Monday, July 21, 2008

Friends, friendship and all that fluffy stuff

'A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself' (Frank Crane)

This week I've been thinking a lot about friendship. It all started with going to watch the Sex and the City movie at the Odeon Theatre which screens English speaking movies in Florence. I had been looking forward to seeing the movie for a long time but always envisaged I'd be going in a group of close girlfriends and having cocktails well into the night to discuss the juicy bits (ok that's a lie, us 30 something year olds would have probably gone for a green tea afterwards and then fallen into bed at 10pm) Oh, and we'd all be wearing our stilettos and then complain about our backs hurting the next morning.

So, I felt a little awkward as I sauntered up to the theatre alone. Actually more like hobbled up to it as I was wearing my completely impractical (but cute) stillettos and they just did not agree with the Italian cobblestone roads that have not been repaired probably for longer than Australia has been a recognised country.

Husband kindly offered to come with me, but I rejected his sweet gesture as I didn't want him to be the only male in the theatre. In actual fact there were two single guys there. This is Italy so I'm not sure whether they were there to actually see the movie or they were very opportunistic and smart enough to work out the cinema would be full of females presumably looking for their own 'Mr Big'.

Anyway, after the movie (which is a lot about friendship, in case you haven't seen it) I slowly walked home and realised I was in a sad mood. Just like in a tissue grabbing chick flick, I started to notice all the girlfriends out on the town together, laughing and sharing life together. They were even laughing in slow motion like in the movies.

I really missed my friends in Australia. Like, I REALLY missed them at that point. Not only my female girlfriends but also my male work colleagues, our friends that Jason worked with and of course our family. I still speak to them on email daily and the phone weekly, but nothing beats sitting together with your closest girlfriends for a cup of tea and a gossip...I mean intellectual 30 year old conversation about politics, the health crisis and ummm stuff like that.

Last week my old friend Simone arrived in Florence with her husband. When I say old I mean as in we have known each other for a long time. Not old as in her age as that would mean I'm old too. Which I'm not, you know. In fact, a clothes store owner told me I looked too young to be married this week. If only I hadn't worked in advertising sales for four years I would have believed her instead of thinking she was just using the old compliment tactic to try to sell me something. Been there, done that. But just in case she was being honest and I really do look too young to be married (yeah right), I'm telling you that MAC eye concealer is worth it's weight in gold. Anyway I digress.

Simone and I were destined to be friends ever since our maiden surnames were both towards the end of the alphabet and our homeroom teacher sat us near each other in year nine high school. We've shared a lot in our lives and although we hadn't seen each other for a few years, we slipped back into our comfortable ways with each other and joked about 'the good old days' when I easily worked three jobs, went to university, partied til 3am and never seemed to feel tired. Our respective husbands had a blank look at some of our 'you had to be there' jokes.

I also have my 'old' friend Simone to thank for introducing me to my now-husband as she was the one that yelled over the loud night club music to say 'I've found the cutest guy in here, you HAVE to meet him'. Much to my protests (I was in a man hating stage of my life) I met him and the rest they say is history...Italian history now. By the way, my husband himself will protest when he reads this as his story is that HE found ME in the nightclub. But since he doesn't have a blog and I do, this is the story you must believe.

In my life I've always been surrounded by friends. In Australia I had so many friends, work colleagues and family always around me that I had no time for myself. That was fine as I hated being alone. My life was always one big rush and I never actually stopped from the time I awoke to the time I went to sleep.

Here in Italy I don't have as many close friends and for the first time in my life, I have learnt to enjoy my own company and to just be still and quiet. It's actually harder to do than you think. At first I confused my feelings with loneliness, but in actual fact I now have learnt to appreciate the quiet times where I can feel at peace, hum a song, pray or just think about life. I hope that when I go back to Australia and get into the daily grind of working a job and busying up my life again, I will still find that quiet time.

I'm enjoying this peaceful stage of my life but I also look forward to the day when I return home and have my coffee dates with my friends. It won't be a date filled with the strong aroma of real Italian coffee and it won't be in a terrace overlooking the Ponte Vecchio, but it will be a sweet feeling to have my friends physically around me again where I can hug them and tell them how much I've missed them.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I know what you mean. I saw the movie in English here in Rome and wish I was with my friends.

I don't think I will ever move back to the States. My quality of life here is much better. I don't miss America but I do miss my family and my friends.

Anonymous said...

OK now you're really convincing me I have to visit Florence sometime soon....I'm working on it!
Love Rhonda

erin :: the olive notes said...

Love the doesn't even look like the real colors b/c it's so bright!

Isn't that movie great?!? I saw it my first week back with some girlfriends, and you're really is a 'friendship' movie. That was the one thing we really missed while in Italy - our tight group of friends here.

Slowly, a new community was growing there, but too bad we couldn't stay longer to cultivate it more...we'll be back though, and thank goodness for email :)

Anonymous said...

what a great picture of you and your friend!

good for you for taking time to appreciate and enjoy alone time...I often times lose sight of how important it is!

Leanne in Italy said...

I too am a fellow Aussie living in Italy (From Melbourne living in Rome)and I too was telling my boyfriend just the other night that we don't really have many friends here... We have some but not like heaps and not friends that you have known for years (well impossible as I have not been here for many years.)

Nice to find your blog!

Sue said...

Great post! It reminded me of friends I miss too, and some are just right around the corner!

Anonymous said...


I really enjoyed reading your blog.
Cheers for sharing it with me.
I look forward to that coffee...