Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Comings and Goings of Friends

Friday night I had a delightful little reunion with three of my friends from Paris circa two years ago. As I've mentioned before, when I was in France at that time, I took a TEFL course, to learn how to teach English as a foreign language. It was a month long course of intensive training, Monday-Friday, classes all day long. It's rather a hit or miss sort of situation when you put a group of strangers together under those circumstances and expect them all to play nice. All of us were adults, but certainly spanning age gaps from late teens to decades older. Sometimes the petty atrocities of our high school years manifest in certain groups like this, bringing out the clicks, judgements, and vendettas of our more youthful years. Other times the result can be a miraculous experience in which you walk away with lifelong memories. Like going to summer camp, you may never speak to those people again, or you may develop friendships that never fade. In my case, it was the latter. I was only in Paris for two months, but I kept friends and acquaintances that I still have over two years later. Stronger bonds in some cases than any friendships I've made so far this time around. 

I volunteered to host our gathering in my tiny little studio on the 6th floor of a building in the 16th. Not the most ideal platform for a get-together, but cosy and conducive nonetheless. I love donning the hostessing hat (and yes, in my mind it's more like a pointed wizarding cap but with that cascade of chiffon that drapes down from the top like a princess), so I went a bit overboard with my spread of nibblies and libations.  Savory and sweet, baguette and fromage, a choice of red, white, or the ever-present-in-my-life, rosé. Two of us from America, though very different parts, one from Scotland, and one from France, we all managed to be in the same room together for the first time in two years. We chatted about the other people we met at that time, some of our crazy adventures in various bars or restaurants, the dynamic amongst our classmates, and the drama that we since discovered was at the heart of TEFL International. Some of us have kept in touch more than others, perhaps some of us will never see or talk to each other again, but the magic of a bonding experience is like an ever-burning flame. 

I have never been one who lets go of meaningful friendship easily. It just never made sense that you would say goodbye to someone who still lives and breathes and exists on this planet. Just like my hostessing hat, I seem to chronically sport a communication cap that urges me to make an effort as often as I can. Some friends I talk to once a year because that is our relationship, while others I talk to every day because the dynamic calls for it, neither classification better or worse. People come and go in your life due to so many different variables, and under the best circumstances it's a mutual separation that occurs organically because people grow up and move on and venture down different paths. But the mystical fairy of love living in my heart is also amazingly grateful for and astounded by the idea that those paths so very often criss-cross again and again at various points in the future. Four friends from different parts of the globe with different goals and interests and personalities can all of a sudden be in a tiny studio in Paris parleying about one month of adventure years ago. The world is huge and expansive but also small and well-connected, especially now in the age of technology. "You say goodbye and I say hello"... and the patchwork continues...

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