Treasure Hunting, Anyone?

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As I tugged along my 18 month old baby in my arms, I sighed a heave of relief on stepping upon the expansive shores of the Golden Coast safely.

I was anxious about travelling with a toddler for the past several months. It was the first international flight experience for both of us and I was praying everything would go smoothly. And it did! No toddler tantrums, no crying and wailing, no lost travel documents, baby and me, no missed flights! Everything on point! Finally, we were here in California! All safe and sound! In one piece!

My heart leapt when I saw my husband waiting for us as we arrived. Here I was managing the luggage cart on one hand and keeping a watchful eye on my hyperactive toddler on the other hand.

My husband was thrilled to see us as he was living alone for the last 4 months. My daughter immediately sprung into his arms and kept narrating all about her daily ritual to him in her toddler language – ´Bath-Wataahh-Shoap-Shampoo-Poo-Poo´ with animated gestures and extrapolated expressions. My husband and I exchanged glances as we smiled in silent unison.  It was just the three of us as a family in a foreign land.

When he left for office the next morning, I heard a knock on my door. I opened and saw a woman who introduced herself as the spouse of my husband´s friend. I let her in my house that day and later in my heart forever! A Kannadiga Brahmin lady!  She was my first friend in California. Soon, she introduced me to the Indian community within the apartment complex and we all got acquainted to each other.

Living abroad has it own charm and perks. In the six years of my stay there, I have had a diverse range of friends – from the Indian diaspora itself and beyond. There was no one type for me. I could blend with a Kannadiga Brahmin with as much ease as with a Palestinian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Gujrati, Tamilian or Pakistani.

There was so much to learn from all of them. What I learnt was that underneath all that racial and cultural diversity lay similar human emotions that bonded us despite the obvious differences!

I listened to fascinating childhood stories from Palestine and the conflict with Israel from my dearest Palestine friend´s narrative as we broke and ate some home-baked buns. It was a spectacular experience being friends with a spunky, vivacious 50 year old woman and mother of 4 children who wore tank tops, mini skirts and drove her SUV like a dude. I slurped on the most heartwarming Vietnamese soups as my Oriental friend poured out her thoughts and heart to me. I will never forget our last day before we parted. She narrated a touching poem in Vietnamese to me and translated it in English, word by word, line after line! I drew the Catholic connections and traditions that I shared with my Mexican friend finding statues of the Virgin Mother Mary and The Holy Rosary displayed across her bedroom walls. I couldn´t help thinking how similarly decorated my mother´s home was back in India.

In the six years of our stay, we moved and shifted cities, states and finally returned to our homeland, India. What this meant was heartbreak time always when it came to muttering the dreaded word -´Goodbye´. There were tears, farewells, hugs, gifts exchanged and a nagging question at the back of our minds about the future status of our relationship.

When we moved to Wisconsin, it was a wholly radical change from sunny California. I found a wonderful set of bubbly, kind and cheery friends all over again. There was love, conversations, memories made and laughter, lots of them! When it was time to move back to India, it was the same story of tears, hugs, kisses, farewells, gifts and the doubt of the future of our relationship. It was heartbreaking to say the least. I did not want to part and I kept thinking on my flight way back home, ´Would I fit in and find such a wonderful mix of people with wholehearted acceptance and this much fun again?´

What I quickly discovered was that my fears were completely unfounded. I met so many new wonderful (and few ´not-so-wonderful´, actually terrible) people in this one year that have put all my unfounded fears to rest.

But the most important discovery was this! True friendship never dies! I met an old friend from college after a decade recently and it seemed like we had never parted at all. Nothing has changed at all between us. In fact, it has gotten better like fine, aged wine! We have our next generation of children as thick friends just like us . And, its been exactly the same case with my other old friends. Nothing has changed despite the time and distance between us in those ín-between´years.

My friends in America keep coming back to my mind often. And, while it brings a sense of sadness that I cannot meet them in ´flesh and bone´ all the time like I could, it leaves me with joy and a sense of gratitude as well – ´Of meeting them, knowing them and always having their friendship forever.´

People don´t remember what you said or did. But, they remember how you made them feel.These wonderful friends have always made me feel at home and like family. And, for that reason alone, I feel a huge surge of gratitude for them. You don´t need to explain anything to your friends. They understand you. Period!

