What about friends?

Someone asked someone who asked someone who asked me (or was it the other way around?) if I managed to get myself new friends, if I planted friendship seeds in the last six years and if they have taken roots and bloomed. Can you make new friends? Can you make new friends at 40? Can you make new friends at 40 while being an expat?

At a first glance I was inclined to say no, my partner is my friend and my other friends are back to the other home I know, the ones I spent my young(er) years with, laughed with, danced and drank with. Then I pause. And think. I could only be seeing half of the picture. And there’s a much, much bigger one unfolding. As I write this.

What about getting a message that says let’s grab a coffee. What about me sending a message that says let’s grab that coffee?

What about getting a message saying I bought you tickets to this concert, we’re going in December? Because they know you like that band, even if you never mentioned this specific detail to them. How did they know?

What about someone saying I really like your vibe and you saying it back?

What about former colleagues turned friends whom I go out with for brunches?

What about laughing until you cry with people who do not speak your language and you don’t speak theirs but laughter is universal (pictures).

What about the BMW parked in our garage with plates that clearly showed they were coming from my home town facing the Danube and me sticking a post-it on their windshield that said something like hey, I come from the same city as you, let’s grab a drink. It’s been four or five years since we know each other already.

What about my ladies with whom I meet and talk about everything that can come to mind? What about receiving a piece of home made chocolate on your birthday from a beautiful lady? Totally random and wholeheartedly?

What about getting xmas cards in your mailbox, hand written, and me sending them out yearly for six years already?

What about getting rid of these misconceptions and getting to know some fellow countrymen and women and hitting it off from there?

What about being invited to spend a weekend in Athens with a bunch of mammas who just wanna have fun (‘cos we all know that girls just wanna have fun. Amongst other things. Let’s not simplify it.)

What about my 7 am coffee with A. at the bakery, no matter the weather, in the smell of the newly baked croissants (damn pastry, I am a sucker for that smell! When I die, write pastry lover on my Campbell’s soup can).

What about some people I reconnected with after 25 years? They clearly were my tribe back then.

Who are all these people? Can they be called friends already? When do I get to call them friends? Is there a timeline? Do we need anything else? Is there another box to tick until we get to the definition in the dictionary?

I believe you can find your original gangsters wherever and whenever. Nothing to do with a.s.l. (pls). everything to do with smiling, being honest, open and willing to try. I am an optimist.

There is a joke I heard some eras ago – two children, one an optimist, one a pessimist. On xmas day, the pessimist’s room is filled with loads of toys and games while the optimist’s room is filled with some horse sh*t. The pessimist starts crying: this toy train is too small, this car has no batteries. What did you get? The optimist claps his hands with joy: a pony, he should be there, somewhere!

I am that latter child. I am clapping my hands.

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