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  • groovyrlm

Know Thyself

Last Wednesday morning (Sept 7) I spent an hour talking with Deborah Dehab. I took her webinar course, “How to Prepare Your Scouting Trip for Success” and part of that is an hour of conversation. One thing I asked her was about making friends. I wondered if I would be able to make friends not only with other expats, but with Portuguese folks as well. Instead of an answer like, “Sure, the Portuguese people are extremely friendly!” or “Hmmm, that could be difficult”, she said, “First you need to think about what you mean when you say “friend”.

I was tempted to kind of skip over that. I mean, I went to Camp Occoneechee. Our very

symbol means “friendship”. But she said more, and I thought more and now I’ve really been thinking more. Coincidental with this conversation, I just spent several days in the mountains with some of my closest friends. What makes them “closest”?

I’ve known these women since the early/mid 1970’s. They are part of the very fabric of who I am. We know where we all come from. We know secrets (in as much as our memories allow!). I would do anything any of them needed. I know I can count on them for the same. We have stories that still make us roll with laughter. When I need to vent, I can go to them and they to me. I guess I’d have to say that they are the inner circle.

There are some other folks in the inner circle. I may or may not have known them as long, but we’ve got each other’s backs. We can talk about joys and sorrows. We ACCEPT each other and love each other.

There really can be a lot involved in the making of a friend. Have you ever met someone and just knew you'd be friends? Have you met other people who seemed to take an instant dislike to you and you to them? What is that about? What's at the core of a friendship? Is it just soul speaking to soul? Does there need to be a certain number or types of things in common? Do I need to go this far into thinking about this? Not sure. But there seems to be definite benefit to contemplating friends and friendship at least a little.

I thought at first about the layers of onions. Inner to outer. But that really

doesn’t capture the truth, at least for me. I have high school friends and college friends and APO friends and church friends and work friends and neighbors/former neighbors and, well we get the idea, right? What are your circles/groups of friends? What defines them? Is it just a single commonality? My circles definitely intersect and overlap.

Then there are the Facebook friends. If you look at who these folks are. Does anything strike you? How often do you actually talk to the people on the FB friends list? I’m just curious and thinking about that for myself.

What does any of this mean about making friends in Portugal? So Deborah told me that the Portuguese, like many Europeans, tend to stay put. They don’t leave where they grew up. Generations of family are frequently together. Often, these family members are also their closest friends. Because of that they don’t think of things like taking cookies to a new neighbor. Not, she said, that they are opposed to making other friends. Maybe they haven't had a need to, like, go out of their way to make friends. It just more happens naturally and with less effort maybe?

You, my friends, here in the states, will continue to be very important to me even after we move. It’s only a 5-hour time difference. I expect to talk, Zoom, and have you come visit!

To make friends in Portugal, I believe I will need to pay a lot more attention to what is going on around me, learn as much Portuguese as I can, be open to friendships that start differently and may have layers of closeness that are different from what I’m used to. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t all make me nervous. But it’s also exciting. I’d love to see/hear discussion of this topic and invite comments!


Please stay tuned! Love ya lots!

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