Friends and Friendship

Today marks three months since we arrived in England; one quarter of our year gone already. It also seems to have marked a transition for all of us as we acclimatize to living somewhere new.

While things still feel fairly new here, I think we’ve all started to build some friendships that have made us feel more settled in now. Connie and Heidi are doing really well at school and have made friends quickly, as you are always likely to do when you’re with people 6 hours a day. It has already eased the feeling of missing home and created more difficulty in the question we ultimately have to answer – should we stay in England or return to Vancouver?

I think that the best we can hope for is that this decision is difficult, for all of us. It means that either option has its good points and its bad points. I also think it’s a good thing in your life to be challenged with things like this. It takes you out of your comfort zone; it makes you realize that you can be happy in different places. It also establishes the things that are really important in your life; there are things you realize you can go without. And I think it brings into focus how important people and relationships are to you.

I’ve made big moves before. What makes this situation more unique is that we’ve moved to a place where we don’t really know anyone, and there’s not an established community of individuals in the same situation (ie. university). It’s been great to have Rachel’s side of the family closer by, but we don’t see them on a day-to-day basis.

I’ve realized how one’s need for friendship is what needs to be replenished, but that doesn’t mean you are “replacing” your friends. But building depth and history takes time, and the people you are getting to know – well they already have their own lives and so initially you’re kind of squeezing in and wondering if they have room for you.

This can be good too though, because it challenges complacency. Also, it’s like having a whole new audience for your jokes – if you move every five years, you only need 5 years worth of material 🙂

And while you miss certain people really deeply; like a bit of you is missing, it does set the table for one of the best things in life: reunions

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5 Responses to Friends and Friendship

  1. Kate Cardinal says:

    We have time for you, Rachel, Connie and Heidi and have loved you coming into our lives!
    Kate,Paul J, T and M x

  2. Eve Carroll says:

    Hi Mike and Rachel, I really enjoyed reading this, thank you. I have never posted on a blog before but your post really made me think and I just wanted to say something. I have made so many huge moves and am realising that another huge one is on the horizon. I am planning to leave here next summer but it is the thought of starting somewhere new and making friends that is making me hesitate. Maybe it is being older and realising how much more difficult it is and not wanting to lose what I already have. But, I love the rush of being in a new place and not knowing anyone or anything (the bizarre thing that freaks me out the most is not knowing how the public transport system works!). I remember my second night in KL, lying in my hotel room – thinking what on earth have I done and why did I leave everything I knew but also knowing that there were going to be a lot of exciting challenges, adventures and friendships coming my way. I was right 🙂 Can’t believe it has been almost 7 years. The life I chose is a strange one and I can understand how you feel giving everything up and moving somewhere new- but the experiences you will have and the frienships that you will make and the things that you will see, in my opinion, make it completely worthwhile.
    Take Care, Eve x

    • Mike says:

      Hi Eve! Wow what a great post. I pushed the boat out a bit this time being a bit more honest and vulnerable; perhaps I should do that more often…

      I think that uprooting oneself and moving is not for everyone, and I also think there is a lot to be said for putting roots down and having life-long relationships with people close by. But the thing about moving every so often is that you learn a lot – about yourself, about other people and cultures; all that good stuff. And I think you discover that the creature comforts which you think you can’t live without – you can actually live without them. There’s no doubt that it’s hard; especially at first, and having a family definitely helps (and that gives me all the more respect for you, Eve, out there on your own).

      And while I’m following up on a comment, a big thank you to Kate & Paul for your encouragement

  3. Oma says:

    Hi Mike
    It was interesting reading your last musings about moving, and it made me think about my own or ( our ) moves. I have made some major moves in my time, but the one that came to my mind, was when we moved from Montreal to BC.
    I remember how lonely I was here, missing my friends in Montreal. Even though, BC was where my family was, and where I had some roots. What I realized most of all, was how precious these friends were to me, when I didn’t have them. I really appreciated them for their friendship to me. I kind of took my friends for granted. It was when I didn’t have them anymore that I grew to love them.
    Also, I remember missing Fairview Village, and the familiarity and the surroundings. Places where you and Chris had those first experiences — kindergarten, school, Sunday School, riding a bike, the skating rink, the mountains of snow and those first neighbourhood friends. Even, today, the fall air still reminds me of Montreal, and I literally cried that first year, when the leaves turned colour in the fall. I so longed for Montreal. I actually wanted to go back.
    But the nice thing is — there are those great memories, and you have a trail of friends in those places. Amazing friendships, where you just pick up where you left off.
    And we only lived there for five years. But , I think it was the time of our lives that marked it. The stage of our lives. The time of sharing our lives with other families raising young children.
    And, even though, I, so much wanted to be closer to my family — there were also disappointments in family relations. But I hasten to add, that, for our own family, it was a very rewarding move, and I wouldn’t have wanted you and Chris to grow up in Montreal. I love living right here, and , indeed, am very thankful.
    Love you,

  4. dad says:

    Hi Mike & Rachel,

    Great blog, son. Yes, it enriches our lives to live in new places and expose ourselves to different environments with different habits and ways of doing things. It made me aware that just because I am used to my routines that it is just one way and there are many other options that are as valid.
    As for friends, well that takes time. Iam glad to hear that you are getting involved in worship and it is in those small groups that we make friends, because we share the same passions and activities.
    It is interesting that you get along without much use of the car. Of course, it is the same with Oma. Everything is close and that certainly is very convenient.
    So, what to do? Look at the bright side. You have choices, good choices. You are very blessed. We hope that you and Rachel come to an agreement that is acceptable to both
    of you. There will be lots of give and take, but eventually you have to make a choice and once that is done, you both have to let it go without going back .
    We will support you , whatever that choice will be. Of course, we love to have you here.

    Greetings to you all.


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