Maybe it was tripping over our luggage in the postage-size hotel room at the Tune Hotel just outside Kuala Lumpur’s low cost carrier airport. Maybe it was scouring said airport for a food outlet that would accept credit cards so we wouldn’t have to convert currencies twice more in the same day (No luck; we did). Maybe it was back-to-back days of flying with tired kids. Or maybe it was the reverse culture shock of arriving in a developed country after 100 days in South East Asia (the Aussie streets are eerily quiet and serene; it’s so cold!)
Whatever the trigger, last week I hit the proverbial wall. I even have the nasty head cold to show for it.
When we arrived at my friend Mel’s lovely Melbourne home, all I wanted to do was sleep in, putter about, cook meals and do laundry. That’s right – all the mundane, mind-numbing activities that people leave home on vacation to escape. If this blog had audio, you would now be listening to the furtive vocals of Alanis Morissette (“Isn’t it ironic… yah, I really do think… It’s like raaaaiiiiinnnn… “)
So I puttered. I shopped for groceries. I cooked meals. I did laundry. I even went out of my way to clean bathrooms. ‘Cause that’s the thing about visiting a life-long friend. It’s like going home. And it’s exactly what I needed this week.
Of course Mel poked fun at me for being a stick-in-the-mud – and she made sure I dragged my sorry butt out into the Melbourne daylight to take in the sights, sounds and fabulous food. She even provided the Sudafed. That’s the other thing about life-long friends. They don’t pull any punches, and they can get you to do things you would otherwise refuse.
With the exception of my brother, no one has been in my life longer than Mel. That’s a lot of years. And a lot of shared memories. Like the awkward teen years and the ill-advised crushes (not to mention the equally ill-advised wardrobe and hair style choices). The new-found freedom and growth of the university years and early adulthood. First loves. Inevitable heart breaks. The loss of family members and dear friends. Career successes. Marriage. Kids. The big stuff and the little stuff of life.
Though we haven’t lived in the same city for over two decades, there is a shared thread woven into the tapestry of our lives. The other night Mel’s 9-year old son Hannes said to her, “Well it’s kind of like we’re related to Auntie Goya and her family.”
Yup, it’s kind of like that.
So this Saturday, we’ll pack our bags… again. On Sunday, we’ll go through the airport routine… again (though no currency exchange required for a few more weeks), and we’ll arrive at our next destination. Batteries recharged.
“Friendship is the golden thread that ties the heart of all the world.” – John Evelyn
And speaking of friendships, the six kids under this roof have had a fabulous time getting to know each other during our stay. It’s been fun to watch.