Sunday, May 27, 2007

what is a friend?

This past weekend I was invited by a friend of mine to afternoon tea at her house. She invited me along w/ Naief to come and visit w/ her and her two sons, and two of our other girlfriends. She's also married to a Bahraini guy, as well as one of our other friends... so it's nice because there's a common thread that binds up, so to speak.

Like I said, she has two sons, one aged 5 and the other is 18 mths. They are so adorable on one hand but a handful on the other. Our other friend brought her son whose a bit older, and since he loves to play w/ the other two, the house was filled w/ energy until it was time to go. I got a true sense of what it's like to have little boys.... or maybe just kids that age because the house never stopped. And... I liked it.

Can't say that I would have felt this way years ago when I didn't want to have kids. I could hardly stand to be around kids that age because they usually drove me nuts.... but I don't know... yesterday it was different. You just don't realize how children can change you until you have them.

Anyway... to my original point.

I guess it's been probably a good 8 yrs since I've had a group of girlfriends.... girls I can talk to, gossip with, laugh with, and just enjoy being around. When I worked full-time in Dallas, I had several good girlfriends and we'd go out on the weekends, have dinner together and such, but since moving to Bahrain - and even before then really - I haven't felt that closeness. I didn't realize how much I missed it until yesterday.

I met these women last year at a friend's BBQ. I lucked into meeting one of the girls... actually it was completely by chance that we even spoke. She and her husband were at a book signing for a friend of ours and she asked me when I was due. I didn't even know her... but her husband knew my husband, so I guess we were bound to meet at some point. She was the first person to ever really talk to me about my pregnancy and it was nice to have someone around my age that was friendly and interesting. It was at this book signing that she invited me and the hubby to a BBQ at their house.

And this is what started the friendships.

When I had the baby... they came and visited me at the hospital... and were so loving and caring when I broke down that afternoon after they asked how I was feeling. I still wonder why you get so weepy after having a baby. I know it's the hormones and I understand it... but it's just weird how easily it happens... as if you have no control whatsoever over anything emotional.

Their house was just lovely. So roomy... big enough for her oldest son to ride his bike inside the house, if you can believe it. I loved it. I told hubby that I'd love to move to Sa'ar. I really enjoy that part of Bahrain. It seems different there and it's soooo quiet. Here at our house we have cars passing at every hour of the day. Not to mention the two prostitutes that live in the apts across the way that keep unbelievable hours. And then the families that live in those apts... I've never seen families that stay out so late w/ little bitty children. They come home in the wee hours of the morning - during the week - I guess not thinking or really caring that their children have to get up and go to school the next day.

Anyway... I got a load of things to bring home w/ me after our day was done. My girlfriend that hosted the tea sent me home with a push toy for Naief... he'll just love that when he gets old enough to walk, as well as some hand-me-down clothes, which I love and was raised doing w/ all of my family (so it felt very homey), and many other goodies.

You know... this is how I am and I am so happy that I have new friends that are the same. I've always been this way w/ one of my sisters - we exchange shoes and clothes, perfume, jewelry - a little of everything really - and when she found out I was pregnant, she sent me all of her maternity clothes... which, btw, had been used by a few of her friends. Some of you might frown knowing that or would never think of using hand-me-downs... but I love them. My sister got so tickled when she'd see pics of me wearing the things she had sent... and I enjoyed wearing them because it brought me closer to her because I'm so far away.

So... when my girlfriend gave me some of her son's clothes yesterday... I felt a kinship to her and it felt really nice. I loved opening the bag today to see all the stuff she put inside. Maybe one day I can do the same for someone.

Well.. that was my day yesterday. Oh yeah, Naief was so good. He was so behaved and didn't cry the entire time we were there. He's at the age now that he really enjoys looking at ppl and watching his surroundings, so he got a kick outta the kids and w/ it being so busy there.


bint battuta said...

Um Naief, this post is nice - I've been slowly developing my network of female friends here, too, after a long period when most of my social circle seemed to be male. And you know, I was thinking I would like to meet you sometime... If you're interested, just get my email from my profile page and drop me a line. It would be nice to meet in person!

Anonymous said...

it is amazing how does the way we look into kids! I know many ladies whose attitude towards kids changed after having their own babies

Sunshine Down Under said...

i totaly know what you mean about friends.. i miss having my network of friends when im in melbourne, as theyr all back home.. so for the 3 glorious months im back it feels very good to have my girls to talk to, go out with..

Gardens of Sand said...

Um Naief, I second bint battuta's remark, this really is a nice post. Having close friends, goes a long way of making Bahrain feel a little like home.

It is something I miss terribly. I have been in the US (for school) on and off for the past 7 yrs and I have yet to develop close female friendships. The only close friends I have are ones I know from Bahrain.

I love reading posts about Naief. I will add your blog to my links (if I can figure out how!!)

Puppy said...

Um Naief,

Have you heard about energy of the clothes?

I dont want to scare you. But from that perspective is not nice to give or take other's clothes.

clothes can have different energy and etc etc...

I personally find it risky.

Its a nice post, but risky. It can be a cultural thing....

