la plage, Essaouira, 25 avril 2011
I remember this day one year ago so well; it was sunny and warm and beautiful. It was perfect spring! My friend Claire’s birthday. Claire was a teaching assistant last year in a suburb not far from mine. We visited galleries, because Claire studied art in college and keeps me cultured. We visited the catacombs, where I squealed in disgust when gross stuff dripped on me, and Claire announced nonchalantly that it was just the stalagmites (oh, of course. Just the stalagmites. “Have you never been spelunking?!” No, I haven’t, Claire. What is it with Missouri people and spelunking?). We danced with our friends at El Toro, and then walked home to my apartment together when we realized that our white American dancing skills were not quite up to par with the club full of raging Spanish partiers. We went to Morocco together with two other friends, where we shared the misguided affections of a desert boy named Rajid (poor Rajid, he’ll never have any success with that wet camel blanket) and watched our friend Nou, dubbed “the beast” by Claire, barter to the death with the Moroccan merchants. So many adventures. I feel a strong attachment to Claire. Lots of people come and go, you lose touch, you outgrow each other, etc, but I feel like I will be able to count Claire as a good friend for a long time. We just get each other, somehow. We can talk about anything (sorry that sounds so cliché, but it is true). I feel like any interruptions in life where we don’t see each other as much won’t have that great an impact.
Friends and friendships change as you get older. I’ve lost touch with most (nearly all, wow) of my childhood friends. Our friendships used to be so easy, they were really funny and immature and sure. We always signed our notes “Lylas!” (Love you like a sister! You remember that?) That type of thing. I think we all knew no high school fights would actually last, or at least, I did. Nothing was so serious, and I really liked my friends. Don’t get me wrong, high school girls can be terrible, but I don’t think my group ever involved any malicious girls. Just silly teenagers. We had fun. College put some distance between us, and throughout college I met new people and newer people, and, funnily enough, people that I didn’t find so appealing but who seemed to want to be my friend. That’s always a weird feeling. And my high school friends and I gradually lost what we had in common. Last year in France I found some amazing friends in my fellow assistants. I think ex-pats fall into friendships easily, but we really did have some exceptional people whom I loved so much. That’s part of why leaving was so horrible. It wasn’t just leaving Paris, it was knowing that I wouldn’t ever come back to this same group. That we would never all be together again. Because how can we? They’re scattered around the UK and Ireland, Canada, all over the US… It’s hard to assemble everyone. Plus we’re all young and poor! Who has money to travel?
This year has been great, too. I’ve made some truly reliable friends who care so much about me, and about whom I care so much. I was walking home with Melisa the other day and I said, “Melisa, tu me manqueras. Qu’est-ce que je vais faire sans toi?” And she said, “on ne va pas s’abandonner, Maja.” So this is kind of what friendship is when you’re older. Even if you aren’t together, if you’ve got the bond, you don’t abandon each other.
This makes me nervous about coming back to the US and deciding where I want to live and what I want to do. I feel like I should take my social network into account. I mean, I don’t want to move somewhere where I don’t know anyone; I want to have friends! I want my friends. New friends would be okay, but I don’t really feel the need to expand my circle. Honestly sometimes I resist the idea of new friends. “But my friends are the best!! I don’t need any more!” I know this is inevitable and you never know who you’ll meet, and I’m sure I’ll continue to meet amazing, likable people, but I really like the friends I’ve got. And I don’t know if I can take loving more people who live far away. Typing this is strange because I don’t behave at all in this fashion. I’m really open to new people. I love meeting new people! I love connecting with them and finding out about their families and how their lives have changed in the past year (though here in France I meet a lot of foreigners, so there are always lots of current and constant developments in terms of location, job, friends, etc). But everyone’s got a life. Everyone is interesting. Everyone is a character.
I visited Claire last summer at her house in the states and I felt this really heavy sadness when I left. It is great having lots of friends who live lots of places, but it is so tiring having to miss them all the time. When will I see Claire again?! This summer, hopefully. I wish I could see her every week. Claire’s birthday last year was so fun. She invited a bunch of us to her cute apartment in “Bonfriggindoufle,” and fed us home-made pizza (I never knew broccoli on pizza was so delicious) and cake and ice cream and regaled us with tales of her Friends-obsessed Spanish roommate and how many times a day she heard the theme song replaying from behind her closed door. I had been at the park earlier that day with my massive picnic bag full of all my worldly possessions, and somehow I accidentally smashed her birthday gift (beautiful macarons), but she assured me they would taste just the same (even though we all know smashed macarons are one of the greatest frustrations in the world). Such a classy woman.
Marrakech, 27 avril 2011
Enjoying lunch our last day in Marrakech.
I miss you, Claire! Joyeux anniversaire!!!!!