me and Diane
melissa, cheryl and me...(melissa is on your right and cheryl on your left)
So I have just experienced my first Doha loss.... and it is dawning on me that this is just the first of many...
Living in an expat community bonds are formed, tight and deep, very fast. I think this is for a couple of reasons. One, everyone is in the same boat...far from home, family and friends. Far from everything familiar and safe. So in order to regain some feeling of home and safety you reach out to people who "remind you" of people you have known. Gather around each other... safety in numbers. And if you feel close to those around you you feel protective as well as protected. More so than even at home with the best of friends.
And two...the knowledge that time here is finite. People come here for work and when the contract is up, or some before, they pack up and head home or to the next destination.
It seems I came in just as most contracts are coming due. I have quite a few people whom I have come to think of as my support system here who are reviewing their options...to renew or to go...
One left the other day. And as I have only known him a short time we became good friends. The other friends I have here I have known even longer(in my whole two and 1/2 months)...and as this is my first goodbye here it is hard...and I can only imagine that the next few will be even harder. Strange really. I have alway been able to just pick up and go...knowing that I can always go back, so the goodbyes don't sting as much. But living the expat life...when you say goodbye you never know if you are going to see that person again....although I hope that the friendships I have made here so far and have yet to make will not only be lifelong in thought but also in practice. But you never know. It's tough to have friends located all over the world and get a chance to see them...
I started to think about my time in Nepal the other day. I had made a friend by the name of Sharad Thapta. We met at JFK heading for New Dehli. He was on the plane with us and we offered him free passage through to Nepal if he would be willing to translate for us and generally be our guide. He and I became very close friends very fast...as only teenagers can do.
We left him in DillyBazzar...heading towards an unknown future, an angry family and an unwanted bride. He left me with his blue striped shirt as a token of our friendship.
We never spoke again...a letter did find me many many years later...I tried to reply but am almost sure he never got the letters I sent him. I still have that shirt. In fact it's here in Doha with me.
Although he and I never spoke again his friendship has shaped a part of who I am. It is lifelong. Even if not in practice.