There is nothing that quite beats hanging out with someone you feel you can completely be yourself around. The idea that you can just say whatever, eat whatever, and wear whatever and they would be like, awesome.
I was informed when I first started teaching internationally that no one back home will really care about my experiences overseas. That person was so right. I was hanging out with some people I went to high school with last night. Some I knew better than others. Then one guy asked me a few questions and just seemed amazed that I could pack my bags and leave, which I completely understand. Then he said the most basic, best explanation of why I think people just don’t really care… he said that what I was doing was so different. It’s important to understand that some of these people have never been out of the United States. So when someone was talking about partying in the desert, I was about to chime in with an experience I had in Hong Kong, but I stopped myself. The experience is so different; it would just sound like I was bragging.
Hearing how well everyone was doing and what they had been up to was really nice and I enjoyed just listening. But it just brought me back to having friends that do care about me, my experiences, and who just lets me be me. In return, I can get invested in that person’s life and they in turn can let it all hang out. Friendships such as these are rare. It’s why I treasure them so much.
I had a chance to catch up with a friend like this since being home. I have to say, particularly after China, it would be impossible for me to write how much I appreciate this person. We haven’t seen or spoken to each other in about five years, but it was as if no time had passed. Our friendship just came right back from where it had left off, just laughing and being silly. However, I believe that as we both get older, there was a deeper appreciation on both sides at how simply nice it was to have a friend in each other. It’s like family, but someone you chose! Life is grand.
On a completely different note, I have taken up a 30-day day drawing challenge. If you are interested and would maybe like to participate, check it out here: http://travelingwithclaire.com/the-challenge/. Smooches.