he always has a friendly smile for me even if I don’t buy any pasta that day.
Sadly, (for me), Elora is leaving Italy. While I am truly happy for her exciting future in the UK, I am saddened that I’m losing my Canadian buddy. We talk almost every day. Like I said, she has been my rock, my kid sister, my good friend.
Good friendships are like trees. Once they take root they last forever. Add a little water and sunshine and they will give you fruit for life. I consider myself very lucky because in my lifetime I have developed some lasting friendships that I cherish. The physical distances between us mean nothing.
Elora! I will surely miss you…thank you for being there for me since Day 1.
P.S. don’t forget to bring lots of cheddar cheese back from the U.K. Every time you visit me in Italy 🙂