Saturday, May 26, 2007

Port in the Storm

When you think the feeling of loneliness couldn’t get to heights, it’s when your friends up and leave for another country that your world starts to shrink quicker than you care to accept. I now find my world rapidly shrinking, but conveniently with more ports in the storm across the globe.

Ironically at a farewell party at a popular bar in Melbourne’s CBD, I was told by some close friends, that they were moving to London by 2008. The news, although not surprising by any stretch, made me think about the recent movements by other friends. Here I was, at a farewell party for someone who was moving to Japan (not the first time a friend had moved to the land of the rising sun). A month ago, another couple I know announced they were moving to London this August, while another close female friend announced she was seriously considering moving to Fiji. In addition to these announcements, I already have a married couple who live in Los Angeles, a married couple who live in Toronto and a gay couple who live in Milan.

It seems my immediate world is getting smaller, but my worldwide accommodation options are progressively getting wider. So how do you handle these changes in your life and does the dynamic change? The change is difficult, particularly if those people who are leaving to seek new adventures in another country are your closest friends. This was the situation which happened to me a few years back, when, in the space of a few months, there was me and one other friend left in Melbourne while the rest of our circle were scattered across the globe.

After one friend up and moved to Toronto to marry his Canadian girlfriend, it was only a matter of time when two girlfriends traveled across Europe then relocated to Montréal. This was closely followed by another friend who moved to Toronto for work and another friend migrated to his native Spain to live there for a while. While everyone moved overseas, another friend moved interstate, to the Top End nonetheless, with her boyfriend at the time.

Within a matter of weeks, all that was left in Melbourne was me and a friend. What were we to do? We were friends, but not necessarily close. But as time went by, the two of us made the best of the situation and as a result our friendship grew stronger. Although we didn’t spend every waking moment together, we did spend more time together than we would have otherwise. Eventually most friends found their way back to Melbourne and the group grew in size again. But it wasn’t the same, everyone was different and we were back at Square One, the group dynamic had to be recreated. We had our experiences here in Melbourne, they had their international experiences.

Now I find myself in a similar situation, and although I have a greater network of friends now, I have to wonder if the dynamics will change once they all come back home. I guess they will. But at least for the time that they are away, I will a port in the storm when I next make an international sojourn to Europe, North America or Asia. Hope they have a bed ready!

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