Jimmy and I feel very fortunate to have such wonderful friends. Neither of us have ever had that clique group of just 2 or 3 friends that we are always with. Most of our friends we share, but we have always found it important to maintain a life outside of each other and each do “our own thing.”
Just don’t ask me what “our own thing” is right now, because I am afraid his is work, and mine is sitting on the couch in sweats a blogging or scouring jobs.
In any case, because we thrive on a more fluid sense of friendship, we have managed to collect a large number of wonderful people that we are happy to call friends. I suppose, yes, we are collectors. That word feels about right. We happily bring in new friends, while holding on to the old. Sometimes the older ones sit farther back on the shelf, catching a bit of dust. But they are still there, either as a fond memory or a welcome acquaintance, always available to come back into the forefront at the right time.
I have never seen the sense in burning bridges or holding out dated grudges (without unnecessary reason, that is) because you really never know when you will need someone or they will need you. People grow and change, so our relationships with them should be just as fluid. I do strongly believe that the most important thing you can give of is your time, and no matter what, you should always be generous with it. You always have time for others. Obviously we are not always the best at giving it; life is busy. But if someone reaches out to you, stop for a second and see what you can do.
Anyhow, one of these friends reached out to us. She was one of the ones sitting towards the back of our shelf, full of happy high school memories for both of us. Jimmy had maintained better contact (now that’s a surprise!) at the beginning of our college career, but we had dropped off a bit towards the end. I am sad to admit that I do not know what is going on in her life, but she was kind enough to take note of ours.
Joie Florence is a total gem. She is one of those unique people who is so very selfless and genuine in her approach to life. She reached out to us, out of the complete blue, and put us in contact with a family with whom her family is very close. They live here in Finland, and each have visited each other many times in their respective countries over the last decade or so.
Not surprisingly, these friends are equally as kind and giving. They have been available to answer trivial questions that feel monumental when you are confused in a country where you feel completely illiterate (Where do I by an iron??) and even met with us for dinner on Wednesday evening.
Now talk about people giving of their time no matter what. Without detailing the troubles which are not mine to give, they have had a very trying few weeks, after which I think I would crawl under my sheets and refuse return for some time. But they very happily made time for us -complete strangers to them -and were generous and warm hearted and an absolute joy to meet.
We spent a very enjoyable evening at a chic bistro in Helsinki, chatting and laughing and learning Finnish phrases. They offered many times to show us around nearby parts of Finland, invite us as the only Americans at their annual 4th of July celebrations, and even to cook a traditional meal for us.
Can you believe that people like this exist?
I feel so very blessed and fortunate to have made the acquaintance of such generous people. I very much look forward to getting to know them over the next few years and I hope very sincerely that we will be able to leave behind good friends to come back to when our time here is up.
Thank you, Laura and Jussi, for such a fun evening, for your generosity, and for giving us the comfort of friends here in our new home!
Thank you, Joie, for your thoughtfulness in reaching out to us! We are so happy to have made new friends, as well as to count you as one of the kindest.