A year ago today, Rico and I left Mozambique after having lived there for 5.5 and 4.5 years respectively. It hardly seems possible. That memorable last day feels at once decades away, and yet as fresh and palpable as last week.
I am having a moment of nostalgia as I remember our time in Maputo, in particular. We were part of such a wonderful social group, and it saddens me to think that these people are in our past, that we will never be together again. Most of our closest friends have already moved on from Mozambique, on to new contracts and new lives, be it at "home" or in a different country, a different adventure.
I reminisce fondly, and with massive saudades, about all of the house parties, the road trips, the late afternoon coffees and weekend sundowners. In particular I miss my fabulous girlfriends: Jenny, Kelly, Helen, Zahra, Anel, Lindsey, Claudia, Evy...the list goes on.
I always used to think it was hard to make friends in Mozambique, and in all fairness it really was. People always coming and going, tricky relationships between expats and locals, cliques determined by country of origin and/or place of work. However once you managed to establish a friendship, you could be sure long-lasting bonds would be formed in record time.
Making friends here in the Bay Area has been slow-going, and in some ways even more difficult than in Maputo. We've established really nice relationships with our neighbors - most of whom are in their 40s and 50s - but it's been challenging to make friends our own age. Much of the time I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to being social, in particular with "peers". I have some friends from my high school days in New Mexico, but for the most part they live at least an hour away and I see them very infrequently.
When it comes to friendships, I am definitely of the "quality over quantity" philosophy, and am content to primarily hang out with Rico, my mom and our neighbors. However, there is part of me that aches to have girlfriends again, ones who live in the same city and who I can call up to have a spur-of-the-moment drink, or invite to dinner full well knowing that the house is a mess and we are eating leftovers, just because the pleasure of their company is so desired.
I remind myself that it took a good 2 years for me to feel like I had friends in Mozambique. I'm sure that at some point I'll look back on this post and find it hard to remember what it was like *not* to have a close girlfriend or two near Casa Cali. But today, on this anniversary of a great change in our lives, I find myself wishing that I could turn back time and spend just one evening with my friends in Maputo.