When you go away with new people for the weekend, you can never be quite sure of what you’ll get.
Will we have the same taste in food?
What about music?
Will we have the same views on substance use, and, in general, what constitutes a good time?
These are not the big questions of an important and meaningful life. Nevertheless, as a traveler, it is imperative to take these small risks, and to spend weekends with new people, because friendship is the basis of community in the international world, perhaps even more so than other places perhaps. In lieu of extended family, friends become your support system in times of joy and struggle.
And this year, much of our remaining support system will move on to other locations, adding distance to our friendship resumes. In their wake, they leave that space I’ve come to know so well, where lines rearrange and the way is paved for new networks, groups and commitments to form. We can all already feel it happening: the subtle letting go’s, the tiny shifts in alliances.
So, we branch out, hoping to find kindness and kinship, to realize ease and love and a shared sense of enjoying life in our version of a moderate and meaningful way.
This weekend, we were pleasantly rewarded with pool games, education talk, book reading and game playing. We listened to relaxing music, ate healthy, conscious food that met everyone’s needs, and shared the immense joy (and sometimes challenge) of taking care of an an 11-month old day and night.
There is no right way to spend a weekend, or a life, but there are many ways that do not jive with who I am or who I want to be. So, it is here that I take pause to hold gratitude for people with whom you can be yourself and share pleasant, easy time.
It is also necessary to reminded that no place is perfect. When you move often, you begin to see this in a whole new way. Guatemala City, my home for almost four years, has an awful murder rate resulting in empty public parks. We miss public libraries and public pools and public programming in general. Without full control of the language, we do not get to access so many of the cultural and intellectual events that do take place. Travel outside the vibrant but congested city can sometimes be tedious, gruelling, or dangerous. Some days, we do what we can to help. Some days, we retreat into what’s comfortable.
Every single place has its drawbacks.
Every choice you make renders others obsolete.
Every single friendship you begin may one day cease to grow.
But on this lovely weekend, at this gorgeous spot just two hours from my urban apartment, we relished the sunshine and began some new friendships anyways. Because… why on earth not?
3/18 – #SOL18