Friends Who Were There.

The pavlova, perched on my lap. Black pants – creamy pavlova – bad combination.

We went to a baby shower yesterday. Yes, we. G, myself and the little travellers made our way to a friend’s house balancing pavlovas and platters on our laps. It was a fabulous day. Fantastic food, lots of champagne, happy children, and two very happy parents who are on the home stretch to meeting their third child and very first daughter.

On the way there the second little traveller asked about the present we were taking “But the baby’s not born yet? Why now?” And before I could reply, the fourth little traveller responded.

“It’s a celebration, there’s a baby coming!”

It was the most beautiful, genuine answer you could hope for. It was a celebration. There was a baby coming. And yes, we were all excited.

We were a room full of parents. All of us with different styles and approaches. South Africans, English, Irish, American, Swedish and Australian. All of us far from home, not a extended family member in sight. We are the friends who are here now. Right now, it’s us.

The second little traveller has a yellow giraffe from a friend who was in Kuala Lumpur. The first traveler has a book of nursery rhymes from a friend who was in Jakarta. The third traveller has a onesie from an English friend who was in Libya. The fourth traveler has a blanket, a gift from a Canadian friend who became family. They were there, at that moment, it was them. The emergency contact.

I thought about my baby shower in Canada. The faces of friends who I will probably never live in the same city as again. Friends who hold very deep places in my heart for the generosity they showed G and I. The help that was given, the excitement that was shared.

In this expat world we are often offered the opportunity to become closer than normal. I’m not sure what makes the friendships more intense, the fact that we know they can’t last forever, or the understanding of their importance because of their necessity.

How lucky we’ve been to have the friends who were there.

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