One thing that is really important to me are the friendships I share with a few special ladies. The kind of friendship that has lasted a long time, through thick and thin and where you can pick up where you left off ... after a week, a month or even a year. That latter is a definite priority given that as a family we're moving all over the world.
When we were recently in England we were able to spend some time with Rachel, one of those friends and her family. As you can see Abigail made a new best friend too ... in fact I have been best buddies with her mum since we were the same age as these two are now ... about thirty years! (A very scary thought!)
While having these strong friendships behind me ... I know how important it is to build new ones wherever we move to. Many people couldn't imagine leaving such good friends behind and while it is a sacrifice ... the important friendships can endure and become stronger as a result. Rachel even left her family behind last year and came to visit me out here in the States. We had some girly time like we haven't had since we were little ourselves.
Building the new friendships isn't always straight forward and easy but is definitely worth the effort. When you arrive somewhere new, everything is unfamiliar and so requires you to give more of yourself especially when trying to transition a family and can make you feel exhausted. Sometimes you feel like you're repeating a little spiel about yourself over and over again while you're getting to know new people. Some days you don't even want to bother.
But being intentional about finding new friends is the way to go ... find groups with similar minded people, those with the same hobbies or other mum's with children around the same age as your own. One great piece of advice I was once given was 'don't go looking for what you can find in a friend, go looking for how you can best be a friend to someone else' ... and be encouraged the friendships will follow!
I know when we leave the States and move onto our next assignment I am going to leave quite a few great friends behind ... people I didn't even know two years ago! Let's hope they will be happy to follow me round the world too!