Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One Year

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.


aimee said...

Nostalgia must be in the air today. I feel the same way...longing for other times when I had more girlfriends nearby. Hang in!

Anonymous said...

Ali - Although my time was fleeting in Moz, I too remember it fondly. Oddly I have mostly boy friends in the UK ... Moz was special with such a 'girlie' group.

It will come again and wonderful people gravitate towards you. You deserve a tribe.


stacie said...

And I read this on the day that I am flying to Kansas City with 5 other women for a girls only weekend! Transitioning to a new place is difficult no matter where you are, and I know how social you are, so I understand the sentiment. However, in the new direction your life is taking you, you will meet a ton of new girlfirends. When/if you start doing shows, if you join a co-op gallery, if you start attending some of the art 'get-away' weekends, ect. you will meet some wonderful new girlfriends...I promise! The age group of women that I am going to Kansas City with range from early 30's to 50's with me right in the middle. Although I can imagine you are super busy right now with school, and it may seem like it will take forever, it will happen!!! Take care...

Ali la Loca said...

~Aimee - I hope that the girlfriend gods smile upon both of us! There's nothing like having a great group of girls!

~Stefanie - I also have such fond memories of the short time you were in Moz. I think it's a perfect illustration of how close bonds can form in record time when in a context like that. Thanks so much for your lovely words.

~Stacie - That sounds like so much fun! I'll definitely have to get involved in some of the art groups and co-ops once I'm out of school. Enjoy your trip, and keep making those wonderful necklaces you posted the other day!

ESRADAN said...

hello,have a nice days,lovesss

meredith said...

Wow, a year already. I hope this next year brings you a couple of great girl friends!

Jody said...

A very timely post. Do you think it has to do with our age??? (I feel like I am blaming a lot of things I can't explain on aging now...) I just got back from a visit with one of my girlfriends where we reminisced about the late night salsa evenings and wine paring parties we threw when I lived with her a decade ago. We also discussed how it seems that most of my friends who are not having kids or who are in similar transitions (she just graduated and is in between jobs) are "struggling" to meet new people actually. I seem to keep my socializing up with skype although the time zone differences make it hard for us to be on the same page with drinks. le sigh.

I am going to Moz next week actually. I have very positive feelings about it thanks to you.

Ali la Loca said...

~Meredith - Thanks, I hope your wish for my next year comes true.

~Jody - So by the transitive law of expat/blog friendships, does this mean that if you hang out with my friends in Moz it's almost as if I'd hung out with them myself?? :) Will you be in Maputo at all? If so, drop me a line so I can hook you up with some people, at the very least with Zeca the taxi driver.