My best friend is Koen, my second best friend is Milan, my third best friend is Itsa.
There isn’t much that makes a parent happier than when his child is happy.
Especially when you’re not expecting it.
It was the first day of school (well, a get-to-know-you day) and it was going to be hit or miss, black or white, do-we-stay-or-do-we-go. It was a big day.
My 10-year old burst through the door and rattled off the name of his new “best friends.” I was pretty happy he wasn’t in tears and throwing things–but I was ready for it. I’m not even sure I was ready for such a positive scenario.
He had three hours in a new country, in a new language in a new town where don’t even live yet. There were so many reasons this could have gone wrong and I would have been completely understanding if he said it was the worst day of his life. But he couldn’t hold back his smiles.
But my second best friend we call “Meloentaart.”
He talked about how “his friends” had a new nickname for Milan (which is such a beautiful name it’s a pity they’re hacking it up, but hey, they’re 10-year old boys) that was “Meloentaart” (melon cake) and that Milan thought it was so funny.
Friends is not a zero sum game. If you gain a new one, it doesn’t mean you need to lose another one.
He said “my friends” over and over as he told stories of his day at school. As if he had known then for years, as if he had biked to school with them through rain, sleet and snow.* He couldn’t even finish sentences because his next topic was just too hilarious for him to finish.
I’m not sure I’ve seen him glowing like this since, I don’t know, a Warriors game (well, not the finals).
You’re never going to get very far if you don’t take that first step.
This whole adventure of ours is a risk, a challenge, a possible disaster. We’re completely prepared for the worst–even quietly expecting it. But we’re not going there. We haven’t been there. The kids seem to be slowly forgetting how little they wanted to come here. We’ve been here for something like 15 days.
I’m knocking on wood. I’m not counting my chickens (although there are a lot of chickens here … we’re on a farm, after all). I’m recording these experiences here not for the telling of the story, but partly so I don’t forget our progress. I don’t forget where we came from and how hard these last months have been.
The last grueling months of working seven days a week to make this all happen was rewarded with a shining bolt of lightning this morning. The hard work has made a crack in the armor that is the fear of the future as the present sheds the weight of the past and keeps gnawing on the ceiling of the future.
We’ve taken the first step. We got on the plane. We’re here. It’s the first step. But it’s not the last.
* Don’t worry, it’s coming …