Friday, 1 October 2010

the nature of things

D asked me last night if I was still blogging- ouch! But when I read this great post over on Kate's blog (gosh that girl gives great blog), it started me thinking yet again about the irony of the often inverse relationship between having things to say and having the time to say it, the filters and distillation. I recall the same thing about journal writing in the olden days before blogging.
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If you have been hanging out here for a while you could be forgiven for thinking I sit and machine knit all day and buy yarn, when of course much more happens. More happens and much more is contemplated and thought about and formulated in the mind.

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Right now we are smack bang in the middle of a two week stint of hosting visitors and entertaining children on school holidays. This means we are doing much - trips away and visits to museums and zoos and parks. It also means a perpetual round of meals for 7, twice as much washing, an extra child to pick up after and at least twice as many disputes to resolve. There are transportation and logistics issues, communications challenges, planning tasks and a certain amount of overcrowding. And all this has to be managed with limited shared language and cultural norms (oh the things we take for granted!).

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But if that all sounds like hard work, that is absolutely only a fraction of the picture. The challenges are not only immensely entertaining and rewarding they are accompanied by much learning, laughter and shared understanding. And in between there is a connection between us that is so much deeper and richer than could possibly be expected. 5 years ago we were living in their house in Thailand, sharing a daily interaction over the most mundane of matters. The next year they visited us and I think we were all surprised to find the bond between us not only survive the trip from their land to ours but seemed even stronger. I call them our adopted family because really it feels that forever.

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When we first met them they were a young professional couple, grappling with newish coupledom, life with the extended family and the tension between their traditional culture and the growing influence of western culture, with all its attractions and dangers. When we met them next establishing their own family was the biggest issue on their plates. Now they have a small child and the complexities of parenting, redefining their working lives and places in the extended family are paramount.

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There is much in their situation that is different from mine, both because of our cultural difference and just simply different lives, but there is so so much more that is the same. And it shouldn't surprise me, it doesn't surprise me really, but wow, it hits me daily how amazing, how wonderful it is that despite the many surface differences we are able to jump right in to that pool of the human condition and laugh and commiserate and celebrate together.

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Do I sound like a total sap? Like a gushy Asia hand? Is it really so remarkable to find this kind of friendship? It seems to me that it shouldn't be, that this happens all the time. And yet it feels, in a deeply emotional and instinctive way, like the most significant of things. In all the people in all the world, to find friends who seem as open and willing, as interested and excited, as familiar and yet different as we are seems like nothing short of a miracle.

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And while they are here with us it seems like every day I think this anew. Whether it is about the food we cook for each other and our mutual admiration for it all, about the challenges of disciplining our children, about the evolution of our extended families, about our work and careers, about our habits on Facebook and our love of the iPad, these small daily rituals run deeper the tracks.
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So I don't care how trite it seems to say it, I feel incredibly lucky and privileged and humbled, and all the more so because it is in such an ordinary, real life kind of way.


Jodie said...

I like the way you think.

Ren said...

ah Sooz, this is one reason why I love you

Kate said...

What a lovely compliment! :D

I find it interesting being people's blog readers and flickr friends at the same time. Sometimes you see little bits of their life pop up in between - but it's like driving past lit windows at light. You can see that there's a whole life in there, but you only get a glimpse of it.

Ali said...

Thank you for the link to Kate's post. And for sharing some ordinary, real life.

trash said...

True friendships are always a hugely special thing to find. Even more wonderful if they are recognised for their odd blend of specialness and prosaicness (OK, I did just make both those words up I confess.)

Your pictures made me smile, I wondered when Amy got a dog, why no one was concerned there was a mahoosive fish about to consume a small child and a small heart thud when I recognised where we got married.

t does wool said...

I like how you think,too Suze~