The rule I started out with for this list was nothing could be replicable in the US. So I should explain why
#2 our friends
I have puzzled over this one a little. Our friends here aren’t better than our friends in the US, just different. But how? Or more interesting to me, why?
It must be this shared experience. This foreign life. This international living. (As a side note, we have British friends. And we got better at making them over the years. But even friendships with people far more local to their roots than us, are friendships still formed and experienced through our vantage point of being from elsewhere. They still then have a special hue.)
Many of the people we’ve met and love chose to live in London from all points a way’s away, far, and very, very far. That diversity and affirmative life choice alone make the person already something specific. What’s the right adjective?
I don’t know. I just know every shared meal, every conversation, every jointly traveled trip, every holiday celebrated, every rescue mission completed … felt different. Heightened.
Our friends came over, invited us to theirs, found bands and concerts, laid out picnics, taught us about Sauternes, printed Hagaddahs, moved our shit, moved our shit again, listened, laughed, judged not-too-harshly, picked the best themes, lent, paid for manicures, gave sartorial suggestions, took the piss, reconfigured, downloaded, uploaded, traded, bought, picked us up in Zipcars, picked us up in taxis, picked us up in a car service, brought back from IKEA, brought over for the fridge, grilled our favorite, baked our favorite, bought our favorite, met us on corners and at the cinema and by the bus stop and in fancy lunch spots and in not-so-fancy Korean joints and at the mall and at the high street, explained, deflected, brought the right converter, remembered the cups, tipped us off to the right hairdresser and dentist and GP and consultant and suit store, sent links, lent their flats, hosted, threw, deliberated, humored, listened, posited, taught, taught, taught, taught, taught and said yes.
Loved our kids. More than we knew friends could. Like their own if they had one. Threw baby showers and visited the hospital and did things behind the scenes and babysat and oh my gosh, babysat so much, and held and fed and gave a break and a rest and brought food and minded and knew, just always seemed to know, and taught, fed and stared and stared and stared with love and teared up and came over in a crisis. And were emergency contacts.
When you live abroad you still need an emergency contact.