There were a few mishaps on the way to Madrid, such as a very long transfer, a mobile phone that refused to accept Spain as a place to operate in, and because the airport express busses were mysteriously well hidden I kept my friends waiting for so long it can’t be mentioned in words.
But then I was there! It was Spanish dinner time (read; night time) so we grabbed some tapas while catching up in a whirlwind of questions, sangria, oh’s and ah’s. I hadn’t seen the Spaniards for over a year, and as we had mainly followed each other’s activities on Facebook there were a lot of news to share. It is true magic when you can simply continue where you last left off, and just roll with whatever is current. No need to ”do you remember…” just to fill the silence. It rightfully gets a little jumpy, and there will inevitably be a few ”what?!? ” and ”didn’t you know??”. But knowing that you have a home with each other, whenever or wherever you are, is a blessing not to be taken for granted.
A day or so later the youngest ones and FF arrived in sandals and with open arms, brimming with travel memories. Now almost half the Singapore Family was gathered. It truly was glorious in all its normality. We ate an enormous amount of food, grabbed every chance (read; almost all the time) to hug one another, and just kept up light, deep, thoughtful and thoughtless conversations. Like with most families there’s a random mess of opinions, ideas, memories in the making or remembered, organizational discrepancies and lots of love. There were several times when I felt my heartbeat more strongly, when I tensed with shared pain, cried with laughter at things said or not at all explained, felt my chest expand with pride, moments of curiosity or insight, and sometimes I just smilingly looked at them all. And all of this in 12 wonderful hours.
To me, friends we make and keep are like reflections of ourselves. They are almost different versions of ourselves, representing different parts of us and as such we grow together, we learn with and from each other and hopefully we challenge each other for the better. Someone said that friends are God’s way to apologize for family, but I think it’s more about creating your village. By taking an active role to find people and staying in touch with the ones that speak to our hearts, we take responsibility for our own village.
Having found myself back in Sweden after more than a decade away, I now have friends all over the world, and still I am blessed enough to return to arms that are still open and waiting. Overwhelmingly wonderful, I can’t express enough how grateful I am to have YOU ALL as my friends, old and new, near and far.
I never want to lose this feeling that I can jump on a plane tomorrow, or pick up the phone for just a five minute catch up, or write a letter, or spontaneously knock on someone’s door (watch out Gothenburg!!).
Odd and interesting things in Spain:
- Lunch starts at 2.30pm and dinner at 9pm. (Gah!)
- A lot of doorknobs are placed in the lower centre part of the door, whilst the lock is where it should be, in the middle of the door on the side. Spanish people hence often open doors with their thighs.
- People from Madrid are called ”cats”. Adorable!!
- 20 degrees and sunny, they call it cold. Ha! Welcome to Sweden; anytime of the year – bring thermal clothes.