It’s been quite a week. After bragging how easy baby Annabelle is, the Big Man upstairs has taken note and thrown a few thunder bolts our way it seems.
I’m getting over a bout of mastitis (that’s fever, chills, headaches and a painful lump inside my breast the size of a golf ball in case you didn’t know) and Annabelle has just been prescribed with the same allergy issues as her brother.
All in all though we’re fine though. I just have to take it easy and lay off the soy and milk in my diet for Annabelle’s sake. Alas that means no chocolate, among other things.
This week has also made me realise how important expat friends are.
Expat friendship is a funny thing. You meet someone for one time only, but you click and from then on, you’re sharing very personal issues, inviting them over for dinner, swapping recipes, clothes and hugs.
If you did this in London to a Londoner most likely you’d be sectioned under the mental health act.
Here in Chile, I’m Whatsapping graphic details of my chest to an expat friend of a friend I’ve never actually met in person for advice.
Another Expater buddy calls me minutes after learning I’m unwell, offering help with my kids, medical reassurance and cookies.
Before the morning is out, my phone is full to the brim with messages and voicemails offering support.
I arrived in Chile in January. If I continue at this rate I’ll have more friends than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Except these are real friendships. These people really do care. And I care about them.
That’s not to say I’ll stay in touch with all of them if we move again. I know how expat life works. Some I’ll message now and again perhaps, some I’ll meet up with when our flight paths cross, and others I’ll cherish for life.
My baby Annabelle’s middle name is Sarah, in honour of my best friend whom I’ve known since I was four. She’s my rock. I know she’ll always be there for me no matter where me move or how tough things get. And I’d like to think that despite the distance between us, I’d do the same for her.
It’s comforting, reassuring and essential to have these long term friends from ‘home’ as well as from our travels. Just as it is to click with new expat friends in your new home town.
I may not have chocolate, but I have the next best thing to a mood enhancer. And hoorah, all my friends are soy and dairy free.