“Let’s delay our misery.”
– Save Tonight, Eagle Eye Cherry
Seasons change, and so do our relationships with the people we choose to keep in our lives. There is one particular friendship I still cherish that has surprised me to this day: that with a friend from my undergraduate days in Perth, Australia.
When I started as a fresher at UWA in 2009, I was such an awkward child. I didn’t know how to make friends, and I had a resting bitch face that was rather off-putting to some people. This was what my friend told me, years later when we began to develop a strong bond between us. At that point in time, she said she could not imagine being friends with me at all — and neither could I with her.
Fast forward two years later, to the winter (July) of 2011. I had returned to Perth from a semester of exchange in Paris a changed person. I was bolder and braver in social intercourses. I’d let some of my guard down, because the temporary move had helped me unearth some sense of self-confidence hitherto hidden underneath my childish awkwardness. Incidentally, it was also the holy month of Ramadhan — the fasting month. My friend and I would meet almost every evening at the musollah (prayer room), where we would have our iftar (break fast) with our fellow Muslims, and pray tarawikh (a special prayer we only pray during Ramadhan) late into the night. We would walk home together, before splitting up halfway to our respective houses. We found that we had many interests in common — we both love good, spicy food, and going grocery shopping and cooking together in the evenings was always a tremendous pleasure. We were both huge fans of Lord of the Rings and horror movies, and movie nights at her place became a recurring event.
The most incredible thing is that this friendship resumed — and even extended in depth — after we had both left Perth and went our separate ways. I remember receiving an email from her in my first year at Cambridge, in which she expressed her interest to come visit. Our exchanges became longer and longer, and our planning for her arrival more and more elaborate — and this is a trend I noticed in all our subsequent exchanges: all questions are answered. Every positive sentiment is reciprocated. All anxieties are soothed. The more we talk, the more we discover that there are more things that needed to be said.
As our friendship developed, we gained confidence to take it further into new territories — London, Prague, Kutná Hora, Ely, and many more to come. This is our way of exploring each other as we explore new places. We are thankfully compatible as travel partners, because we are attuned to each other’s needs and share the same level of curiosity. But best of all, we never run out of things to say to each other. If given the possibility, we would stay up all night exploring our thoughts and challenging our perceptions and preconceptions. She is the kind of travel partner I can take to any corner in the world, and still have an incredible time.
Seasons indeed do change, but the best thing about these transformations is that nothing is static; every day is a surprise, as evident in the change in nature’s colors and in rise and drop of the temperature in the air. And so too can friendships evolve with time, to reach unimaginable heights if we let them grow and evolve with the changing seasons.