Some things can't be taught about life as a diplomat's wife until you are two years and two months into your first overseas tour. One of them being how essential good friends are to the expat experience and the second being how very difficult it is to say goodbye to the good friends you make.
I was unbelievably lucky to have two wonderful girlfriends the past two years in Manila. They are two of the reasons I love the Philippines! These are the kind of women one could rely on to help you get through a typhoon in a foreign country or more likely; Greenhills pearl shopping. In my case it was my second pregnancy and life as a new stay-at-home-mom.
These ladies will always be in my life after spending our time together in Manila but, they have both since moved on from post and left me feeling a little lonely. There are just too many random girlfriend-only tid-bits rolling around in my head. Stuff that my husband would not find compelling to listen too on a daily basis. Stuff that my sister or mother back in the States just wouldn't get. All those kiddo notes that we'd compare on sleeping, eating and potty habits. All the second opinions about a swollen bug bite or how to tactfully confront our help with this or that request. All those laughs about the ridiculousness of being an American Mom in the Philippines because if we didn't laugh about it we most certainly would have cried.
These women were my lifelines, my connection to home, my voices of reason when I got a tad looney and two of the sweetest and most inspiring women I've ever met. We spent an inordinate amount of time together sitting on the floor, with our kids and toys strewn around us, chatting through the laughter, tears, snack time, potty breaks and timeouts. Broken conversations were the norm and we thrived on the rejuvenating property they had on us. The kids always came first. Their happiness was our goal. We made lots of Mommy lunch dates that inevitably would be canceled from this or that car trouble, this or that fever, this or that interruption. We had lots of plans that always took a back burner to our life as Moms and wives. How I wish we would have made more time to be together alone.
No one ever told me how essential these type of friendships would be. Not for surviving life overseas, but for truly thriving in it. No one told me how much these women would end up feeling like family and not just friends. No one told me how much I would end up loving their children just as much as I love them. And no one ever could have related to me just how much I would miss these friendships when we had to say goodbye or in the case of the foreign service-see you next time.
I miss you lovely ladies and your beautiful babies too.