In Which We Cling To The Lifeboat…

The arrival of the Doctor and Amy signalled a period of mutual support and encouragement as we all slowly adapted to our new surroundings and the challenges they brought.

Amy is what I would describe as a force of nature; a person apparently at ease in any social situation although I think to put her in the company of The Pope might be to encourage a comedy of epic proportions.

She and the Doctor are superficially different to each other and yet are very alike when the surface is scratched. They complement each other well; yin and yang, I think the phrase is.

I knew instantly that they would get on well with Mr and Mrs S, and their friendship has proved to be a strong and dependable one based primarily on an appreciation for the need to laugh at themselves and, more importantly, each other.

I am, by nature, a person who does not trust people easily. I am honest, loyal and trustworthy but I am also stubborn and very unforgiving, if you prove unworthy of the trust I eventually place in you.

If you don’t believe me on this, just ask the collection of little voodoo dolls that I keep in a shoebox on the top shelf of my wardrobe. (I’m kidding, of course. I don’t keep voodoo dolls in a shoebox… I really keep them in an old biscuit tin. Beware if I ever try to pull your hair out, that’s all I’m saying).

These personality traits (I won’t call them faults, as they have served me well many times) do not make for the bonds of easy friendship to develop.

The Husband has observed many times that moving to a new country and establishing friendships there with other emigrants is rather like throwing random people into a lifeboat together and then watching the proceedings develop. They will initially cling to each other for mutual support and have no choice but to trust more quickly than they would usually choose to.

Eventually, each one will chance the uncharted waters around them, increasingly finding the seas less daunting. They will leave the lifeboat and start to swim for shore. When they reach it they will all start to feel more secure, putting down their roots and relying on each other less and less.

This phase of Lifeboat Life can sometimes prove to be demanding and traumatic. Everyone is looking to people that they don’t know that well for emotional strength, practical help and a mutual understanding of the turbulence that emigration engenders.

However, today I am delighted that these friendships have stood the test of time. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to place my hard-won trust in these fellow human beings, and been rewarded with relationships that respect the rights of privacy whilst enjoying each others’ company. The ability to make each other laugh when it seems impossible to even smile. The emotional intelligence to either be there or not be there depending on the circumstances.

These building blocks of friendship
are precious, and those of us who have managed to construct them with any kind of balance and only one or two wobbles along the way should be grateful.

Grateful that people we would never otherwise have met have been there to wipe away tears, collect children in emergencies, cook a meal in times of illness, lend an ear in times of concern.

These people are not our families, they owe us nothing in life. And yet in my case, they have proved themselves to be there time and again, and for that I feel truly blessed.

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