Saving the best treasure for the last!  I met my best friend on 5th August, Friendship´s Day. My eternal lover and dearest husband, Ryan! It is a nice coincidence for sure! Many people have asked me how I met my husband and my answer always is this – ´Divine Intervention´. It most definitely is! Like all the other friends who have come into my life. I firmly believe is by some unexplained (I would choose to simplify it by calling it Divine) intervention or conspiracy.

Friends come in all shapes, sizes, genders and hearts. All we need to do is hunt for these gems. It is a fun activity..this treasure hunt! The only thing to bear in mind before you embark on an adventurous treasure hunt is this wonderful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson –

´The only way to have a friend is to be a friend.´

‘I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6

 #writetribe #writebravely  #Friendship

21 comments

    • Hi Mayuri! Firstly, very Happy Friendship´s Day and a warm welcome to my blog. Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed this read! I absolutely love my friends and what better time to celebrate them than Friendship´s Day! Love and Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is such a wonderful post dear Tina. Though I have never lived abroad save the 2-3 month old trips I have moved to different cities in India and I always like this thing about moving around, meeting new people, having some warm fuzzy memories to cherish for a lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Akshata! Firstly, Happy Friendship´s Day and a warm welcome to my blog. So thrilled to see you like and comment, my dear! Living abroad is a ´must-do´experience at least once in a life-time, I feel! Yes, India itself is a melting pot of so many different cultures and sub-cultures. Absolutely…Do ping me when you come over to Hyderabad. Would love to meet you. Love and Hugs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina, this post surely comes at the right time. I have made some really wonderful friends after I moved to Mumbai too . Made wonderful friends like you whom I haven’t met but there is some bond , some connect which I cherish. Surely friends are true treasures and also the time we spend with them.

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    • Hi Aesha! Firstly, Happy Friendship´s Day! Somehow God brings in the right people at the right time. So nice and sweet to hear…Absolutely…what are we without friends…they add that spark in your life. Mumbai is a fun city …am sure you will find many like-minded people there. Love and Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sheetal! Firstly, very Happy Friendship´s Day and a warm welcome to my blog. So glad to know that you loved this read. Thank you so much! Keep stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Love and Hugs!

      Like

  3. Hi Tina, first time on your blog and it’s a delight to read about the blessings you have in disguise of friends. I’m told a very few of us are lucky to have found good friends.
    I have also had the most amazing friends who have been my anchor in life’s journey.
    Love the picture. For a moment I thought your post was about treasures you collected while beach combing 😀

    My WTFOW post:
    https://natashamusing.com/2017/08/precious-treasure-writetribe-writingbravely/

    Like

    • Hey Natasha! Firstly, very Happy Friendship´s Day and a warm welcome to my blog. Its so delightful to have you in here. Absolutely, true friends are the real deal or treasure ..beginning with one´s spouse! Real success lies in how many hearts you’ve touched and genuine love you have in your life. Hahahaha! Yes, chose that because the best treasures are free and priceless like true friends :). Keep visiting, Natasha! Love and Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy friendship day, Tina. I so so loved this post- every bit of it, be it the wonderful quotes or the anecdotes! Here’s to a great start to the challenge!

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  5. A very delightful post Tina, Friendship is a treasure truly. I have come to understand that very special relationship we have with our friends – especially women. There are things we cannot directly speak with our immediate family yet casually do so with friends. I strongly believe every grown woman has to have a group with whom she can share her mind without any boundaries.

    Like

    • Hi Ramya! A new place offers so much to learn…especially if you are abroad. It has broadened my thought process for sure and I have learnt so much from people from other cultures. I am sure you are enjoying the whole experience. Keep reading. Love and Cheers!

      Like

  6. I read your posts twice Tina. I loved your journey from India till a foreign land and back to India. Indeed we meet new people, we part ways and we meet new again. It’s life. What matters is how much we value our relations and friendship at distance also. Lovely read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rakhi! Wow! So glad you enjoyed this read. Absolutely, it is how much we value relations and the people in our lives. Thank you so much for the appreciation and sharing your wonderful thoughts. Love and God Bless!

      Like

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