Wow! It’s seems like an eternity has passed since the last time I wrote anything on this blog. Life does get crazy as you add more little peeps to the family.
The last months of my pregnancy with number 3; the fast, happy an emotional first months with a new baby; and then the start of the school year have gotten the best of me.
I have no idea how the “I have to write a post about that this week” has come to a “I should finally write anything at some point this month”.
But alas, here I am with a laundry list of ideas to write about, my phone and internet connection at the hair salon. Right now is as good of a time as any to make a comeback 😉
Out of all the things that are circling my mind right now, the one that keeps coming back is the great feeling of fellowship and belonging that I have experienced A LOT recently.
If you just moved to the US -or far away from home anywhere for that matter- please take this piece of advice to heart: if you find someone that you have more than a couple things in common with and who makes you feel important, and loved, and happy, and that you are not the only odd ball, do whatever it takes to foster that friendship!
Throughout my now 12 years living in Michigan, I have met wonderful people who have changed my world and who have made me appreciate friendship as the best gift that a person can offer you. Among the amazing people who have and are currently accompanying me through life, are the Latin American women that over time have become more than a playgroup, my family abroad.
Today I want to write about them. About the special friendship that happens when you meet someone from your home country or from the region of the world where you understand the cultural nuances, language and traditions.
I have written about this friendship before but never before than through pregnancy and the welcoming of new babies to the group, I felt so happy to have this safety net, this support group that makes me feel that at least when we are together, when we are at each other’s homes, we have a little piece of our Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, and Spain, right here in person and through hugs and uninhibited love.
When I am surrounded by my “Latinas” I’m not afraid to mispronounce things in English, to laugh loudly and love hard, to parent my children without second guessing if certain reactions are socially acceptable. I’m not afraid to be 100% me with my biculturalism and Spanglish.
We simply understand each other’s experiences and fights with the darn voice command functions of cars and phones, which can never seem to get our accents when we speak. We know what it feels to be homesick for a tradition or a food we can’t have and try to keep as much as our culture alive for our children. We know the expectations; the “rules of etiquette” pertaining to each celebration (because boy! It’s hard to know how to act in so many situations at our current home); we kiss and hug and argue and make up; we sigh together thinking about the next time we will be able to see our extended families; and we keep each other company during festivities and the important moments in our lives.
Simply put, they bring out the part of me that goes into hibernation when I’m observing and learning how things work around here.
So the bottom line is: if you live abroad you have to find two kinds of friend; the local ones who teach you to navigate and love the foreign country you are at; and the ones from your country or culture who are also expats and go through the same kinds of socially awkward “adventures” as you learn how to behave in your new habitat.