When you teach abroad, you wind up with little bits of your heart strewn haphazardly around the world. Distance from family, home, and everything familiar contributes to strong bonds with other expats you meet along the way. Today I count individuals on every continent as some of my closest friends. These are kindred spirits that came crashing into my life in Seville, in Ho Chi Minh City, in Buenos Aires, and in Barcelona. My life is enriched for knowing them.
But today I’m going to tell you about some girls that I’ve known far longer than that.
Over twenty years ago three girls came into my life who shaped my childhood and adolescence. These girls grew into strong, beautiful women and somehow we’ve remained as close as always despite my inability to stay in one place.
Most people don’t understand how or why the four of us have remained so close. Sometimes I don’t think I understand it myself.
I come back to them, once every year, sometimes once every two years, for a laughter-filled summer reminiscing about old memories and making new ones.
Six weeks before finishing my masters in Barcelona I was putting together plans for my new life with Chris in Ireland when I got the news that one of these unbelievable women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. We didn’t know any of the details of the prognosis – and I had questions about everything.
What I did know is that my masters was finishing soon, I was going to be in-between jobs anyway, and Ireland would have to wait.
The strangest thing of all is that people keep applauding me for this decision, as if it even was a decision at all. If I said “my sister has cancer,” people would understand. For some reason, the lack of a biological link with my friend leads people to believe that I’ve done something above-and-beyond.
They may not be biological family, but they are sisters all the same, and we have always been stronger together.
The good news? We now know that her prognosis is fantastic. A few months and we’ll have left this scary time behind us.
And I’m still moving to Ireland….just a little later than expected.
Now go fondle your boobies – and encourage your sisters, biological or not, to do the same. Every second counts.