In the bursting of the bubble and the realization that the honeymoon has ended, there is the reminder that I don’t necessarily know anyone here well enough yet to share with on the level where I need it when everything goes wrong in my day. In Switzerland many of my friendships had been built up over many years – some of them 17 years. When you have a friend that long, you know how she will react to something like an unexpected bill, or a new blouse that’s ruined, or a new wardrobe that’s damaged. She doesn’t have to explain things, you know what she needs and you instinctively give it to her. Sometimes it’s a shoulder to cry on and sometimes it’s a rebuke – but a friend normally knows when to offer what.
As Kiki said, you have a ‘shared history’ – you have been through things together, you have all that to draw on. My new friends here are wonderful people and I am so much enjoying getting to know them – but they don’t know how I would react to any of these scenarios, and therefore they don’t necessarily know what I need. That’s not their fault – that’s just how it is when new friendships are forming. I don’t know them either.
As Gemma said in her blog recently (http://gemmarwilson.blogspot.com), what she misses is people who know that her favourite colour is pink…and what she is looking for in a guy…and walking into a room with the feeling that her life is intertwined with the lives around her.
That is interesting – for our lives are intertwined with those we meet, with our fellow-travellers on the road. Alfredo said at Alan’s Induction Service recently that the story of Westlake Church in Switzerland is intertwined with the story of our family’s lives. That is true, for we spent 17 years there, our girls grew up there – from babyhood to the teenage years. My friends and I were pregnant together, had our babies together, survived the Terrible Twos together and swapped stories on parenting, marriage and all sorts of things for 17 years. That is why our lives are intertwined. We have ‘a shared history’. We don’t have to explain ourselves.
Now, as I have the opportunity and privilege to make new friends, I hope I will quickly learn what makes them tick – what makes them laugh and what makes them cry – and that I will know how to be a good friend to them.