Last weekend, I got to spend three days with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Cathy lives in Sydney, Australia and we’ve been friends for almost 25 years.
We started out as pen friends back in the day. Does anyone still remember what FB’s (“friendship books”) are? People sent little booklets – ‘Friendship Books”- around where you put your address, you age and your interests and when you received such a booklet and there was someone that you liked, you could write them a letter and become pen friends.
Cathy and I initially bonded over our mutual love for New Kids on the Block (no shame! Blockheads represent! :)), but it turned out to be so much more than that. She’s been in my life since we were teenagers, we’ve been through high and lows, happiness and heartaches, and it’s just been so amazing that we’ve kept up all these years. I don’t think it can be taken for granted that our friendship survived this long, especially because it was all based on letter writing for such a long time.
We were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet each other IRL once before, when she and her husband traveled to the US and we met up in Los Angeles for a long weekend (including a trip – my first! – to Disneyland). The best part: it didn’t feel awkward at all, because we already “knew” each other. But that was 11 years ago.
We spent a couple of very special days together, then they continued their trip, we went up north to Sacramento, not knowing when we would be able to see each other again.
This might not seem like such a big deal today as we – especially us bloggers – make so many connections online these days and it’s almost common now to meet up with someone that you met over the Internet, but back in the day, it was rare to be friends with someone who lived so far away and who you hadn’t met in person. Letter-writing was a real effort and it takes two committed people to make this work for so long, but we stuck it out and became and have been best friends ever since.
We still kept writing after our meet-up, but not as much as we used to. J and I got married, Cathy and Greg had two lovely girls. Life got busy. But despite some periods of time where we didn’t hear from each other that much, I always knew that Cathy was there.
So, then fast forward a few years to 2014 when Cathy started talking about making another trek over here and when she started saving for the trip and planning it, scratching it, re-doing the itinerary, but always with the goal in mind to meet up somewhere and spend some quality time together. I told her, if she makes it over to the US again, I’ll come and meet her anywhere. So, we basically had been talking about seeing each other again for the last two years (and you can imagine how hyped up we were getting).
On Saturday morning, I boarded a plane to meet her + her family in Vegas for a long weekend. And when I arrived at the hotel that we were staying at and saw her walking towards me in the lobby, I felt giddy, yes, but it was instantly comfortable as if we had just seen each other a week ago. It’s amazing how that works, right?
It’s hard to put in words what this weekend meant to me. It’s not like Australia and the US are neighboring countries (and neither were Germany and Australia back in the day). With everything and everybody so connected these days, it does feel a whole lot closer (it’s not like we have to wait weeks for a letter to be delivered), but it’s still not like we can just hang out anytime we want, so the three days that we got together were extremely special.
We chatted NONSTOP. And when I say nonstop, I mean nonstop. This, of course, is a good sign, because if you can talk to each other like that, it means that you don’t really have to do much else. Yes, we walked the Strip and saw a bit of the casinos, had dinner at a buffet one night and lunch at Wahlburgers (*squeal*) and enjoyed the night view from the Paris, Paris Eiffel Tower, but the rest of the time we were perfectly fine hanging out at the pool (or the hotel room) and chatting the hours away. And it was still not enough time.
When I caught the taxi to the airport on Monday evening, I couldn’t help but feel like there was so much left to say.
I think I said that before: face time with close friends is so very special. You just talk “differently” with each other. You dig deep, get to things that you don’t talk about when you communicate via Whatsapp, text or email in between the demands of daily life.
The good news is we might see each other again in the not too distant future. I won’t say anymore, because let’s not jinx it, but FINGERS CROSSED. I miss her already.
Do you have any good friends that live really far away?