friends.

09/10/2012

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“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” 
― C.S. Lewis


You’ve probably noticed that I’m sort of a… “different” person. When I was younger this personality trait was the source of much teasing or more accurate, the explanation for any imaginary friends I might have had. It was a vicious cycle. It can't be said that I lacked friendships, but I can definitely say that I was not a cool kid and I was certainly not Miss Popularity. And I believe that I have always been an introvert, even if my parents would object to this. I knew them well, so it was easy to be my weird, loud self around them. As my years progressed, I found others like me, and there are few friends that I still remember fondly for being some of the closest friends I have ever had.

In Elementary school, I had Kristine. Don’t ever call her Kristina, but you could always call her Kris. Every December, near or on her birthday, we’d have a big sleepover at her house where we’d do ridiculous things. We'd get into near fatal pillow fights, prank call McDonalds, or play Crash Bandicoot until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. Even if I talked to her all day in school, we’d still talk on the phone that night. Don’t get me wrong though. We didn’t talk typical girl things. We talked baseball. We talked Star Wars. We talked nerd. She was that kind of friend. When time took us to different schools, we grew apart, but I still miss her friendship and think fondly upon it as one of the best I've had.   

I like to call High School the best days I had. This is of course pretty silly, but I definitely enjoyed my time there. I was social, even if in the nerdiest ways possible. I immersed myself in every band activity I could, as well as drama, art, JROTC, and even poorly attempted cheerleading. The last one didn't pan out so well. When I met Angela, whom I call Angie, the girl I could talk Final Fantasy with, and who remains a friend to me since, I knew I'd have a friend for the ages. These days we may not be as close, but 15 years later, I still want to play/talk FF VII conspiracy theories with her and we meet up when we can. At the same time, I met a kid named Brad, who was equally as strange as I am, although I can never forget the time he called me “eccentric.” We could, and still can, talk on the phone for hours, then go to school 2 hours later and talk more. In the summer, we’d spend hours driving the city in a rust colored car with no speedometer listening to fantasy novels on audiocassette. Somehow, through different cities, several universities, and continents later, I  can still call him one of my best friends. 
When you make it to college, you can find so many fellow weirdoes, it’s almost too easy to make friends. “What’s your major? Japanese? Oh, do you like anime?” You answer yes, and there you go. New best friend. Join the tennis team. The whole team minus the seniors who hate you, well, they are all your friends! I had some great friends in the three universities I attended. Selina, a girl who carried a shiv in her hoodie and outlined her lips with lipliner was my complete opposite. We met, I secretly judged, we were thrown together by the bonds of sisterhood, and suddenly, years later, she’s the Maid of Honor at my wedding.

Friendship is funny that way. In a way, the older you get the easier and harder it gets to make friends, if that makes sense. You can be forced together by work, or situation, or school even, which should make it easy, but if you think the people are nothing like you, it can get difficult. When I first moved to India I only contemplated friendship as a secondary thought. I didn’t think too much about how it might be easy or difficult to make friends, I just thought a lot about the friends I was leaving behind. I have a lot of great friends in Cincinnati, some made through work connections, others just randomly, and it was really difficult to say goodbye. When I got here a year ago, I met a lot of people who seemed really different than me. Many were about 15 years old than I was and pretty much all of them had children. Their husbands didn’t travel the way mine did, and the more they mentioned it, the more I started thinking how it might be difficult to achieve what I had before.

I was wrong. At the risk of sounding cliché, the friendships and connections I have gained here have totally surpassed my expectations and blown me away. For example, in a situational friendship, where it could have been “Hey, you will be friends now, because this is your husband’s boss’s wife,” Heidi became one of my dearest friends here. I can honestly say that since she has left, there is a hole in our Hyderabad world and in our hearts where their whole family belongs.
Any non-amazing people here are few and far between, however. One of my best friends in Cincinnati, Megan, has a sister who is dying from Mitochondrial disease. She wanted to help her sister Leslie make 1000 paper cranes so that she could have a wish, like the Japanese legend. I thought how nice it would be for some of us to get together here to make some and send them to her, so I posted it on Facebook. Within 2 hours I had over 15 replies, and a couple days later over 25 of us got together to make cranes at my house. Even people I did not know came to my house to drop cranes off for Leslie during the week. I was very touched that many of my friends here have hearts so big, and that even people I don’t even know wanted to help. 

Megan is very lucky to have a wonderful sister like Leslie, and Leslie is so lucky to have a great sister like Megan. I’m so lucky to have a good friend like Megan. I’m also so lucky to have friends like all of you- all over this big world- because without you, my life would not be the same. 


“Can miles truly separate you from friends... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?” 
― Richard Bach



Learn more about Mitochondrial Disease by visiting MitoAction.org and UMDF

 


Comments

09/10/2012 11:12pm

Leigha! Beautifully written! I always enjoy your insight!

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