Monday, May 31, 2010

The first time someone came to live with me.....

Ahh... I have a quiet moment when the hubster doesn't want the computer and I can actually write in peace. I'm surrounded by boxes and I'm thankful for this memorial day to pack and clean, since I'll be working all the way through mid-day Saturday day when our move is already under way AND Isaac's family will be in town visiting. It looks like it'll be a crazy week.

On Saturday I met for coffee with my friend Emily. Afterward as I was reflecting on our unique friendship, it got me thinking about how I was raised in ways that made me more likely to consider something like living with roommates like we are now.

When I was a senior in high school, my little sister's friend Ari came to live with us for a year because her parents had moved to work in the boonies where there was no school. Halfway through the same year, a girl I knew in the US, Emily, came to live with us for six months. It left us with a household of 10 people. Luckily we were living in an old dorm, because that's essentially what we were! It's really those times that made me think that concept of a physical 'home" and "family" is a flexible term that is often more fun when opened to include more people!

Emily and I met on the first day of public school in Wichita, Kansas. I was a new and terrified missionary kid. She was a new and bubbly/outgoing kid who had been home schooled up until that year. We met in line and became fast friends. After that year, though, we lost touch. Her dad was a business man and they moved every few years, so I have no idea how they found a way to get back in contact with my parents and come up with the idea of Emily coming to live with us nearly four years after we first met, and three years since we'd seen each other. Since she'd moved so much she wasn't tied to her school, and she and her parents were totally up for her having an overseas experience.

And so... midway through our senior year, she showed up. It's amazing she made it - she and her traveling companion (another girl coming to live with a family and joining our class) missed their flight in the capital city and were stuck in the airport for two days in a country they'd never been to and didn't speak the language. Haha... I laugh when I think about how terrifying that is... and how at the time I thought it was no big deal. Poor Em. I had no idea how much culture shock she was going through. Just one week after arriving our school packed up for our annual high school trip into the villages on the interior of the island. Going from suburbia America to this in just a couple of weeks:

That man was dancing and chanting around our little plane when we landed, bow and arrow in hand. Em's jaw dropped and her eyes got really big.... haha, seriously, it's so funny to think of now. She was such a trooper and despite her culture shock, she loved it and dove in... hiking and digging wells in feet of mud and eating sago grubs raw.

When I look back I realize what a unique position she was in. She was with me, living in my world, in my last few months there. I was POURING my life into my last time with my friends, and honestly I think she was so patient and forgiving. I'm an introvert, I think it took the time and daily rhythm of living life together for us to bond, and then bond we did, partly because she didn't demand it. We would spend 30 minutes "brushing our teeth" in the bathroom having conversations about God and friends and boys and dreams. I drove her to school and back on my motorbike, a somewhat terrifying prospect at first. We got to go to Australia on our senior trip together, we did beach trips and hikes and ....

We ended up having SO MUCH FUN.

We were both friends with the guys in our class, and between those friendships, my fun family, and the fact that we were both eligible single girls, we ended up being the hang out spot almost every night for  a guy or two from our class.

It was so much fun so we egged on the situation - we made milkshakes, had pizza parties, gave back rubs, sat on our trampoline and watched the stars, and did a lot of teasing. Eventually we about died when we found out at the same time that the boys we liked both liked us back.... and later at the same time realized we were saying goodbye and nothing was going anywhere.

I love love love that Em became a part of my family then - that they all call her Emmy Sue for no reason, and that she loves them like I do. Here we are with my grad gift from the family - a beautiful hand-stitched quilt made partly with Indonesian batik, embroidered with my name and grad date. It's beautiful.

Actually when I think of my family/childhood home, it's very much like that picture - in that living room, with my immediate family plus additions (be it Em and/or Ari and/or Anthony etc.. etc... etc...).   It feels content, bustling, fun, and surrounded by love. I'm SO thankful for that year, and for my parent's willingness to open their arms to other house guests.

And I'm thankful for Emily. We have an odd friendship that seems to reconnect about every four years for a while. I'm glad for those times of reconnection. :)


cclarebear said...

she was a trooper! what's she up to now, do you know?

Kacie said...

She lives right here in Dallas with me! Okay not with me, but not so far away. She got married the month we moved in, and we got back in touch just in time for us to attend. Then we didn't see each other for another year, mostly because neither one of us had a car. This year we've done a little better and we're now trying to get together once a month for coffee.