Do We Have Anything in Common Anymore?

Five Minute Friday, COMMON
// indicates when my 5 minutes ran out and I kept on writing anyway!

After a year and a half in Nepal, I am returning to America for a 3 month visit in 10 DAYS. Someone asked me the other day what was the first thing I wanted to do when I returned aside from visiting my family. My mind went totally blank. I said, “Go through a drive-thru?” just because that, even after only 18 months abroad, seems like a total novelty to me.

But I also very much look forward to coffee dates and lunch meet-ups with my mom and other friends. I imagine myself sitting across the table, chit-chatting the day away, and I realize… my imaginary conversation is happening in my second language! I try to re-imagine, and I can’t think of anything to say in my first.

I wonder if they will think I’m as weird as I feel like I’m going to be. Will we still be able to hold a conversation free from several awkward silences? Will their babies I’ve never met be scared of me? I wonder if they will think the stories I tell are interesting or just strange and unrelateable. Will we have anything in common anymore?

//

My husband assures me that these fears will be unfounded (although there is no guarantee their babies won’t be afraid of the crazy person declaring herself their aunt). My friends that loved me before I left have still loved me with all the distance and silence between us. We might not pick right up where we left off, but maybe that’s why it’s called catching up.

We may not find common ground in our recent cultural experiences, but we will find it elsewhere. Maybe this table where we sit needs a perspective only my strangely unique experience could bring. Maybe more, this friendship needs me to not worry and just show up. To sit across the table with my biscuits and gravy (Bob Evans, y’all) and sigh. It sure is good to see an old friend.

12 Comments

  1. Hi Amber. Wow, I can so relate to this post. Those are such common (there’s that word again) fears and emotions felt by those of us who spend so much time in another culture. For us, it’s been 10 years with 3-year gaps between seeing people. I actually booked a plane ticket today to be in Canada for New Year’s (our son is going to live with my parents so he can go to College). I’ve even thought some of these things this week.

    Loved this: “We might not pick right up where we left off, but maybe that’s why it’s called catching up.” THANKS for the good reminder! ♥ Have a great weekend.

  2. I’m so interested to hear how your trip turns out and how you process all the feelings! It is such a huge thing – being torn between the two places… Really hope you get the best out of the experience and your family is drawn together throughout it all xx

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