Yes, I DO Have Friends

Two weeks for Spring Break.  What a glorious thing!  And, even better than time off, was the sweetness of time spent with the best kind of friend: The kind who comes to visit!!

Amanda arrived Saturday, flying into Veracruz.  Getting down to get her was quite the process, given that no buses of any kind go near the airport and taxi service charges a premium, but get her I did.  I had spent no time in Veracruz up until then, so I had fun finding my way around.  I got into town early, went in search of a city bus to take me to the mall, and wandered ’til it was time to be at the airport.  Turns out, I should have been visiting Veracruz all along- it’s kind of grand compared to Orizaba!

We got back home in the wee hours of the morning, and I’m fairly sure she was unconscious in the spare bedroom before I’d even managed to wash my face and brush my teeth for bed.  We were tired girls, but very, very happy.

The first day she actually got to see any of Mexico was Palm Sunday.  It dawned a glorious, warm day and we had a good time doing normal “life” stuff – getting her familiar with the house, introducing her to people, grocery shopping, and hours of talking about everything under the sun.

The rest of her stay in Orizaba was cold, wet and icky.  In other words, normal Orizaba weather.  Le sigh.  People keep telling me it gets hot.  I am beginning to think people lie.  Still, we had a great time poking around town (I have stolen all her pictures), watching movies, playing games, and just seeing each other’s faces.  I was thrilled, too, to introduce her to the one really good friend I’ve made here.  I love it when my people meet my other people!

Thursday we packed up and headed to Veracruz for the last 2 days of her stay.  It was sunny and warm there, and we needed a change of scenery.  The hostel we stayed in was her first-ever hostel, and (sadly) not the finest of examples.  It wasn’t the worst, but I’ve definitely seen better-run places.  The rest of our Veracruz experience was lovely.  Excellent food, gorgeous views of the port, lots and lots of walking, and plenty of sunshine.  I think it was a pretty good way to wind up her visit, though we didn’t do a lot of sleeping and were both very tried by the time Saturday morning and travel-time rolled around.

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Leaving my friend at the bus station was bittersweet.  Sad to see her go.  Happy to be off traveling myself.  Already missing the familiar voice and laughter and old jokes and easy ways.  Glad we’d spent just enough time together before we really reached the too-much-togetherness point.  The tiniest bit concerned that I wasn’t taking her all the way to the airport because I had a bus to catch, but feeling fairly certain that I’d put her safely in a good taxi with a nice driver.  Saying goodbye is always the hardest part, no matter what.

It had been 6 months since I’d seen a face from home and I was starved for it.  I can’t tell you how good it was to just drink in the presence of someone who knows me (18 years & counting) and who doesn’t need explanations for my ridiculousness.  It was good to laugh and not wonder if I was going to say something offensive or misinterpreted.  If you’ve never been surrounded by new people and a new culture, having to start all over at making friends, building trust,  fitting in, getting to know everyone, then you have no idea what a balm to the soul it can be to just BE for a brief while.  I am more grateful than I have words to express and can’t wait for the next time!

All photos courtesy of Amanda Crossley

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