As most of the expats I know (most of whom also read this and maintain their own blogs) will attest, being far flung from loved ones is the most difficult aspect of life abroad. Certainly we miss proper peanut butter, TV programs, people who understand what we are saying, wider parking spaces and free water at restaurants. However, those things pale in comparison to the comfort that familiar faces and embraces can bring. Sure, a well-known voice over the phone can bring some solace to the homesick heart, but when you have a tough week, when the world’s got you beat, when you just had the worst hair day of your life, you need some face time with people who know you best. You need someone to shake some sense into you, to hold you while you cry, to feed you cookies while you vent. You need someone who saw you through bad fashion, poorly chosen boyfriends, grand-scale mistakes and loves you all the more for it.
A little less than two weeks ago, my someone got married. My best friend, Jess, married her best friend, Matt, in our hometown. And due to distance, timing and my own familial obligations I wasn’t there. Being an expat has many glories. The culture, the travel, the language, the experiences are all rich for learning and life lessons. But all that seems for naught on the day when you miss your best friend’s wedding. Lucky for me, Jess is a kindred and shares my beliefs that moments, ceremonies and legalities aren’t what makes or breaks a human bond. She was committed to Matt in her heart the same way the day before her wedding as she was the moment after the marriage certificate was signed. We’re friends as much today as we would have been if I had been standing next to her during her vows. But that doesn’t necessarily make me miss her any less.
The good news is that, despite any selfish sadness I feel for my own absence on her wedding day, my best friend has found someone to keep her company all the times when I’m away from her. She found a companion who knows her as well, and certainly in many ways better, than I do and loves her unendingly. Luckily for that lucky man, he also understands and supports the invincible and lovingly strange bond that I share with her. He has entered the triangle that was once Lane, Dave and Jess, and made it a square with us barely noticing. They’ve even chosen the hamlet of Crimmy as the first stop on their springtime Euro-Honeymoon, and we’ll do our best to foster the romance. Perhaps now that their union is legal, we won’t make them sleep in the bunk beds.
Is this not the most amazingly gorgeous bride you’ve ever seen!?