I hate that this time next week my friend Emily will no longer live in Singapore. I’m happy that her family is moving on of their own choice. I’m happy that it is the right decision for their family. I wish them the best of luck. And I want to beg them to stay.
I’m sure I could write a zillion philosophical words on the transient nature of expat life and beginnings and endings…but I just don’t feel like it. Instead I’m going to tell you about my friend Emily and her son–one of Ellie’s best friends–A.
Elanor and I met Emily and A in July 2010, when all of us were new to Singapore (see above). Emily and I met at Rochester Park at what was supposed to be a meetup.com get together. Either no one else showed up, or that small table of moms was the actual group and we were both too scared to approach a group of strangers. We tentatively smiled at each other and when the other seemed receptive did the usual expat run-down—where are you from, how long have you been here, blah blah blah.
I had no idea that I’d found someone who would come to be one of my closest friends.
Emily has become one of the friends I text with every day. She’s a go to person when I need sanity, or to verify that another adults exists. Okay, Emily is still here–I have not been abandoned in my children’s world where the only topics of conversation are Frozen (Elanor) and if it is a sunny or a cloudy day (Rhiannon.)
Emily put up with months of canceled plans and my constant puking when pregnant with Rhiannon. She was the first friend to meet baby Rhi while I was still in the hospital–she deserved to meet the troublemaker who was the cause of my miserable pregnancy.
I have come to love her son A like a nephew, and Elanor adores A as well. When our friendship formed Elanor and A were both fairly non verbal, both in diapers, both sitting in high chairs (see first picture). Although I have a very close friend back in Boston whose son is only days younger than Elanor, A is one of the children I’ve actually had the joy of watching grow up in front of me instead of on facebook. I’ve watched he and Elanor progress from playing near one another to having long and involved conversations about the LEGO movie and Frozen. Just as I’m thinking about how much I’m going to miss Emily, E has told me that she’ll miss having playdates with A.
While I sit and ponder how long it will be before we get to see one another in person again, Elanor is far more pragmatic. When I talk to her about feeling sad, she responds “I can Skype A.” I don’t know if I’m happy or a bit sad that it is so normal for her to have so many relationships and friendships that require Skype to be maintained that it’s NBD to her. She seems to have learned the lessons of expat life far more easily than I–that we are always in transition, and technology is keeps us together.
This past week, Emily and I grabbed a rare mom’s night out to have some time together before they leave without the kids. If we had to feel sad, at least we could eat some good food while feeling sad. Kudos to the restaurant for writing “Bon Voyage Emily” on the dessert plate.
While we will Whatsapp and talk and skype and facebook and still be close friends….Singapore just won’t be the same without you Emily and A.