Monday, April 8, 2013

Friends as Family

Living far away from home, as a stranger in a strange land, you quickly gravitate toward and become friends with other foreigners because you are all fumbling your way through this new life and it helps if you do so together.  Then there are the friends who are born and bred in this country you chose to be your home for a while; they are the ones that help guide you through everything and take you under their wing.  All these friends quickly become your family.

That being said, here comes another list.  This time I am listing many of the incredible memories made and moments shared that will last a lifetime for me.  These helped forge bonds that will never be broken, no matter where the winds blow us or whether we even get the chance to see each other again in person (but we will always have Paris Skype!); our hearts will forever be inextricably linked.  Like family...because we are and always will be.

I could never list every single event or memory from my time away (because they are just too numerous to put in one article and also because some of them should not be published...ever!) but in the memories I do list, I am sure my friends will recognize themselves as part of them!

I will never forget:

  • Just one more drink before last train...then three drinks later, realizing you got roped into staying out all night again, shrugging, drinking more then stopping at the conveni on the way home for nasty food that tasted oh-so-good at 3am after the bar.
  • Watching bootlegged copies of films that were in English, and were needlessly subtitled in English.  It is important to note that in no way shape or form, did said subtitles in English actually match what was being said in the film, in English.
  • Water gun fights all the way home from the conveni because buying those water guns was the best idea 3am, after the bar.
  • Learning that saying "Cheers!" in Italian, in public in Japan, is not the best idea ever.
  • Seeing Tokyo through the eyes of friends who have been there for a while.  These friends decide that staying in a business hotel with a coin-operated TV (coins needed only for certain channels) was the best way to experience bad wax museums, giant orbs, and tacky tourist spots, of course.
  • Developing an extreme aversion to ever hearing or saying "Watcha gonna do on the weekend?" (Referencing someone with an odd crush on me, who was constantly leaning against the doorframe of my classroom and asking me that...every. time. he. saw. me.)
  • Discovering the joy and beauty that is being allowed to drink in public: in a park, next to a river, on the train, walking down the street....
  • Using nothing more than hand gestures to successfully purchase electronics and being really super amazingly proud of that.
  • Finding a 24 hour 3am after the bar.  Because drunk in the wee hours is best for making grocery purchases.
  • Staying with a friend overnight because I had to "bomb" my apartment for cockroaches in the spring.
  • ¥100 tuna, pasta, or corned beef (uh..."new" corned beef...I won't tell you what it actually was, but cattle were not involved) when out of groceries just before payday.
  • Moving to Kobe.  A port city.  Meeting lovely, lovely sailors.  Mostly British with broad shoulders.  Or Scottish with a long, curly ponytail.  "You in town long sailor?  No??  Gooooood!"
  • Finding a creepy note in my door, thinking I have a stalker wearing burgundy waiting for me downstairs, only to discover it was a cleverly crafted note leading me to a new bicycle for my birthday!  Some friends are just too generous!
  • A never-ending supply of friends at my bedside to give me love and support each day in the hospital after my surgery.  Individuals who contacted my family, who showed up just so someone was there after my nap and who collectively gifted me with 28 novels by the time the week was up!  My atrophied muscles thought that was awesome!
  • Staying with a friend who helped me recuperate both physically and mentally as I was mid-move from my apartment when I ended up in hospital.
  • Gaining a friend who was party hostess extraordinaire, which led to me meeting my husband.
  • Texting a friend next to me about the guy at the party who became my husband.
  • Dirty dancing with bookcases.  And/or brass railings in Irish bars.  (Don't ask!)
  • Wine and cheese with my best friends, followed by wine, gossip, wine, music, wine, more gossip and wine, on the weekends.
  • Outings with the girls to buffets at the Hilton (Wine buffet!  What more could one ever wish for?!), dinners at Baan Thai, German Christmas Market, and Spa World!
  • Watching some friends marry, some of them start families, some stay in the country and in many cases, leave the country.
  • So of course, many friends left bit by bit for other adventures.  Then I finally left for my own adventures; which meant leaving other friends behind, lots of tears and hugs and love to last a lifetime...and a huge family scattered all over the world.


  1. I really loved reading this post!! I have not moved to other countries, but I have moved to other states, and I know the feeling of friends becoming family. :)

    1. It's so true, right! I think the feeling is universal whether you move states, cities, or countries! Thanks for popping by!

  2. Very entertaining post. While I havent' lived in another country, my closest relative is some 700 odd miles away. So I know the feeling of making friends your family. Thanks for the the afternoon laugh.
    We Are Adventure

    1. Glad I could make you grin! Thanks for the visit! Good luck on the A to Z! :)

  3. I am also an expat, and yes the memories and the stories add up. Laugh on.

    Visiting from AtoZ #41

    1. I really miss being an expat and have itchy feet again (Metaphorically. Due to a desire to travel. Not literally due to poor hygiene...just to be clear!). Visiting your site right now and it sure makes me want to be on the move!

  4. What a lovely post. Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Please check us out and sign up to follow if you like what you see. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

    1. Thanks Juliet! I had a great time while living away! Have fun on the A to Z!

  5. Hola hola its me again..u just brought back some great memories! How did we ever do any work?? Fun times A!!...hey we have the longest "bar" in Duss...come over and we can go looking for some 24 hour some wrong food and squirt one of the numerous hen/ stag parties passing by woth water pistols...ill biy them in advance...the fun :-)) love ur blogs A-chan x

  6. Oh my gosh! I forgot about squirting the people walking by! Actually, it was probably just you who did that while I hid in the! I realized that as I was listing stuff, I was really getting carried away with stuff from our first year there and had to stop myself in order to fit at least some stuff from the rest of the years. Man, we did a LOT that first year! I would love to go see you and cause some shenanigans you suppose anyone would mistake us for foreign "ladies of the evening" again??? Miss you, Tore-chan! xo