I’ve already mentioned recently that I am in the UK with my daughter Thing I while Wifey and Thing II are still in Bangladesh. I’m missing having my family together even though I am enjoying the chance to study in my college library (where I am now writing this!), to drink lots of tea without Wifey frowning at me and, of course, get a few pints in at the local pub; the latter being an important part of being British that I miss.
Whenever I’m away from my family I always start introspectively considering things which can just end up as ‘navel-gazing’. I think what I learn from this is that I feed off people, good people who I can call my friends and that there are none I call my friends as much as my own family.
It feels good to say that and feel blessed that I can.
I like the fact that I think of both my kids as my friends and that I married my best friend. Thing I was reached the stage now where I don’t have to discipline her in order to keep her safe (“hold my hand while we cross the road or you will be grounded”) but now can trust her with most things. The parenting days are rapidly drawing to an end with her which is good because I hate telling anyone off – my own kids or students – so I’m glad it is nearly over.
That said, as I wrote in a previous post, I could have cheerfully throttled her in Delhi airport when she left her handbag back at the toilets. There are still moments when Dad has to be Dad…
But both of them are growing up fast and we seem to like each other’s company, share similar humour (very important for me that) and enjoy similar conversations. I always wanted my kids to be my best friends and, so far, things seem to be on track with that plan.
Wifey, as I said, has been my best friend for a long time and I hope we remain so though I have other ‘best friends’ too depending on the context. I have a school days ‘best friend’ who has been an absolute champion for us all while we’ve lived in Bangladesh. I won’t mention her name but she reads this blog and I know she’ll figure who she is. Just in case she’s in any doubt, I’ll say her three kids are just turning out beautifully and wifey and I find her and her family to be a ‘safe haven’ when we’re back in the UK.
I have numerous other ‘best friends’ and I can’t hope to go through them all: A Swiss guy and Dutch guy, both at LAMB, who I value tremendously; several Bangladeshi friends who it will rip my heart apart to leave at the end of this year; another childhood friend who I call my ‘pebble’ who won’t believe for a moment how special she is but is. Very.
And so on. I’m really blessed.
While I’ve been in the UK, shivering away in my bed at night, I’ve been grateful for the online blogging community which has kept me company in many different ways – responding with comments to my posts, writing posts I have then commented on, or even sending private emails. It is an amazingly friendly community, often between friends who have never met and probably never will. One of these friends has particularly been a godsend to me over the last few days and I’m really grateful for the time, effort and love they have shown. It is amazing where you can find love in the world these days.
All in all, it means I’ve got through this: my time in the UK.
Very soon I’ll be back in Dhaka and back with my family and it will be good to have ‘the team’ all back together again. It doesn’t mean, of course, that all those friends I’ve just mentioned above will suddenly have served their purpose and been dismissed. Not at all. It is when times are down – whether that be real problems of illness, death or crisis, or just sadness at being away from what is comfortable like mine – that friends pull out the stops and rally round. But I don’t take that for granted. I hope all those friends – and every friend reading this now – feels I’m giving something back. I certainly try and certainly intend to.
But not everything. Some things are reserved strictly for my budding writer-girl, my budding electric guitarist-boy and my ever tea-frowning companion who puts up with more of me than you lot will ever have to.
God help her.