My friends are always surprising and delighting me. It may be a discovery that we just share an unexpected love of a certain series of books. Yi-May and I were work colleagues. One day in the tearoom we discovered that we had both read (and kept on reading) the Chalet School series. She was brought up in Singapore and me in Melbourne, and we shared a love for boarding school stories and jolly times. We both still do that and have recently discovered a joint passion for the Moomintroll books. We speak in a secret Chalet School code about Joey Bettany and Tiernsee, we
break out in 1930s slang(Tophole!) and discuss what it means to be a real Chalet School girl.
I first knew Therese as a high-flying fashion designer in Hong Kong. We used to talk about clothes and shoes and celebs-over drinks in Lan Kwai Fong. Now we chat about growing tomatoes, dogs, compost and her chooks as we drink numerous cups of tea. Therese is a blogger and a photographer. Her hands may be dirtier and her designer clothes are at the back of her wardrobe, but she is happier and more fulfilled than she ever was. Watch this video of Therese and her chooks.
My friend, Ella James left the comfort of Sydney, moved to Los Angeles and is living the life of a stand-up comedian, doing voice over work and acting in short films. Ella has been in the entertainment industry for decades, yet she knew there was more out there for her, she just had to go and find it. If you had told me years ago that Ella would appear on Conan O’Obrien I would have laughed in your face.
Darcy and I met at a hostel in London a couple of decades ago. She lives in the U.S and I thought I knew what she was all about. She’s a mum of two, a Deadhead, a keen Pinterester and a huge fan of Nick Cave. Yet, until this morning I didn’t know Darcy could sing. Her husband posted a video of Darcy and her friend Bill giving a musical performance in someone’s backyard. Darcy’ voice is sweet and glorious. She used to jam with friends in Maine and when she moved to Pennsylvania she missed her music so much she advertised on Craig’s List, and found her people.
Peter and I went to university together, shared a love of Hunters and Collectors and Midnight Oil. A few years ago Peter had an accident and is a quadriplegic. Pete’s indomitable spirit, stubbornness and yes, bravery has seen him through this. Plus the love and support of Melissa who believed in him and encouraged him every way possible. Life is not the same for him/for them, but it is life and he is achieving and kicking goals in every way he can.
I guess the point of this is to reflect on embracing difference (not everyone will admit that they lived a series of antiquated kids’ books) change (reinvention from past lives) and bravery (to get out of the comfort zone and to step off that ledge)
In my own life, my decision to leave the safe world of local government to the life of a freelance writer was fraught with uncertainty. Yet in the past eighteen months, I have met my tribe in my writing course, been challenged in a good way, and have encountered yet another kindred spirit who also loves Moomintrolls!
How have your friends surprised you?