Friendships: Old and New

Keeping friendships alive and being open to new ones is something I’ve learned much about since living in New Zealand. Over the past ten years I have had a series of valued and beloved friends. I have a habit of being drawn to people who are destined to be life-time travelers and so, after a few years of friendship, the time comes for them to move on.

It’s always a blow to lose a good friend, but one must go on and not wallow in self-pity at the loss. I am always happy for a friend when their decision to move is of their own desire and when they are filled with excitement at the prospect of a new chapter in their lives.

Recently one of my ‘constants’, a friend who’ll always be close in my heart, departed these shores. I met her when I first arrived in New Zealand and have shared in her joy of marriage, buying her first home and the birth of her three children. She is the youngest of a number of siblings and, as I am the oldest in my family, we shared a special bond. She was like a big sister to me and I was like her little sister. She shared with me her natural magic for motherhood and was always there to guide me. Her children were like family to me and like cousins to my children. We miss them deeply, but will look forward to meeting again and thanks to today’s technology it is easy to remain in touch.

I spend so much time communicating with people that have touched my life. Naturally I enjoy the exchange of friendship in person more than any other channel, but increasingly I spend time on the Internet and telephone with friends and family.

On a day to day basis we all need real human contact too and I have my children to thank for giving me the means to ensure this is kept alive (when they leave home I’ll have to get a dog!). I am blessed to meet so many wonderful people in my outings with the children, through which new friendships blossom.

A recent encounter in the playground has led to the beginning of just such a friendship with Marrisa, Michael and their delightful daughter, Bethany. They are newcomers to New Zealand, from the UK. Here Charlotte and Bethany share some fun at Wellington Zoo: