Thursday, May 14, 2015
Expat Talk: When Best Friends Come to Visit
I'm not even sure where to begin.
Yesterday, before my friends left, the sun was out: consistent and strong. This morning, they were gone: the rain started and just wouldn't stop. Last night, I returned home to an empty flat, though it'd just been filled with side-splitting laughter and crowded (though tidy!) with suitcases and new purchases the day before.
After my parents' first visit to London, I spent an hour scouring the flat after they left for evidence of their stay - a crumpled receipt, a forgotten toiletry, a misplaced charger, perhaps ... anything tangible enough to trigger the memory of their presence.
And that's what I did last night: I scoured the flat in the same way, wanting to preserve the memory of laughter, of joy, of friendship. Of course, there are always photos; a journal I kept of all our favorite (and funniest) moments; and memories of the time spent at the end of each day "airdropping" photos between iPhones. But the days passed like a blur, and all I have are the photos to remind me that it all really did happen - that my friends (including my first-year college roommate!) travelled from three corners of the US (San Diego, Houston, and Madison) for a reunion in London.
The Friday after they arrived, we had coffees and arepas at one of my favorite local haunts, Arepa & Co., on the canal in Haggerston, before heading to Buckingham Palace. Can I just tell you how refreshing it is to see London through a visitor's eyes? I can't remember the last time I walked down The Mall.
It didn't take long for us to find ourselves in fits of laughter and I, snapping a photo at just the right time, caught two of my friends bent over double in hysterics, with the other gesturing behind her in a who-are-these-people stare. It quickly became "The Photo" of our time together.
From there, we headed to Fortnum & Mason (my spiritual home!), where we indulged in some retail therapy (Kara bought a gorgeous Smythson journal) and I ogled handbags and bracelets that were much too far out of my price range.
(Aren't these Halcyon Days bracelets beautiful? I think I need to start my collection ...)
I fell in love with this beautiful biscuit tin/money box and ... when my back was turned ... (which seems to be a reoccuring trend!) it was purchased for me.
We finished with afternoon tea and a bottle of prosecco at The Criterion, as we re-hashed the funny moments of the hours before and reminisced about the last time we saw each other, which was at my wedding reception in Seattle two years ago.
Seeing these kinds of friends again - these "best" friends - is like saying, "So, anyway ..." Everything in-between those moments when we're not together is just a breath, a pause. And although I have wonderful, dear, close friends in London, I just miss those friends who know me. Like, really know me.
I miss having friends nearby who make me feel like nothing else in the world matters - like we have a secret that only we're in on.