Friends & Strangers

"Strangers are just friends waiting to happen." – Rod McKuen, Looking for a Friend

When it comes to friendships, I've always been a big believer in quality over quantity. I've known my best friend, Jen, since the 8th grade (although it wasn't until 9th grade that I decided I liked her!). Over the years there have been ups and downs, as with most friendships, but I would venture to say that we are closer than ever at this point in our lives.

When I first broke the news to Jen that I would be moving to Argentina, she seemed a bit incredulous. She looked at me dejectedly and asked, "But you'll be coming back, right?" I'd recently returned from a four-month stay in Argentina, and we both missed spending time with each other face-to-face. Although neither of us acknowledged it aloud, we both knew that our friendship would be challenged by the 5,500 miles that would some day separate us.

As an expat, I know that in reality the challenge will be two-fold: maintaining my relationships with family and friends back in the U.S. while forging new relationships in Argentina. I have always been an outgoing and sociable person, but building a a new circle of friends in a foreign country will definitely test my mettle. I am extremely fortunate to have the love and support of my boyfriend, Daniel, and his family in Argentina, but those relationships don't replace the need and desire for friendships with other women my age.

Perhaps I am worrying prematurely since I won't be moving abroad for at least a year, yet as time passes and I inch towards making the great leap, these sorts of fears are unavoidable (and normal I suppose). Once in Argentina, I'll just have to focus on turning strangers into friends while ensuring that I don't become a stranger to the friends I already have.

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