Um Naief said...

bint battuta, you know... there was a long period of time that most of my friends were guys. there's a difference, i think. i also had a few gay male friends, which are similar to women, but they aren't constantly trying to backstab you and such. ;) i'd love to get together.

arabic commenter, i know my attitude towards kids changed significantly. i never wanted children before and thought most were little brats.. but now... i just love it. :)

sunshine, you know, the sad thing about some girlfriends is that they really aren't there for you. i know when i moved here, i lost several because they disagreed w/ my decision to marry my husband and to come and live here. i will say this about this culture though... friendships tend to last a lifetime. whereas in the states.. they come and go like the wind. it's sad really.

gardens of sand, i agree... having friends here is really nice. now i feel like this is my home. i don't understand why it's so difficult, in the states, to make close female friendships. even as an american, i can testify to the truth of that. some of my closest and dearest friends are the ones from grade school and high school. others came and went. thank you for coming by. and i'll add you to my links as well. :)

puppy, i've never heard of the energy of clothes. not sure if i agree w/ it. doing hand-me-downs is something i've done w/ my sister for ages, and even when i was younger, me and my girl cousins would exchange clothes and such. and as far as baby clothes... i know lots of ppl who do it, and i see it as a blessing when someone gives you something that is practically new, which is usually the case w/ baby clothes because they grow so dang fast.

i will say that i'll keep this is mind. if negative things start to happen... well, i'll consider what you've said. i know w/ my sister's maternity clothes... it was a blessing that she sent me her stuff. they can be quite expensive and since you only wear them for maybe 4 or 5 mths... well, it's a waste to buy tons of stuff.

Reem said...

something about this post made me a bit sad (most probably because i'm hormonal these days!) but it reminded me how much I miss my friends. We all moved around after high school and college, so besides the once in a while visits, I hardly get to see them. I'm lucky that I am still pretty close to most of them (some of which are in bahrain btw...should hook you up with them if you're interested)...I just miss being able to call them and say, hey, I'm coming over, or let's grab a bite to eat...

Puppy said...

i think its fine with relatives to hand down, but just be careful and aware.

that was my aim :)

Take care


Cerebralwaste said...

Nothing beats having good friends Tooners. I am glad to hear of your good fortune!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Meanwhile, I seem to be gaining friends in the blog world while losing them in the real world at an alarming rate...

But then again, back in 2000 the nurse at my school said that a need for friends was a sign of immaturity. "As an adult," she said, "you need only concern yourself with the people you are currently associating with, such as your work group. If someone new comes in, they become part of your new association, and you treat them as such. If someone moves to another place, even a different group here at the school, they are out of the picture and no longer exist. You have to be satisfied with your current reality and not concern yourself with anything else. That's what it means to be an adult."

I was tempted to say, "You've just explained why the faculty of this school has always had such a chronic communication problem and a disgraceful lack of mutual support that has already led to several problems including a high attrition rate among rookie teachers," but I just kept my mouth shut.

Immaturity is just fine with me, thank you.

Um Naief said...

moody, well... if that's what it means to be an adult... i'll take being a child any time! and i agree..... i'm the same way. for a long while, i only had blog friends, which was fine.... but it's nice to have some ppl that i can see. :)

reem, hormones... aren't they just so lovely! ;) you know, after having the baby, it gets 10x worse... for a while at least. there are days that i can still burst out crying for no reason. my dr. said it lasts for about a year.

puppy, you know, i was thinking about what you said last night. the thing i disagree w/ is that this would keep anyone from ever giving any clothes away to charity and such. i firmly believe in doing such... and have given things away in the past. does your culture not believe in this because of the energy?

cerebralwaste, thanks for coming by my blog. again, sorry about your friend, earl. losing someone you care about is never easy. i haven't ever lost a friend like this.... i can imagine the pain.

Janeen said...

and of course, Naief will NEVER be a brat huh?
Glad you had fun. Make sure you extend the invitation to them as well...

Um Naief said...

janeen, brat... ??? never. :) you know, in thinking about giving same offer... can't see the house being big enough for kids this age. we have no where to play right now and no real sitting area, except upstairs and there is no room upstairs for playing whatsoever. she also had lots of toys, big area w/ tv and movies, darts... toys, toys, toys... so i think once the baby gets a little older... walking age, will bring the time for doing the same. or no?

Janeen said...

Maybe you can invite her out to dinner without kids, etc. Just don't go too long without contact. Friendships slip away too fast.

Tried to leave a message on Hashim's blog but it won't allow me, its says that I already said that and I haven't said anything!
Tell him the video with music was really nice.

Olivia said...

Seriously something wrong with me here, I forgot to comment.

I am glad you are forming a network of friends - any woman needs one in a new country, and more so when you have a baby. It looks like you are really setting down roots now. How long have you been there? They say in general it takes 5 years to settle. I think I am repeating myself and youhave heard this before...

Gazza said...

I have 3 older brothers so when i was a kid so nearly all my clothes were hand me downs,and they were all tall and about the same size so i'd end up with 3 of everything lol.

Puppy said...

Here people will offend if you will propose them some of ur clothes unless they are really poor or family members (siblings, cousins(maybe))

Evergy thing is not involved in culture. I heard about it few monthes ago, that its not recomended to take clothes from ppl you dont know, since they might have "bad" evergy.

its just a theory :)

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Gosh, what a lot of comments - goes to show that the topic interests lots of people. You sound so optimistic now which is great. Friends with similar concerns work best at present I guess - young mums with little kids as there are lots of things to share. We all need space too - our own time so there's a balance. Keep up the good life. Your little kid looks great on the computer on the post above!