Scary stories from a lovely place
Ocean friendships are the kind that can be rekindled in a moment even after a lengthy separation, wrought by distance or time. An ocean friendship is devoid of awkwardness or polite conversation because they are not necessary. Ocean friendships are delightful and exciting. But they are also a little bit sad because, contained within their definition, is separation.
I’m fortunate enough to boast a handful of these kind of frienships. One is Dineo who got married this weekend to Nkululeko who studied Architecture with Stephen. When they got together a couple of years ago I was as, or perhaps more excited about the coupling than my own romance. And another is Brigitte, who is now pursuing an exciting career in Kigali.
Joyfully, a few have been rekindled of late. I’m loving being a guest again in the home of my parents in law. I feel none of the requisite tension that women usually feel with their mother in law. I am loving watching her and my father in law play with their grandchildren.
And my first week here in Dublin has been enhanced by a visit from Ellie, who popped over from the mother country to say hi. Ellie and I fist bonded over tea and knitting in Johannesburg and I was delighted to make a friend who shared my love for student ministry and my disdain for unfounded expressions of male patriarchy. While this time we didn’t manage to get out the needles, we did talk a lot over many cups of earl grey.
In a couple of weeks time Stephen will be here and for a weekend the Reid family in its entirety will descend upon this little corner of Dublin – that’s ten adults and ten children. Stephen hasn’t been together with his siblings and parents since our wedding in early 2009, but missing from that day were some grandchildren and siblings in law.
When I met, fell in love with and married Stephen in the short space of 12 months I struggled to see any negatives in my decision to forever live with this softly spoken Irish man. A few years down the track, I have only unearthed one drawback so far. But it’s a big one – his family lives in one country, and mine in another. And a major part of his soul was left behind in Johannesburg along with much history and many friendships. I don’t really know how to deal with this bifurcation of our lives. I want to live near everyone, but there are too many oceans in the way.
In the meantime we are forced to appreciate internet communication and accept that times together with these long lost family and friends will be very infrequent. At least these relationships are all ocean friendships, and no time need be wasted when we are together.