Sometimes she texts me out of the blue: “Am I still your best friend?” At first I thought it was a weird question. But over time, it’s become a friendship code between us – a virtual hug from someone special.
She is a fellow expat partner who arrived in Manila just three months before me. So we’ve gone through the same struggles at the same time: Adjusting to life abroad as stay-at-home-moms after many years of working. Figuring out how to deal with domestic helpers. And despairing about the locals being chronically late. But we’ve also rejoiced together in expat life in the Philippines, which is generally relaxed.
In a way, we’ve grown up together for the last 2.5 years, as expat partners, mothers, wives, women, and as friends. Today, we are planning a trip together to Bohol, a popular local tourist destination that is famous for its strange, cone shaped Chocolate Hills and for its tarsiers (the world’s smallest primates). It will be just the two of us, and we’re really looking forward to this little adventure. But, it will also be our last trip together. She will continue her expat journey in another country, while I will still stay in the Philippines for now.
“I will cry when you leave,” I tell her.
“No, you won’t,” she replies modestly.
But I know I will. I will miss my partner-in-crime. And I will miss that funny little question of hers.
Life will go on, and we will keep growing. But we will be growing up apart. And I wonder: will our friendship code still hold the same meaning next year?
A column by Sekar Nareswari
Sekar Nareswari is an expat partner from Indonesia who lives in the Philippines with her Dutch husband and sons. She previously lived in the Netherlands. She writes regular columns for Global Connection.
Photo: tarsier by Harry Fozzard – Flickr